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APTonCD HowTo

The Linux system is highly modular: When installing a software, most of the time, some other libraries or software packages are needed. That’s why most Linux distributions use a package manager (for example APT) to make software installation easy. Usually, the user only selects the program she or he wants and everything is downloaded and installed automatically. Problems arise, when we try to install software on a computer that does not have a good internet connection: Here this automatic downloading cannot take place and we have to find a way to download all needed packages somewhere else and supply them to this computer.

APTonCD is a Tool to create a Package-CD for APT based Linux Distributions. It uses the cached installation files in /var/cache/apt/archives and create a .iso CD/DVD image. The disk is automatically recognized when inserted in a Ubuntu system and offers an easy way to provide computers without or with a slow internet connection with updates and/or addionall software.

The challenge is now, to fill the cache directory with all needed files. When installating a Ubuntu system, it does automatically an upgrade from the internet. These files, for example, are not stored in the apt-archive. Addionally, sometimes /var/cache/apt/archives could be cleared to gain diskspace. All this problems have to be avoided.

That’s why we should use a master-system when supplying offline systems with update CDs.

We can use SUN VirtualBox to create a virtual machine for this purpose – but of cause also a real system can be used.

  1. make sure, to disconnect the system (VirtualBox: deacitvate Network, otherwise: unplug cables) [not sure]
  2. for VirtualBox: make sure, to have enough free diskspace (> 5 GB) is using the DVD version
  3. install Ubuntu (same version as used on the offline computers)
  4. choose same language
  5. optional: replace sources.list by a one which uses an apt-cacher server – if available in your comany’s network
  6. optional: add addionall sources
  7. run „aptitude update“
  8. run „aptitude upgrade“
  9. install add addional software – aptitude -d install could be used, which will only download the packages
  10. install aptoncd package
  11. create CD/DVD
  12. insert in the offline computer, Ubuntu will automatically use the disk
  13. install packages files / metapackage created by aptoncd