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What is a live CD or live DVD?

A live CD or DVD is designed in a special way that when is run, the system contained on it appears in the screen as similar as possible to the standard system with all the features that can be possible included, and when the the CD/DVD is ejected from the computer (reboot may be necessary) the original system is returned as usual.

The term “live” derives from the fact that these CDs each contain a complete, functioning and operational operating system. There are also Live USB flash drives which are similar to live CDs, but often have the added functionality of automatically and transparently writing changes back to their bootable medium.

So in this post I will talk about how to generate live CDs or DVD’s on Fedora based systems, giving an example procedure. Here the steps:

* Login as root in a Machine with Fedora Operative System.

* Install Live cd tools by typing in the command line:
# yum install livecd-tools

This will install some kickstarts files in this location: /usr/share/livecd-tools, the files generated will depend of with version of Fedora you are working with, I’m using Fedora 9 (then it created files from all the Fedora previous versions until the one that I’m using), these are the list of files that I got in my machine:

livecd-fedora-7-desktop.ks
livecd-fedora-7-kde.ks
livecd-fedora-8-base-desktop.ks
livecd-fedora-8-desktop.ks
livecd-fedora-8-developer.ks
livecd-fedora-8-electronic-lab.ks
livecd-fedora-8-games.ks
livecd-fedora-8-kde.ks
livecd-fedora-9-base-desktop.ks
livecd-fedora-9-desktop.ks
livecd-fedora-9-kde.ks
livecd-fedora-base-desktop.ks
livecd-fedora-desktop.ks
livecd-fedora-developer.ks
livecd-fedora-electronic-lab.ks
livecd-fedora-games.ks
livecd-fedora-kde.ks
livecd-fedora-minimal.ks
livedvd-fedora-kde.ks

* Pick one of them (I used: livecd-fedora-9-base-desktop.ks).

* For avoid problems related to selinux, I disabled it, by editing the file and changing the correspondent line, like this:

selinux –disabled

* Saved your changes and in the command line type:
# livecd-creator -c livecd-fedora-9-base-desktop.ks

This will generate a iso image with your chosen live CD option. This may take some time so… you might have enough time for a cup of tea (I was working with a wireless connection so I could have the entire dinner!).

When it finished, you will have a new file, this is the one that I got: livecd-fedora-9-base-desktop-200812061928.iso

Now you can either burn it or use tools like qemu  and kvm to try it out. If you choose the second option, you should install those packages, in the command line type:
# yum install kvm qemu

Once it finish, type:
# qemu-kvm -m 512 -cdrom livecd-fedora-9-base-desktop-200812061928.iso

and if everything is correct then you will be able to see a screen like this:

qemu

QEMU running a Live CD iso image

References:
1. http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_create_and_use_Fedora_LiveCD
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_CD

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