User:Nima3443/Another way to create a custom archiso

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Maybe you are wondering how to make your own archiso without messing with skels or tweaking too much things, but still be able to install a GUI, like Plasma, GNOME or what you want and customize it the way you want it. Here you will learn how.

1. Install the archiso package.

2. Copy the desired profile for your ISO. In our case, it's releng, because we will have to install more packages than in the baseline profile. It's important to copy it to an ext4-formatted partition, because I have experienced some issues with NTFS or FAT-32 (some permissions problems)

# cp -r /usr/share/archiso/configs/releng/ archlive

Finally, I recommend setting an environment variable such as ARCHLIVE to save you the pain to type each time the path to your archlive folder. We can do this by typing this:

# export ARCHLIVE=/path/to/your/archlive/dir

3. We will start our customization by modifying the packages.x86_64 text file. There you can write the list of the packages you want to install. Here is an example list which I used for my custom archiso (I do some CG with Blender and some programming in Python, and I installed KDE Plasma as main DE). It is recommended to add all your required packages here, but it is possible to install others after if needed.

$ARCHLIVE/packages.x86_64
arch-install-scripts
b43-fwcutter
broadcom-wl
btrfs-progs
clonezilla
crda
darkhttpd
ddrescue
dhclient
dhcpcd
dialog
diffutils
dmraid
dnsmasq
dnsutils
dosfstools
ethtool
exfat-utils
f2fs-tools
fsarchiver
gnu-netcat
gpm
gptfdisk
grml-zsh-config
grub
hdparm
ipw2100-fw
ipw2200-fw
irssi
iwd
jfsutils
lftp
linux-atm
linux-firmware
lsscsi
lvm2
man-db
man-pages
mc
mdadm
mtools
nano
ndisc6
netctl
nfs-utils
nilfs-utils
nmap
ntfs-3g
ntp
openconnect
openssh
openvpn
partclone
parted
partimage
ppp
pptpclient
refind-efi
reiserfsprogs
rp-pppoe
rsync
sdparm
sg3_utils
smartmontools
sudo
tcpdump
testdisk
usb_modeswitch
usbutils
vi
vim-minimal
vpnc
wget
wireless-regdb
wireless_tools
wpa_supplicant
wvdial
xfsprogs
xl2tpd
htop
gparted
gnome-disk-utility
k3b
dvd+rw-tools
cdrdao
cdrtools
plasma
firefox
dolphin
kate
atom
code
emacs
blender
audacity
lmms
vlc
musescore
kdenlive
thunar
nautilus
konsole
kcalc
minetest
quadrapassel
squashfs-tools
archiso
base-devel
make
oxygen-icons
qemu
qemu-arch-extra
screenfetch
neofetch
xorg
xorg-server
unionfs-fuse
git
gnome-chess
kde-games

4. Now that your package list is updated regarding your needs, it's time to edit the $ARCHLIVE/airootfs/root/customize_airootfs.sh. Open a text editor and change it to your needs. For using a graphical user interface (GUI) I recommend using a sudo-enabled standard user. Here is my customize_airootfs.sh:

$ARCHLIVE/airootfs/root/customize_airootfs.sh
#!/bin/bash
set -e -used -i 's/#\(en_US\.UTF-8\)/\1/'
/etc/locale.gen
locale-gen
ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/UTC /etc/localtime
usermod -s /usr/bin/zsh root
cp -aT /etc/skel/ /root/
chmod 700 /root
sed -i 's/#\(PermitRootLogin \).\+/\1yes/' /etc/ssh/sshd_config
sed -i "s/#Server/Server/g" /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
sed -i 's/#\(Storage=\)auto/\1volatile/' /etc/systemd/journald.conf
sed -i 's/#\(HandleSuspendKey=\)suspend/\1ignore/' /etc/systemd/logind.conf
sed -i 's/#\(HandleHibernateKey=\)hibernate/\1ignore/' /etc/systemd/logind.conf
sed -i 's/#\(HandleLidSwitch=\)suspend/\1ignore/' /etc/systemd/logind.conf
systemctl enable pacman-init.service choose-mirror.service
systemctl set-default multi-user.target
systemctl enable sddm.service
nano /etc/sudoers
useradd -m -G wheel user
# Do not forget to add a password, otherwise you will not be able to access sudo later.
passwd user
# This next step is the most important: it will permit us to "pause" the mkarchiso process and customize it regarding our needs.
su user
pacman -Sy
pacman-key --init
pacman-key --populate archlinux

