In April 2010, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Beta distribution was made available. This new distribution from Red Hat is a good indication of what should be available in the upcoming CentOS 6 distribution. Since then, I have been working on a LiveCD for this distribution. As usual, the code required to reproduce my results are available from within the CentOS LiveCD project webpage.
- Persistence feature: with livecd-tools 014-7 and later, it is possible to create a LiveUSB media featuring a persistent overlay
- OpenOffice.org 3.1.1: support for files created with Microsoft Office 2007 or Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac OS X (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc)
- Improved wireless network adapter drivers: better support for Intel Wireless devices
- ext4 support: ext4 partitions of your system should now be detected automatically by the LiveCD
The CentOS LiveCD can be customized for your particular needs. Here is a short list of available customizations:
- A demonstration of your latest application;
- A deployment of a proprietary or OpenSource solution;
- A rescue tool for your infrastructure;
- A provisioning tools for your infrastructure;
The latest release of the CentOS livecd-tools makes it possible to create a LiveUSB media featuring a persistent overlay. An overlay of a fixed size is appended to the standard filesystem. This overlay is a dynamically growing set of blocks that have been modified on the original LiveCD root filesystem. It is used to store data and configuration changes. Your LiveUSB media will be able to retain configuration changes even after rebooting your server.
Getting help for your LiveCD customization project
The LiveCD creation process requires a kickstart configuration file. The format of this file is the same as the one used for automated installations. The kickstart file includes some basic system configuration items, the yum repositories, the package manifest and scripts to be run at the end of the build process. I produced detailed documentation about the CentOS LiveCD kickstart configuration file.
If you need help to customize your own CentOS-based LiveCD, I can provide you with expert consulting services:
- Configuring the LiveCD building host
- Creating local YUM repositories to speed up the LiveCD creation process
- Building RPM packages for your custom application
- Adding scripts to the kickstart file in order to configure your services
Patrice Guay, IT systems engineer
A LiveCD is a complete, bootable and operational operating system on a distributable medium. The distribution medium can be various storage media like a CD, a DVD or a USB key. The LiveCD name is a relic of the time when CD was the only available media. LiveCD have the ability to run a complete operating system without the need for a permanent storage like a hard disk drive. Therefore, a LiveCD can be used to test hardware compatibility, recover data or test an operating system without interfering with the already installed operating system.
The CentOS LiveCD, based on CentOS 5, is available on both i386 and x86_64 architectures from the official mirror page. The tools from the Fedora livecd-tools project were used to create the latest CentOS LiveCD image.