January 25, 2016

How do I create an offline installation disk?

Hi, I'm relatively new in Linux, I use Linux Mint 17 and I clearly need more experienced help. My job is to manage a weather program in Linux, but internet at work blocks the repositories, so to update I have to take the HHD home, update it, and then bring it back to work. I have to reproduce this PC in more places all the time, also without updating possibilities, so I would need to create a DVD with Linux Mint 17, Apache2, MySQL, PHP5, SQLite, vim, and this weather program called "WeeWX" (http://www.weewx.com/). The greater problem is that, not only I wouldn't know how to create an offline DVD to auto-install (if possible) these programs, but when I install WeeWX Linux tells me that I'm lacking some dependences and needs to update Linux again to work (to download these files: python-configobj, python-cheetah, python-usb (is it asking me to install python?)). The ideal thing would be a single disk with an auto-install feature for all these programs, but as it sounds too impossible for Linux then the next thing in mind would be to have one disk for Linux, and another disk for these LAMP programs, WeeWX and these dependences that asks me for it to work. I'm asking if someone can write a brief (if you want) but UNDERSTANDABLE STEP-BY-STEP of what I should do to make this come true. If possible, clear steps like these: 1) Double-click this file. 2) Copy this text in the terminal. 3) bla bla bla 4) Press Enter. Finished, your disk is ready. Thanks in advance for the help :)

Well, there are a number of different ways to skin this particular cat, and I...

Well, there are a number of different ways to skin this particular cat, and I recommend you look across them all to see what suits all your criteria e.g. skill level, access to networks at work, financial resource etc.

The easiest solution is to use VPN to access the repositories, thereby avoiding your employer's network restrictions. If you are allowed to this that is the easy way (ask employer and network manager first!), as it will allow you unrestricted access in a similar way as if you are at home, every time you need to install on new machines with restricted access. This is the way I would go unless I had more than 10 or 20 machines per year to install on.

If not, then, there is a second solution, which is straightforward but involves a little more time to be up and running. Cube Server is a portable package manager which will allow you to install an instance on your work machine and another on your home machine. Once you've decided what you need to install at work, you go home, dl the required packages there, onto portable storage, take your portable storage back to work, and then install, along with all required dependencies. The official page is at https://launchpad.net/cube-server and there is a nice tutorial at http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/1583 but beware it links to an older version of Cube Server. That gives the benefit of only needing one round trip to get your additional software installed, and you don't have to risk damaging/losing the hdd in transit, as you can use a USB stick instead.

Beyond those, there are other options such as using Docker, or Ubuntu Customisation Kit (uck), or Linux from Scratch (LFS) to make life easier if you are doing more installs than is practical on an individual basis. However, they can be somewhat more involved so only worth looking at if neither of the first two options suit your needs.

Best regards

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