Multilingual and "fat" edition of Mint 9 created

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BTPFMJ
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Multilingual and "fat" edition of Mint 9 created

Post by BTPFMJ » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:57 am

I've created a multilingual and customized, "fat" version of Linux Mint 9 based on the i386 Gnome DVD. The main goal was to have a live system for nontechnical users that can be used in emergencies if their primary systems (typically Windows) are broken. I wanted to make language and keyboard layout selection as easy as possible because having the wrong keyboard layout would be a major inconvenience for novice users. Therefore localization can be selected from a simple menu right at the boot prompt. The disc supports the following languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Hungarian, with multiple keyboard layout options for some languages.

The DVD comes with a huge amount of software, about 1.7 GB compressed and 4.8 GB uncompressed, so a very wide selection of functionality is available out of the box and users don't have to worry about installing software or waiting for downloads when using slow or unreliable Internet connections. This makes the main menu somewhat cluttered but I thought this was a better compromise overall. For maximum compatibility, it's 32 bit only.

Some of the applications included:
- Firefox with Flash and Java plugins, and Adblock Plus installed and enabled, and Flashblock installed but disabled by default, it can be activated by a single click on a toolbar button
- Opera, Chromium, Midori
- Thunderbird, Evolution, mutt
- Pidgin (with OTR), Empathy, aMSN, Ekiga, XChat, irssi, Skype
- Vuze, aMule, DC++, FileZilla
- VLC, SMPlayer, Xine, Minitube, DumpHD
- Handbrake, dvd::rip, Avidemux, Arista, Audacity, EasyTag
- OpenOffice.org complete with translations, hyphenation rules, thesauruses and help files for all languages listed above, and basic support for many more languages
- GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus, mtPaint, Picasa, Xara LX
- Python 2/3, Ruby, Sun JDK, Emacs, Geany, SciTE, gcc, autoconf, automake
- WINE, VirtualBox, KVM, DOSBox, dosemu
- TrueCrypt, KeePassX, OpenVPN (with NetworkManager support), Wireshark
- Google Earth, Frozen-Bubble, Crack Attack, Gnome games

The only changes done to the system were the following: Adblock and Flashblock setup (done in /etc/skel), a minor fix for Midori (done in /etc/skel), smarter minimum partition size calculation for the installer (done in initrd), keyboard preferences application added to favorites in the main menu (done in initrd, only applies to the live session), and the boot menu with language options. Only two applications were installed from third party repositories: Handbrake (PPA added) and TrueCrypt (installed from a .deb package), everything else comes from official Mint or Ubuntu archives. It's a pure Linux Mint 9 with tons of software and full support for many languages out of the box. No surprises, no hidden components or unusual behavior.

I've also installed a bunch of command line utilities useful to power users (Midnight Commander, lvm2, iptraf, socat, nmap, partimage etc.) but haven't installed components which would significantly modify the behavior of the system and aren't needed by average users (e.g. SSH server or NFS client). The following packages along with their dependencies have been copied to /var/cache/apt/archives so they can be installed even without an Internet connection:
- OpenSSH server, rssh, NFS client & server, NBD client & server, Open-iSCSI
- Dnsmasq, PowerDNS recursor, Postfix, vsftpd
- MySQL client, smbc, smbnetfs
- Enigmail (not installed by default because dependencies for some locales are broken for Enigmail in the official repositories and this in turn breaks the Gnome language selector tool)

This was my first encounter with Linux Mint and it was a very nice experience. I'm not sure the community would be interested in this modified disc but in case somebody would like to host it, let me know, as I don't have enough bandwidth to make it available for download.
Linux_Mint_9_MLC_boot.png
Linux_Mint_9_MLC_boot.png (26.18 KiB) Viewed 2745 times
Last edited by BTPFMJ on Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

JasonLG
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Re: Multilingual and "fat" edition of Mint 9 created

Post by JasonLG » Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:48 am

Nice, I'd be more interested in a lite version(lite as in amount of installed software) than a fat version myself. I always find myself removing more packages then I add to a new install. The only problem is you need Clem's permission to call it Mint and distribute it with Mint branding and artwork.
"I see" said the blind man to the deaf man who stuck his wooden leg out the window to check the weather.

BTPFMJ
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Re: Multilingual and "fat" edition of Mint 9 created

Post by BTPFMJ » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:25 am

JasonLG wrote:The only problem is you need Clem's permission to call it Mint and distribute it with Mint branding and artwork.
I created this mainly for "internal use" for a few friends of mine, so I didn't care about branding, and frankly I don't see much point in calling it something else than "Mint" because the changes I've made are really minuscule (and very easily reversible). I've announced it here to give back something to the community just in case someone might find it useful.

