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Xubuntu with a *pure* debian base from scratch
 

Xubuntu with a *pure* debian base from scratch

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How to setup a minimal Debian Linux installation and theme it so that it is identical to Xubuntu 14.04. Then create your own ISO for distribution.

How to setup a minimal Debian Linux installation and theme it so that it is identical to Xubuntu 14.04. Then create your own ISO for distribution.

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    Xubuntu with a *pure* debian base from scratch Xubuntu with a *pure* debian base from scratch Document Transcript

    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Or, rather... How to make Debian look and behave like Xubuntu. Copyright © 2014, RichJack http://linuxthemer.blogspot.com/
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Copyright © 2014 Page 2 Of 31 Contents License: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).............................3 Introduction.............................................................................................................................................................4 Chapter 1................................................................................................................................................................ 5 1. Prepare your build environment.................................................................................................................5 2. Download the netinst ISO............................................................................................................................5 3. Install Debian.................................................................................................................................................6 4. Setup Display Server (Xorg) and Audio (PulseAudio)............................................................................6 5. Install XFCE base system and Display/Login Manager......................................................................... 7 Chapter 2................................................................................................................................................................ 8 6. Install Extra XFCE Packages......................................................................................................................8 7. Xubuntu Theming......................................................................................................................................... 9 7.1 Desktop Theme...................................................................................................................................... 9 Chapter 3..............................................................................................................................................................13 7.2. Light Display Manager (lighdm)........................................................................................................13 7.3 Light-Locker..........................................................................................................................................14 7.4 Plymouth............................................................................................................................................... 15 Chapter 4..............................................................................................................................................................17 8. Applications................................................................................................................................................. 17 8.1 Web Browser........................................................................................................................................ 17 8.2 Other Applications............................................................................................................................... 19 9. Final Tweaks............................................................................................................................................... 22 Chapter 5..............................................................................................................................................................25 10. Prepare your system................................................................................................................................25 10.1 Set up the Skeleton directory...........................................................................................................25 10.2 Test the Skeleton and create a live session user account..........................................................26 10.3 Download imaging tools from Refracta..........................................................................................27 10.4 Clean your system.............................................................................................................................28 11. Create a Live CD ISO .............................................................................................................................29 About the Author..................................................................................................................................................30
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 3 Of 31 License: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY- SA 4.0) This tutorial was originally displayed on http://linuxthemer.blogspot.com/ on 13/06/2014. The Author is RichJack and the work is licensed under the Creative Common Attribution-ShareAlike license: You are free to:  Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format  Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material  for any purpose, even commercially.  The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms. Under the following terms:  Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, andindicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.  ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.  No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits. Notices:  You do not have to comply with the license for elements of the material in the public domain or where your use is permitted by an applicable exception or limitation.  No warranties are given. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material.  This is a human-readable summary of (and not a substitute for) the license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 4 Of 31 Introduction Why? Xubuntu is a very polished distro and has gained many fans over the last couple of years as Ubuntu users dissatisfied with the Unity interface have looked for something more akin to the old Gnome 2 way of working, or wanted something that would run well on hardware no longer supported by Unity. The current version, 14.04 is an LTS release and is as good an Xubuntu release as I have used, and looks stunning - modern, but straight-forward. Still, Xubuntu has always been a little 'heavy' for an XFCE-based distribution, both in terms of RAM usage and it's reliance on many gnome packages and dependencies. Debian is a leaner system, though out-of-the-box, XFCE looks really dated on Debian. The Goal: Create a pure Debian installation with XFCE, themed to look like Xubuntu, but with as few gnome dependencies as possible, whilst maintaining the same functionality. How: Starting with a net install, install the packages one by one, check dependencies, replace with alternative packages if available, then configure and theme like Xubuntu. Difficultly: intermediate. Some prior use of Linux is assumed, with some exposure to the command line and packaging tools, although all commands will be given in full. Time: 1 -2 days. You will be installing a base system and then adding the packages one by one to build a complete system. You will be editing configuration files and using the command line.