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Debian Live Lenny Beta1

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Debian Live Lenny Beta1

The Debian Live team[0] is pleased to announce the first beta of Debian
Lenny's Live images.

Although we missed releasing images for Etch along with the installer
images, we are now prepared to release live images within the regular
Lenny release process. This is the first official release of Debian Live
and the whole team has been working hard during the past 2.5 years[1] to
make Debian's own[2] live systems become a reality.

Nevertheless, we do need your help to find more bugs and improve the
live systems, so please try them out. The images are available at:


Please also have a look at the known issues listed below.

Main features

100% Debian
- ------------

The build process of Debian Live basically consists of creating a Debian
chroot, installing one or more kernels along with live-initramfs[3] (a
set of hooks into initramfs-tools for handling booting from read-only
media) and generating a bootable image from that.

This process is handled by live-helper[4], a collection of shell scripts
that allow us to automate and customize this process. Considerable
care[5] is taken to ensure that the resulting live system is not tainted
by the host system and that installed packages are not modified more
than absolutely necessary.

This ensures that Debian Live really *is* Debian, and not "just another"
a Debian-based live system.

- --------

Although live-helper is a toolkit to produce your very own live systems
with only a few steps, we also provide prebuilt images that are meant to
be used as reference systems for end-users. Currently, this consists of
the three major desktop environments (GNOME, KDE and Xfce), as well as a
small 'standard' image without a graphical environment.

For the desktop environments, package selection is performed by
'tasksel' with the respective desktop task, whilst the 'standard' image
contains only packages of "Priority: standard" or greater,
notwithstanding a handful of live-specific packages (console-common,
eject, file, kbd, live-initramfs, locales, sudo and vim-tiny).

Image types
- -----------

Debian Live offers prebuilt images for CD/DVD discs, USB sticks (or any
HD-media-like device), tarballs (for PXE netboot) as well as a bare
squashfs image to boot from the web[6] directly.

Live Magic
- ----------

Live Magic[7] is an GUI frontend around the live-helper scripts,
offering a subset of the features of live-helper in an easy-to-use
graphical user interface.

live-magic 1.0 was recently uploaded to sid and is the recommended
version. It currently supports 7 languages.

Live Installer
- --------------

Live Installer[8] is a special udeb for the Debian Installer that
(optionally) replaces a part of d-i in order to install the system from
the live image instead of to bootstrapping it from .deb packages. This
way, a live system can be easily installed to the harddisk, ensuring
that the look and feel of the installation (including preseeding) works
the same as the regular installer process.

Unfortunately, live-installer does still have a few minor bugs left and
is thus not included in our builds yet; we hope to be able to include it
in the next beta.

Known issues in this release

  * The prebuilt images for gnome-desktop and kde-desktop are a bit too
    big to fit on a CD. Although the automatic installation of
    Recommends was disabled to build the images, they are still too big.
    This will need further tweaking as they are supposed to fit with the
    next beta.

  * The rescue flavour, containing system rescue and forensic related
    packages, is missing in this beta release.

  * There will be a DVD image with the next beta that includes all three
    desktop environments so that you can choose at boot time which
    system you would like to start.

  * Due to time constraints, the prebuilt images for Beta1 are only
    covering i386 and amd64; with the next beta, powerpc and sparc will
    follow (if you wish to test these architectures earlier, please
    build them yourself).

  * The new desktop artwork is not yet included.

  * The syslinux menu is still the old, prompt-based one. A freshly made
    new syslinux vgamenu using the official lenny desktop artwork is on
    the way (the same as d-i media will use in Lenny).

  * No live-installer included yet (if you wish to test live-installer
earlier, please build it yourself).

  * No win32-loader included yet.

  * Sid packages used - At the time of building the live images, both
    live-helper 1.0.0-1 and live-initramfs 1.139.1-1 from sid were used.
    Since the latter has not yet migrated to testing, it was included
    manually as a local package. This is undesirable, as the release is
    supposed to be self-contained - however, it is just a convenient
    workaround as both were granted freeze exception and will migrate

Plans for next Beta release

We are looking forward to upload Beta2 in about two weeks from now
(maybefollowed by a third beta) with one final RC after that which
should be identical to the final release.

Some more details about the open things we would like to address in
Beta2 and later can be found at the wiki page[9].

The Debian Live team is still looking for more contributors for new
features (post-lenny, though) as well as documentation writers for the
manual (always). If you care about live systems, please join and help[10]!


Last but not least, our thanks goes to everyone who has contributed[11]
and to all maintainers that have kindly fixed live-specific bugs in
their packages.


[0] http://alioth.debian.org/project/memberlist.php?group_id=30929

[1] http://git.debian.net/?p=live-helper.git;a=blob;f=docs/NEWS

[2] http://blog.daniel-baumann.ch/2006/02/14#20060214_debian-live-initiative

[3] http://packages.qa.debian.org/live-initramfs

[4] http://packages.qa.debian.org/live-helper

[5] http://wiki.debian.org/DebianLive/Guidelines


[7] http://packages.qa.debian.org/live-magic

[8] http://packages.qa.debian.org/live-installer

[9] http://wiki.debian.org/DebianLive/Lenny/Todo#Beta2

[10] http://wiki.debian.org/DebianLive/Contribute

[11] http://git.debian.net/?p=live-helper.git;a=blob;f=docs/CREDITS


- --
Address:        Daniel Baumann, Burgunderstrasse 3, CH-4562 Biberist
Email:          daniel.baumann at panthera-systems.net
Internet:       http://people.panthera-systems.net/~daniel-baumann/

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