Debootstrap to LiveCD

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  • Debian Releases:
    • etch = stable realease
    • lenny = testing release
    • sid = unstable release


The following conventions are used, within dotted box:

Commands & paramaters
Text within this dotted box can be put directly into a script

Some commands are linked, if you require further explanation of the command or parameter click the link. Example shown below:



NOTE: You will need about 9 Gigabytes of free disk space. All dotted boxes below are to be put into a script, or into a shell directly.

Setup The Environment

Hash Bang
  • As required at the beginning of a script (UNIX), a Hash Bang

You will need KNOPPIX_V5.1.0CD-2006-12-30-EN.iso (or whatever version one you want)

Script Variables
  • More info see: BASH Variables
  • cd somewhere appropriate and become superuser
cd $HOME
export KNXISO=KNOPPIX_V5.1.0CD-2006-12-30-EN.iso
ln -s `pwd`/${KNXISO} /tmp/${KNXISO}  # make link for later
su  # become superuser
! type extract_compressed_fs && apt-get cloop-utils # You will need cloop
! type qemu && apt-get qemu # Optional, you might need qemu
# DEBIAN_MIRROR= # or use this mirror
Make directories, mount CD image, copy files over to the Master dir
mkdir -p ${MASTERDIR} ${NEWSRCDIR}/usr/src \
 ${OLDSRCDIR}/knxfiles ${KNXROOT}/mnt
mount -t iso9660 -o ro,loop=/dev/loop/0 /tmp/${KNXISO} ${KNXROOT}/mnt
cd ${KNXROOT}/mnt && find . -size -10000k -type f -exec \
 cp -p --parents '{}' ${MASTERDIR} \;
Extract compressed Knoppix filesystem
extract_compressed_fs ${KNXROOT}/mnt/KNOPPIX/KNOPPIX > \
cd ${KNXROOT}; umount ${KNXROOT}/mnt
mount -t iso9660 -o ro,loop=/dev/loop/0 \
 ${KNXROOT}/KNOPPIX.src.iso ${KNXROOT}/mnt
Copy files over to old source dir
cp -Rp ${KNXROOT}/mnt/* ${OLDSRCDIR}
umount ${KNXROOT}/mnt
rmdir ${KNXROOT}/mnt
Go into old source dir and reconstruct Knoppix specific packages
chroot ${OLDSRCDIR}
dpkg --get-selections > dpkg.selections.txt
KNOPPIX_PACKAGES=`dpkg -l "*knoppix*" | grep ^ii |awk '{print $2} '`
KNOPPIX_PACKAGES+=`dpkg -l "*2\.6*" | grep "^ii" |awk '{print $2} '`
# The following list is based on knoppix 5.1, you may have to change
# it for other versions
KNOPPIX_PACKAGES+="linux-kernel-headers \
 linux-sound-base \
 loop-aes-utils \
 madwifi-tools \

Make packages from original Knoppix version. You will get lots of errors that it can't find necessary files (mostly in /usr/share...) on this next step; you can safely ignore them.

cd knxfiles
  dpkg-repack ${PACKAGE}

Get bootstrap files, copy selections and /usr/src over to new source dir

cp -prd ${OLDSRCDIR}/knxfiles ${OLDSRCDIR}/dpkg.selections.txt ${NEWSRCDIR}
cp -Rp ${OLDSRCDIR}/usr/src/* ${NEWSRCDIR}/usr/src

chroot to new source dir

chroot ${NEWSRCDIR} /usr/bin/env -i HOME=/root TERM=$TERM \
 PS1='\u:\w\$ ' PATH=/bin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/usr/sbin /bin/bash --login

Install dependencies required for Knoppix, answer "y" to all queries

apt-get update
apt-get install \
  gawk \
  perl \
  libdb4.4 \
  perl-modules \
  console-tools \
  console-data \
  console-common \
  pciutils \
  libpci2 \
  udev \
  libvolume-id0 \
  pump \
  dhcp3-common \
  binutils \
  debhelper \
  dpkg-dev \
  file \
  gettext \
  html2text \
  intltool-debian \
  libmagic1 \
  make \
  patch \
  po-debconf \
useradd -m knoppix
echo 'deb-src ./' \
 >> /etc/apt/sources.list
echo 'deb ./' \
 >> /etc/apt/sources.list

Update and install knoppix specific deb's, you will get some errors in the dpkg step, ignore them

apt-get update
dpkg -i /knxfiles/*  # Say "NO" to "stop install since..."
rm -rf /knxfiles

NOTE: The following will install EVERYTHING that was in the original CD! At this point you are going to start seeing errors. Mostly because the configure scripts are trying to do things to your run-time system and they are failing since you are in a chroot. If the errors are from dmraid samba, telnetd-ssl, etc then you can safely ignore them.

apt-get -f install
for pkg in `grep "\binstall$" dpkg.selections.txt | awk '{print $1} '`; \
 do apt-get -y --force-yes install $pkg; done
dselect update
apt-get dselect-upgrade

Install extra stuff if you want (optional).

apt-get install whatever

Now it's time for a sanity check, if you do:

dpkg --status xserver-xorg-video-nv

and it tells you it's not installed then something is wrong and you need to force dpkg to install this (and many more probably missing)

Clean up if you want to get rid of some space so it fits on a CD

chmod 755 /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc  # fix mode on xinitrc
apt-get remove kde-i18n*  # this is optional
deborphan | xargs apt-get -y remove # do this until nothing left to orphan
COLUMNS=200 dpkg -l |grep ^rc |awk '{print $2} ' | xargs dpkg -P
apt-get clean
# this is optional, if you need space:
cd /var/lib/apt/lists; rm -f *Packages *Release *Release.gpg
rm -rf /var/lib/dpkg/*old /var/cache/debconf/*old \
 /var/cache/apt/*bin /usr/share/doc/*


Prep startup rc startup scripts, (dead link)

rm -rf ${NEWSRCDIR}/etc/rc* ${NEWSRCDIR}/etc/inittab ${NEWSRCDIR}/etc/passwd
cp -ax ${OLDSRCDIR}/etc/inittab ${OLDSRCDIR}/etc/passwd \
 ${OLDSRCDIR}/etc/rc* ${NEWSRCDIR}/etc

We're basically done but if you want to make any changes with how Knoppix starts or what comes up when it starts, this is the place to do it. You could just copy stuff to /etc/skel so that you have it on your new cd under /home/knoppix

Build The CD

  • Make the compressed KNOPPIX CLOOP file
mkisofs -R -U -V "Knoppix" -publisher "yourname" -hide-rr-moved \
-cache-inodes -no-bak -pad ${NEWSRCDIR} | nice -5 \
/usr/bin/create_compressed_fs - 65536 >  ${MASTERDIR}/KNOPPIX/KNOPPIX

Create the knoppix.iso file

mkisofs -pad -l -r -J -v -V "KNOPPIX" -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 \
-boot-info-table -b boot/isolinux/isolinux.bin -c boot/isolinux/ \
-hide-rr-moved -o ${KNXROOT}/knoppix.iso ${MASTERDIR}

Try it out

qemu -m 128 -cdrom ${KNXROOT}/knoppix.iso -boot d

Burn it

k3b ${KNXROOT}/knoppix.iso


  • If this was of help, feel free to post a message
  • Support
  • How do I find what files belong to what packages? answer