5. It's time to start the making of our ISO, now. Be SURE to be on your $ARCHLIVE dir BEFORE you run the archiso script. Otherwise, it may cause problems later.

# cd $ARCHLIVE

Now, type:

# ./build.sh -v

The process will begin by installing the packages you instructed it to. It may take a while, depending on the speed of your Internet connection. After, it will execute the customize_airootfs.sh script. This leads us to our next step.

6. Now, hopefully all previous steps have worked well for you. We now have to customize the tiny details of our GUI (or programs, if needed), for example the theme, wallpaper, etc. You can skip this step if you want, but you will not have a customized GUI. And if you want to customize the GUI or GUI programs, you will have to be on a GUI while following this step. Now, open a new tty or terminal tab or window (and DO not close the 'chrooted' one), then type in:

# xhost +local:
# export DISPLAY=:0

Where :0 is the ID of your screen.

This will allow us to open GUI applications and GUI interface on our main system from the chroot.

In this example, I use KDE Plasma. To initiate the session, I usually type, in the 'chrooted' terminal:

# plasmashell

There I can open the settings and all these things, modify the wallpaper, the same way (or almost!) that I would do it in a normal system. Do not worry if your applications look a little strange, it's normal. They will look clean after booted in the very real archlive environment in the LiveUSB/CD/DVD.

When I'm finished, I just hit CTRL+C and it kills the GUI.

If you encounter a strange sudo error with something related to nosuid or so, do not worry, it will not be there in the final live system. But the problem there is you cannot execute apps or commands as root in arch-chroot (for now, I do not know if it will change later). I have a workaround for this, but only for commands, not modifying apps settings: you can simply go on another terminal and chroot (not arch-chroot) to $ARCHLIVE/work/x86_64/airootfs. It will login as root automatically. Also, note here that the airootfs folder is your base system which will be compressed into a squashfs at the end.

7. I recommend cleaning up the system a little bit, clearing the history, make sure that all the settings are what you want they be. Once it's done, type exit on the chrooted terminal, and immediately after, CTRL+C. It will kill the mkarchiso process. But our work is saved and when we execute it later, it will start where it ended earlier, thanks to the "locks" in the work folder. Now, restart your computer and do not unplug the device where your $ARCHLIVE directory is. This will clean up the system, erase the /run, /tmp and other folders that eat a little disk space there, and will clean up our system a little bit for the making of the squashfs.

8. Once you are on your default Arch system, redefine the ARCHLIVE environment variable and cd into it. Then, when you are sure nothing is left to add of modify in your system, open up a text editor and modify the /usr/bin/mkarchiso file in your main system to change the squashfs settings. The best I have ever found that I use everytime I make an archiso, are these:

# mksquashfs /dir /file.sqsh -b 1048576 -comp xz -Xdict-size 100% -always-use-fragments -noappend

So a quick CTRL+F in your file to find the mksquashfs command will soon lead you to edit the options after. Change these to your needs, you can also leave them as they are, but the options above are the best compression choice I could find. And it works very well! I obtained a final size of squashfs of around 2.4 GiB with all packages shown above, plus the Vivaldi browser and some other tiny software. And I have other tips on how to add more software almost without touching to your airootfs.sfs file. Save the mkarchiso file, then cd into your $ARCHLIVE dir and finally, type:

# ./build.sh -v

Now let the process finish, make your squashfs and your ISO, then burn it to a DVD/CD/USB depending on the size of it, or test it on a virtual machine, like in QEMU. I use these QEMU options:

# qemu-system-x86_64 -cdrom arch.iso -m 2048 -enable-kvm