|Put a little Zen in your PC with Zenwalk Live!|
Written by the ZenDoc Team .
Copyright © 2005-2009 - Zenwalk Linux
About the licence governing this documentation
You have the right to copy, distribute and/or modify this documentation according to terms' of the GNU General Public License, version 3 or any later version, as published by Free Software Foundation. The text of the license is in the appendix: GNU General Public License.
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See also the Zenwalk GNU/Linux Wiki for more general documentation.
Last revised: 12 May 2009
- Zenwalk Live User's Guide
- Zenwalk Live System Tools
- Further customizing
- Persisting Changes
- Installing Zenwalk Live on a USB drive
- Appendix A: Cheatcodes
Zenwalk. It runs directly from the CD or from a pendrive without installing anything on your hard disk. This way you can try Zenwalk and see this wonderful operating system without modifying any of your data.
Zenwalk Live is a LiveCD powerhouse complete with wireless networking support, Multimedia, Office and Games and Development software.
The latest Zenwalk Live was developed with the latest Linux-Live scripts using aufs2 (unification filesystem) and Squashfs (compressed read-only filesystem) patched to include Lzma compression (one of the best compression algorithms).
To force your computer to boot from the CDROM most computer allows you to press a special key at boot (usually F8, F9, ...) to select the booting device. This is the preferred way as it is easier.
Another method is to setup your PC's BIOS to permanently look for a boot-CD at first, and try to boot from the hard disk only if no CD is found. Again, you have to press some key during the startup (usually Del key), which will allow you to enter BIOS SETUP. There you can go through some menus and look for "Advanced settings", "Boot order" or "Boot options". Set CDROM as a first device and hard disk as a second one. one" without password. It is recommended to log in and use Zenwalk Live with this account. Most configuration utilities that require root power will ask you for the password.
root's password is "ZenLive" and it case sensitive. That means nor "zenlive" neither "ZENLIVE" will match the password.
Cheatcodes are useful for disabling some hardware detection in case of conflicts, setting some default options and much more
To use a cheatcode press Tab when in the Zenwalk Live boot menu. That will take you to the boot prompt where you'll be able to enter your cheatcode.
A list of cheatcodes is given at Appendix A
This is a program to install a new bootloader on your machine. This is particularly useful if the bootloader of your machine has got corrupted and denies access to your installed operating systems.
This utility will help you generate a customised LiveCD which is the clone of your currently running Zenwalk environment.
This utility installs Zenwalk on your computer.
To access these utilities, select Zenpanel from the menu bar, and type in the root password, which is 'ZenLive'.
You must set the correct options and supply a label for each selected system before pressing the plus button. The label should contain neither a space nor a special character. For identifying your drives and partitions, Zenwalk uses the libata subsystem, which applies the sdxx naming scheme. At any time, you can verify your settings by viewing lilofix.conf file under the tools section of the menu.
When you have finished adding each of the booting systems you want to include in the new lilo bootloader, just click on the Apply button. Wait a couple of minutes and a message will come up to confirm whether your new bootloader has successfully installed or not.
When you have done with personalising the Zenwalk environment to your taste, you start LiveClone, and set a name for your custom ISO name. NB. Please, do not attach any extentions such as .iso.
You need also to specify a working directory on a device with enough free space to hold both your base system and your generated ISO file, the ideal being about 3 GB of free space. Once these steps are completed, click on the Apply button to start the process.
You must have at least one main Linux partition reserved for Zenwalk and one global swap partition for that machine (which can be used by other Linux distributions if present in your computer). If necessary, please take notes so that you can make sure how each partition is organised by your system.
NB. Once a swap partition has been created (or an existing one is detected), it will be selected automatically by ZenInstaller without any further intervention by you.
The install routine is as simple as 123. Going through each tab, you must:
1) Select the partition where Zenwalk will be installed.
2) Eventually configure access to your other partitions if you have more than one.
3) Personalise your login and passwords.
Then you can launch the installation. Once Zenwalk system has been copied on the parititon. LiloFix will be executed and you will be able to set up your booloader.
Contextual helps are available for each part of the installation processes. Nothing will actually be touched on your hard drive until you hit the Launch Installation button in the last tab. So do not hesitate to experiment and familiarise yourself with all the differenct parts of the installer.
NB. The keyboard configuration and language environment you chose for executing Zenwalk Live will be carried automatically onto your installed system.
Obviously the above is not a technical definition but it's all you need to know to use them.
Actually a module is a compressed filesystem that will be merged with other modules by using a union filesystem to appear like one big read/write filesystem. In case you want to know more read documentation at the bottom.
Store your module under zenlive/modules/ directory of Zenlive CD. This way the module will be automatically used on boot-up.
If you wish to use your module only sometimes, store it in /zenlive/optional/ directory on Zenwalk Live CD.
These modules won't be loaded automatically, but you can instruct Zenwalk Live to load it at boot time by using the load=module cheatcode.
3) On the fly:
After booting your livecd, you can use the activate command to load a module "on the fly".
The module will be inserted into live filesystem, so the application will look like it was installed.
This way of using modules is useful because it lets you use modules from another media (usb stick, h.d.)
Loading a module is NOT the same as running an application, it just insert the module into the filesystem. So you'll still need to start the application as you would normally do.
1) Quick & dirty way:
You can easily build a module by converting a Slackware/Zenwalk package into a module using the 'tgz2lzm' command.
This way of building modules has the advantage that it is easy to get a program running on your live-cd as long as you have a package.
However if you are planning to include several applications you'll end up with a great number of small modules, this will make the system boot slower and will consume more system resources.
