Sugar on a Stick/Customization

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Customizing your SoaS

Note: As of 30 October 2009, this is only a draft, most certainly incomplete and still subject to changes.

Creating your own SoaS is not as hard as it probably sounds. Depending on whether you just want to adjust some settings or need to modify it for a deployment, you might want to look a bit deeper into the process of creating the images, even if the procedure itself is always the same. Please make sure to adhere to the naming conditions when releasing a customized version publicly.

Components

First of all, it is important to understand from which components SoaS it is composed. It consists basically of the following parts:

  • Fedora, as the base operating system, providing most of the packages we are using (this includes the Sugar Environment & Platform).
  • Additional packages from a repository at download.sugarlabs.org to add our branding (we are trying to keep the number of packages here as small as possible).
  • The activities, which are directly downloaded from activities.sugarlabs.org.

Prerequirements

You will need a Fedora system to run the scripts to create the live media, preferably the most current version of it. Additionally, you will need the a few packages, like the tools used for composing and a distributed version control system. To get them, become root by using su and run the following command:

yum install git livecd-tools

Development takes place in the SoaS GIT repository, which you will need to checkout first. As it is a GIT repository, make sure to have GIT installed, before executing:

git clone git://git.sugarlabs.org/soas/mainline.git soas

In case you encounter any issues while checking the files out, probably because you are behind a firewall, you might try using HTTP instead:

git clone http://git.sugarlabs.org/git/soas/mainline.git soas

This will grab all the latest files in the project's directory and place them in a folder called soas.

Getting Started

Now we will have a look at the config files themselves, which are used to create the builds. Starting with soas-base.ks, which provides the base system, you will notice some arguments at the top of the file: 

  • lang en_US.UTF-8
  • keyboard us
  • timezone US/Eastern

You can easily adjust that to modify the default language settings. Fedora provides more information on the various options here (http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Anaconda/Kickstart).

Next, we will focus on the soas-sugar.ks, which contains all the Sugar parts, as well as some customizations. The first part listed under # sugar! contains the activities, that have been packaged for Fedora, meaning that they are available as RPM files. You can run yum list 'sugar-*' on your build machine to find out what is available in the repos.