That said, I could change the menu title in the boot screen but I don't have the time to rebrand the disc completely. If somebody is interested in figuring out what's OK regarding branding and then (a) hosting the original, or (b) hosting one with a different title in the boot screen, or (c) doing the rebranding work themselves, I'd be happy to upload a copy somewhere.

JasonLG
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Re: Multilingual and "fat" edition of Mint 9 created

Post by JasonLG » Sat Jun 05, 2010 8:59 am

BTPFMJ wrote:
JasonLG wrote:The only problem is you need Clem's permission to call it Mint and distribute it with Mint branding and artwork.
I created this mainly for "internal use" for a few friends of mine, so I didn't care about branding, and frankly I don't see much point in calling it something else than "Mint" because the changes I've made are really minuscule (and very easily reversible). I've announced it here to give back something to the community just in case someone might find it useful.

That said, I could change the menu title in the boot screen but I don't have the time to rebrand the disc completely. If somebody is interested in figuring out what's OK regarding branding and then (a) hosting the original, or (b) hosting one with a different title in the boot screen, or (c) doing the rebranding work themselves, I'd be happy to upload a copy somewhere.
No worries man I'm not the Mint Police I was just giving you a head up. I wasn't sure if you were aware of the rules regarding spins.

Here's a link to a post on the topic.

http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=28717
"I see" said the blind man to the deaf man who stuck his wooden leg out the window to check the weather.

BTPFMJ
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Re: Multilingual and "fat" edition of Mint 9 created

Post by BTPFMJ » Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:29 pm

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. It's completely understandable that the Mint project wishes to protect their image and I don't want to interfere with that, especially since they're doing a great job for which I'm thankful. However, rebranding would be a big task and I cannot devote a lot of time at the moment to something that would be of absolutely no practical value to me or my friends.

So I'm sharing only the modifications here, in case somebody would find them useful. These are really very trivial things so I disclaim all copyright.

BTPFMJ
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Re: Multilingual and "fat" edition of Mint 9 created

Post by BTPFMJ » Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:40 pm

The tarball I uploaded previously had a file missing/corrupt, here's a fixed one.
Attachments
mint-mlc-20100606.tar.bz2
(134.47 KiB) Downloaded 106 times

BTPFMJ
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Re: Multilingual and "fat" edition of Mint 9 created

Post by BTPFMJ » Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:53 am

I've added a few more packages and customizations so that more things just work out of the box in the live session.

New packages include Bluefish, Brother printer drivers, Claws Mail, Gnumeric, mencoder, Moovida, PuTTY, Subdownloader, and quite a few command line utilities. The ISO is still below 2 GB. All packages (except the kernel) have been updated, including the Flash plugin whose latest 10.1 version fixes some security problems. See the filesystem.manifest etc. files.

Changes to the live system (a permanent installation will have standard Linux Mint settings):
- newer ISOLINUX that supports hybrid ISO images which can be booted from USB sticks (execute "isohybrid -partok your_iso" in the command line)
- if such a hybrid disk is detected, all partitions on it will be mounted automatically at boot (typical setup: one FAT partition to transport data and a hidden Linux partition to boot from)
- time zone will be automatically set based on the localization settings selected at boot
- if there's a bootable NTFS partition, the hardware clock is assumed to store local time, not UTC
- the correct time zone and time will be queried and set as soon as an Internet connection is available
- the default English boot entry now sets the USA International (AltGr dead keys) keyboard layout; it's exactly the same as the standard USA layout as long as you don't touch the right Alt key, but allows entering a wide range of accented characters if needed
- keyboard and time/date preferences links added to favorites in the Mint Menu
- padding around GUI buttons is reduced (done in .gtkrc), this doesn't make anything look strange but saves a lot of space which is important on small screens (think netbooks)
- a Firefox link is added to the desktop because more often than not that's the only application that'll be used in a live session
- the Bookmarks toolbar in Firefox is hidden by default to save space
- default search engine and start page set to unbranded Google sites because the Mint branded ones show a less familiar interface and slightly different results (I wish I didn't have to change this, but I wanted to minimize confusion for new users; if they decide to install the OS, they'll get the standard Mint start page)
- VirtualBox won't ask to accept a license and won't check for updates automatically
- default Gnome keyring created, so the user won't be prompted for a keyring password, for example when setting up a wireless or VPN connection, it's really unnecessary in a live session
- screensaver disabled, there's no need for it with modern displays and it's annoying if you're watching a video and have to touch the mouse every 5 minutes (power management settings aren't changed)
- mouse wheel emulation automatically enabled on TrackPoints and similar devices
Attachments
mint-mlc-20100613.tar.bz2
(Again, no copyright.)
(315.84 KiB) Downloaded 104 times

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