Friday, October 23, 2009

How to create an Ubuntu All-in-one Live DVD

Get started by downloading all the desktop ISO images using Bittorrent.

I prefer to use the Terminal (Applications-Accessories-Terminal), and all below commands are to be entered in the Terminal. Since this is a slightly advanced topic, I assume that anyone trying this is familiar with the Terminal, paths, autocompletion, apt-get, etc.

Create a directory to hold your AIO (All-in-one) DVD structure, and copied the required files into it:

mkdir -p ~/ubuntuaio/isos
cp /downloads/cdimages/*buntu* ~/ubuntuaio/isos/

You will need Grub4dos; you can download it from here; (I used version 0.4.4, check all available versions here) extract the archive, and continue:

cp /downloads/grub4dos-0.4.4/grldr ~/ubuntuaio/

Create a suitable menu.lst file in the same directory which contains grldr; here's a sample below:

#start menu.lst

# This is a sample menu.lst file. You should make some changes to it.

timeout 30
default /default

title Ubuntu LiveCD
find --set-root /isos/ubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso
map /isos/ubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/isos/ubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso quiet splash --
initrd /casper/initrd.gz

title Kubuntu LiveCD
find --set-root /isos/kubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso
map /isos/kubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/isos/kubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso quiet splash --
initrd /casper/initrd.gz

title Xubuntu LiveCD
find --set-root /isos/xubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso
map /isos/xubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/isos/xubuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso quiet splash --
initrd /casper/initrd.gz

title MythBuntu LiveCD
find --set-root /isos/mythbuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso
map /isos/mythbuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/isos/mythbuntu-9.04-desktop-i386.iso quiet splash --
initrd /casper/initrd.gz

title commandline

#end menu.lst

You are now ready to create a DVD image. Ensure that you have enough free space left (approx 0.7GB per live CD included in your AIOLiveDVD / upto 9GB if you plan to use dvdisaster as outlined below). Give the command

cd ~
mkisofs -R -b grldr -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -o ubuntuaio.iso ubuntuaio/

This will create an ubuntuaio.iso DVD image in your home directory that can be burnt to any DVD+/-R/W.
One additional (optional) step: If you have more than 25% free space on your DVD, use dvdisaster to fill up the blank space in the DVD with ECC/RS02 (Error Correction Codec / Embedded ECC) so that your DVD can be read even with slight scratches on the surface:

dvdisaster -i ubuntuaio.iso -mRS02 -c

The ubuntuaio.iso image is now ready! You can test it out in virtual box, or by burning it on a rewriteable DVD.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I've been trying to make an Ubuntu All In One (AIO) live DVD for quite a while now. You can follow my progress (or lack thereof) on this thread at

Despite various attempts, about 15 physical "coaster" DVDs, I have not managed to succeed; until I read this post about (not-very-aptly-named) Grub4DOS.

This gave me the clue that I needed to create the UbuntuAIO Live DVD of my dreams.

Shown below are screenshots (Taken while running the UbuntuAIO in VirtualBox) :

bootup grub screen to select desired LiveCD:

Xubuntu LiveCD launch screen:

Kubuntu LiveCD launch screen:

Mythbuntu LiveCD launch screen:

You can also take a peek at this video showing off the Ubuntu AIO Live DVD.

In a later post, I will put details on how to make a custom Live DVD, though it's really laughably simple; it just involves copying the live ISO images to a single directory, then creating a relevant "menu.lst" file and copying it and "grldr" from Grub4DOS to the correct locations. This directory is then converted to an ISO image that can be burnt to DVD. Exact details here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Japan.. here I come... again!

I'm travelling to Japan the coming week, for about 7 days.

This is only my second trip in about 10 years.

Surprisingly, I cannot seem to remember anything about my first trip. (Except the station names Ueno and Akhiabara).

This time, I've resolved to lay out my trip in detail.

It may be helpful for other travelers, especially vegetarians ('cause another thing I remember from my last trip is that it was practically impossible to find vegetarian food).

I also hope it will serve me in the future.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Treo is dead.. long live the Treo

Well that's it. My PalmOne Treo 650 is finally and irreparably ruined.

Last week, one evening the touchscreen suddenly died. Attempting to self repair it (as I've done once earlier) caused the keyboard's upper and lower rows to die. I then decided to ignore the touchscreen until I got a replacement, and attempted to fix the keyboard problem. This led the display to die totally. Got the display working again, but in the attempt, managed to disconnect the internal speaker. So now:

a) No touchscreen
b) About 33% working keyboard
c) No internal speaker

I had this phone for over 3 years (that too, bought second hand) and loved it. The Treo was everything a phone-cum-pda should be. A lot of the newer phones cannot do as much as my fully loaded and efficient Treo 650.

I will miss it sorely.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What'cha gonna do... about Indian Airlines?

Recently, I've been reading a lot about Air India / Indian Airlines and their troubles.

Given their current situation, I do not believe that the Indian Government should grant them any bailout as they've requested.

Planning to cancel confirmed orders for new planes is also going to cause a huge hit to their collective pocketbook.

Instead, they should negotiate an "offset" of the manufacturing of the new planes ordered; eg. demand that portions of the new planes be manufactured in India.

This will allow IA/AI staff to be better utilized, thus avoiding layoffs, as well as serve as a boost to Indian manufacturing, small scale industries and micro-manufacturing units.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Ultimate Treo 650

Finally, after a lot of time and effort, I have a Treo 650 that is fully customized and optimized.

Thanks be to the various boards such as TreoCentral, etc.

My Unlocked GSM Treo 650 is now:

a) Having a stripped ROM (5.8Mb) consisting of:
  • Treo650-1.20-ENA
  • Extra languages (excepting English) removed
  • QuickTour, Realplayer, Versamail, WorldClock, various _Tips files removed
  • FAT32 support added
  • SDHC support added
b) Having max RAM of 23.4M (Of which 12.1M used); thanks to the of an alternate RomUpdaterApp that creates ROM with size of only 7.1Mb (Instead of 8.4Mb as normal for a Unlocked GSM Treo 650), which means that my RAM is upped by 1.1Mb

c) Having more Carrier compatibility with CarrierDB version 355

d) Way more stable with DBCache levels at: Max: 13Mb+, Average: 10Mb+, Autoflush: 7Mb+

The software that I carry on my Treo includes:

BlueFTP: A part of the RescoExplorer Suite; allows my phone to become a BlueTooth FTP server
RescoExplorer 2009
FileMan: A quick and limited capability (When compared to RescoExplorer) file manager
Gizmo: Java based IM client
iSilo: Document reader and much more
Keyring: Secure storage of passwords and related information
LinkStart: Handles launching of off-line (SD card) applications
MoTwit: MobileTwitter, posts updates to twitter via the Web
mRing: for Random MP3 ringtones
mVoice: for recording of all calls

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A short introduction

Name: Priyasen Shah

Age: Approximately 33 years in 2009

Hobbies: Computers, electronics, books, carpentary and a whole lot more..

What this blog is about:
My hobbies, personal tidbits, other's follies and foibles, Linux
(specifically Ubuntu), the Palm Treo 650, the Nintendo Wii, things I want
to remember, a landmark for my accompishments, an acknowledgement to the
giants on whose shoulders I stand..

Dedicated to: My 2-year old (in 2009) son: Ridhasen.