2) The professional's way:
The preferred way to build a module is by following these steps:
1. Create a working directory
2. Install all software packages using this directory as root
3. Remove all unneeded files.
4. Make any modifications you want.
5. Build the module
This way of building modules requires a little more effort but gives you the opportunity to control the contents of your module and help to reduce the boot-time of your system by reducing the number of modules to load.
Also it's good to have related applications on the same module, that makes it easier to find which module contains a given application in case you want to remove it or update it.
Go on and build your own modules!
For example, let's say you prefer OpenOffice to Abiword and Gnumeric. Then you need to convert the module into a directory tree (using lzm2dir), remove the packages for the unwanted applications (using removepkg), add the desired application (using installpkg) and finally rebuild the module (using dir2lzm).
You can then build the new CD image including your customised module and reburn your CD.
A step by step procedure would be:
1. Create a working directory.
2. Convert the module that contains the packages you want to remove into a directory tree below the working directory.
3. Remove the packages from the working directory.
At this point you can install a new module or a new version of a module using installpkg -root option and the working directory as root.
4. Build the new module.
At this point you have customised your module, all that is left is to replace the original module with your module, rebuild the CD image and reburn the CD.
Zenwalk keeps a log of installed packages under /var/log/packages/, so by looking at /mnt/live/memory/images/<modulename>/var/log/packages/ you can find out which modules holds a given package.
Zenwalk Live CD contains a /zenlive/rootcopy/ directory. The content of this directory is copied to root filesystem each time you boot, preserving all directories.
So, for example, if you wish to just use your own xorg.conf file, create /zenlive/rootcopy/etc/X11/ directories on the CD and store your xorg.conf to it. Note that you need to recreate the full directory hierarchy for the patches to work as desired.
Or alternatively by command lines:
Copy entire CD to a directory on your hard disk. Then modify everything you need, add or remove files or modules. When done rebuild the CD image and burn it on a new CD. You can do it from a running Zenwalk Live.
1. Boot Zenwalk Live and login as usual.
2. Open a terminal to work from the command line and create a work directory in a disk where you have free space.
3. Copy Zenwalk Live's CD content to your working directory.
4. Add or remove modules or files as needed.
5. Rebuild the CD image.
A new bootable ISO will be created with all your modifications.
6. Burn your image CD.
This can be done from your favourite CD burning software or from the command line using the cdrecord command:
7. Reboot and enjoy your custom Zenwalk Live!
As an easy way to save all changes from one session of Zenwalk Live to another you can unzip one of the savexxx.zip files under zenlive/persist directory to the root directory of a writable partition (for example a hard disk or a pendrive) on and you'll get a zensave.xfs file that will be automatically used by Zenwalk Live to persist changes.
There are three files in the current directory, each one containing an empty loop XFS filesystem:
save128.zip ... contains a 128 Mb zensave.xfs file.
save256.zip ... contains a 256 Mb zensave.xfs file.
save512.zip ... contains a 512 Mb zensave.xfs file.
1) You'll need a large enough FAT partition on your pendrive. Let's assume your partition is /dev/sda1 and that it is mounted on /mnt/usb. If that is not your case then adjust your paths and work with care.
You can use mkfs to build a FAT filesystem in case you have to.
2) Boot Zenwalk Live from the CD as usual and plug your pendrive. Your pendrive should be mounted already.
3) Copy your Zenwalk Live CD contents to the pendrive's target partition:
You'll get some stat or chmod errors, just ignore them. That's because the target FAT partition doesn't support linux file permissions.
4) We'll use syslinux as boot loader as it works fine and it's already included in Zenwalk Live.
I don't know if it's necessary but just to be sure, let's unmount the pendrive.
Now, we setup the boot sector by issuing:
That's all folks!
Reboot and Enjoy!
- passwd: Set root's password to "somepass", or ask (with =ask) for a new password during the boot, before starting zenlive.
- keyb (and xkeyb): Set the default keyboard layout for command line interface and X respectively. If only keyb is entered X keyboard layout will be guessed from it.
- numlock: Override the default numlock setting.
- lang: Set the default language. Although language can be selected from the graphical login screen there may be cases when you want this cheatcode.
- copy2ram: Copy all files (all required and optional modules) to RAM. You'll need A LOT of RAM to do this and boot Zenwalk Live properly.
- from: Allows to boot from an iso image on a hard disk or from a "Poor man's install" root's directory.
- changes: All changes you made while using Zenwalk Live are kept in memory until you reboot. With this cheatcode, you can use a file or a partition to persist changes between sessions. Read also "Persisting Changes"
- ramsize: All changes made while using Zenwalk Live are kept in memory. By default, Zenwalk Live never uses more than 60% of your RAM to save changes, downloaded files, etc. The rest of memory is never used to store files so it's available for running applications. You may use percentage value (for example ramsize=80%) or size in bytes (eg. ramsize=100M to use max 100MB).
- load: Load optional modules from /zenlive/optional/ directory on Zenwalk Live CD. You can use full module name (module.lzm) or you can skip the extension. Moreover it's possible to use asterisk (*) as a special character, so for example, using load=wine* will load all modules starting with 'wine', like 'wine-hq.lzm', 'wine123.lzm', etc.
- noload: Disable loading of any modules specified. This affects all the modules on Zenwalk Live CD, including /zenlive/base and /zenlive/modules. It is useful with copy2ram cheatcode, because any unused module is not copied to RAM.
- debug: Enable debug mode. Gives a shell prompt several times during boot. Useful for developers for diagnosing boot problems.
- probeusb: Delays the boot process for nn seconds to allow USB devices to get stable. Useful when USB devices are needed soon on the boot stage.
- floppy: Enable floppy auto-mounting during startup.
- noauto: Disable auto-mounting of disk.
- noxconf: Disable X auto-configuration. Useful for using your own xorg.conf file in /zenlive/rootcopy.
- nosound: Skip sound configuration.