After we were thrown on the ground!


We landed on Delhi soil ,few weeks ago.. It was an amazing experience flying in 9W…something…(Thats Jet Airways by the way).

2 days prior to that was even better, I’m sitting in office and the next thing I know, is that my Manager is asking me to go to Delhi… It was a totally a fun experience.

Anyway the reason we (Me and Avinash) went there was to create a custom ISO for  NCERT(National council of Education Research and Technology) based on the lates OpenSolaris build(b111)They had invited us for a 2 day meeting where we were suppose to create an ISO containing developer’s tools and a few visual changes to suite their needs.

No sooner did we land than we went to an awaiting taxi(Thats obvious, what am I writing 🙂 ). That was my first taste of Delhi air in 10yrs and so we went to our cottage, nicely tucked away in Panchsheel park(South Delhi) with huge houses, swanky cars and my god were they beautiful..(All thanks to Ritu Gosh who had organized everything excellently for us).

My friend stayed there in the cottage while I was off to meet my cousins for the night….(I knew the as the sun begins to shine the next day,It was going to be really tough!!!).

Well that did happen, and so we found ourselves on the way to Sun Microsystems,Delhi(Excellent so far)..

We began work by 9AM (SHARP,yes SHARP) … The easiest way to build a custom ISO of Opensolaris is to use the Distro constructor ,the details on how to download and install are also available there itself….

Then came the real work.. There was a catch … The only way we could create a custom ISO is to actually download all the pkg/dependencies and what not, afresh….

The target file here is the ‘ usr/share/distro_const/slim_cd/slim_cd.xml'... Here one need to edit to include the pkg necessary to build a custom ISO,little did we know that it was really not going to be that easy..Once that is sorted out then next is just to let go of your computer and forget that you even started anything(it atleast takes 8hrs man,really massive )...

Some of the pkgs  included were

  • GCC compiler
  • SUNWdia
  • openoffice
  • gimp

A few more were included but my memory isnt that great right now!!!!

Once that was done it took us about 8 hrs and after which (late by the night that the download had failed… and a debug later I figured out that it was a damn faulty LAN cable that we were using which had broken off long ago).

Will say no more on that…

So that night was completely dedicated to resolving the issue and both of us sat in the office till 10PM 😦  ,when it showed no signs of completions we decided to leave the laptop in office and manage with the other one at hand.

And so we finally,uff!!! saw ourselves heading back to the cottage .

As Day 2 dawned we reached office by 8:30AM and luckily the build had successfully completed…We had no time to chat and avinash (pretty good with graphics) started work on incorporating changes to the graphics while I got down to extracting and working on the ISO for changes….(My past knowledge about Ram based boot helped me a lot here,to resolve a million issues).

Day3 say us work on another of NCERT’s requirements(A USB bootable Opensolaris).Once we have the required ISO its just a matter of executing 2 toolkits,

  • usbgen (Which creates the actual usb bootable image)
  • usbcopy(Which copies the then generated .usb image onto a pen-drive)

So finally we had a working/required copy of Opensolaris that we could present to NCERT…Little did we know that they had systems with 256MB RAM,(No body can push a truck up a 70′ incline 😉 )

A hardware dude was called to fix this issue and then all set to go…

Will be uploading a few photos in a while,but for now text is all that the readers can enjoy…

I must say the whole experience of being Inited to Delhi,living life “First class” pamperd us a lot. 🙂 But at the end it was well worth the trip as this project was successful.

After I began work on this I realised there needs to be some changes done to the way one can build a custom ISO….The current mechanism involves the pkgs required to be specified in ‘slim_cd.xml’ file  ,this then contacts the repo to download everything and then build the ISO ,no worries if you have loads to time however what I’m considering is to actually take a snapshot of the current system and then build and ISO out of it directly….

I’m starting to look into feasibility aspect even as I write but alas, my exams are in a few days,anything will have to be after that 😦

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