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 5 Of 31 Chapter 1 1. Prepare your build environment. Basically, decide whether you are going to build this in a virtual machine or on real hardware. I will be building this in VirtualBox. If you are building on real hardware, then make sure that you know what your hardware is in case you need to install any additional drivers along the way eg wireless card, video adapter, processor etc... Your machine will need to be bootable from CD/DVD or USB and you will most likely need to be able to connect to the Internet via Ethernet (at least until you install the WiFi drivers). You can run VirtualBox in Windows or Linux. For Windows, grab the current installer direct from their website. For Linux, you should be able to install from your distributions repositories. Depending upon your host system resources, allocate about 16GB for the virtual hard disk, 512MB- 1GB RAM and 32MB-64MB video memory. You might want to enable 3D support and PAE if available. I will also be making use of shared folders so you might want to make sure you have the guest additions ISO downloaded if using Linux. 2. Download the netinst ISO Since the concept here is to recreate the look and feel of Xubuntu, we need to use the same version of the core desktop environment, XFCE. in Xubuntu 14.04, that is XFCE 4.10. This is the current stable release of XFCE, so it came as a surprise to find that the current stable version of Debian (Wheezy) only contains XFCE 4.8, especially as 4.10 has been out for 2 years. As a result, I am going to have to build this system using the testing release of Debian (Jessie), but don't worry, it is actually as stable as most other distros! Download Debian Jessie Netinst ISO: https://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/ And choose the Official Netinst release for i386 or amd64 as appropriate to your hardware. If you are installing on real hardware, then burn the ISO to a CD or transfer it to a USB stick using a toll such as UNetbootin or Rufus (on Windows). If using VirtualBox, select the ISO as the virtual CD drive source in the settings module.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 6 Of 31 3. Install Debian Boot into the netinstall ISO and choose the standard text installer. You can follow most of the defaults, obviously configuring what you need in terms of language and keyboard settings. You will need to make these changes though: 1. For VirtualBox select guided disc partitioning - take over entire disc, root and home on one partition. For real hardware, I'll leave this up to you how you want to proceed. 2. *Deselect Debian Desktop Environment (I am deselecting this so that I can choose the precise components that I want to) 3. *Select Print Server, Laptop and System Utilities 4. Create a root and regular user account. 5. At the login prompt, type your root and your root password. 6. Then type poweroff to shutdown. 7. Optionally, take a VirtualBox snapshot so you can go back to this point if things go pear- shaped later. This will take up 1.2GB of hard disk space (taken from du -h / command) and uses about 28MB of RAM (taken from free -m command) whilst idling at the command prompt. From now on I will list disk usage for each step along with optional extras so you can decide how 'fat' or 'lean' to create your system. Please note, these are usage estimations reported by apt prior to installation and are given here in the order that the packages are installed. They may vary on your system, especially if you install a lot of packages that share dependencies (eg a lot of Gnome applications appear to take up a lot of space but share a large number of libraries so altogether may not be such a large install). 4. Setup Display Server (Xorg) and Audio (PulseAudio) Installing Xorg should be fairly painless, but you may need some proprietary drivers for best results. If you just install the full Xorg package, you will have most of the open source drivers needed to get X working. More information on proprietary drivers can be found here. According to the Debian notes on pulseaudio, you only need to install the package and it should just work. However, you may need a bit more tweaking than that. Remember to run these commands as root unless otherwise specified! 1. Reboot machine and log in as root at the login prompt. 2. apt-get update 3. apt-get upgrade = 519KB as of 10 June 2014 4. apt-get install --no-install-recommends xserver-xorg-core xserver-xorg-input-all xserver-xorg- video-fbdev xserver-xorg-video-vesa (xserver-xorg-video-[yourcard, can be intel, nouveau, or ati]) = 8,672KB for a minimal set of packages optional: apt-get install xorg (for the full X package) = 41.5MB 5. apt-get install alsa = 3,653KB 6. alsactl init
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 7 Of 31 7. apt-get install pulseaudio = 37.6MB optional: pavucontrol paman pasystray = 102MB 8. logout and login as user:pulseaudio -Daplay /usr/share/sounds/alsa/* orspeaker-test 9. Check you can hear something! 10. optional to test your xorg configuration: apt-get install blackbox = 772KB (only installs 2 packages which will give you a rudimentary desktop - blackbox and libbt0) startx 11. poweroff and take vm snapshot. 5. Install XFCE base system and Display/Login Manager 1. apt-get install xfce4 = 184MB 2. apt-get install lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter = 28.7MB 3. dpkg-reconfigure lightdm 4. shutdown -r now 5. Reboot and you will see a basic lightdm login screen. You will need to type your username and password (for now). 6. Use the default XFCE panel configuration (for now). 7. Shutdown using the XFCE menu (you can decide whether to save your sessions or not) 8. Take vm snapshot. Now that we have X and a basic desktop setup, du reports disk usage is up to 1.8GB and free reports we are using 168MB of RAM whilst logged into the XFCE desktop with no applications running.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 8 Of 31 Chapter 2 If you have followed part 1 of this tutorial, you should have a minimal XFCE Debian Jessie installation with working sound and login manager. If you are building this in VirtualBox, you may want to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions at this stage to enable full screen resolution, USB 2 support, shared folders and clipboard and seamless mouse integration. Click here for a how to. Skip this if you are installing on real hardware. Continue reading to complete the configuration... 6. Install Extra XFCE Packages A quick look through the XFCE applications menu will tell you that you only have some basic applications. Quite a number of additional packages need installing to get a fully functional system akin to that offered by Xubuntu. If you have had enough of apt-get on the command line, you may want to install Synaptic to cover off all the remaining package installations graphically. In my opinion this is 18.4MB well used: apt-get install synaptic = 18.4MB I would suggest installing all of the below packages, but I have listed the approx size in case you decide to leave something out.  mousepad = 5,274KB (of course you can swap this for your favourite text editor)  thunar-archive-plugin = 7,927KB  xfce4-artwork = 10.4MB  xfce4-power-manager = 2907KB  xfce4-power-manager-plugins = 114KB  xfce4-terminal = 4,640KB (or you can stick with Xterm or install your favorite terminal)  xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin = 918KB After installing all of the above, du reported 2.0G disk usage and free reported 184MB RAM used whilst running XFCE with the XFCE terminal open.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 9 Of 31 7. Xubuntu Theming At this point, it would be prudent to take a look at the current Xubuntu theme: And also to look at what the core components are (amongst others):  Plymouth - boot splash with custom xubuntu theme  Lightdm - log-in/session manager with custom theme  Light-locker - screensaver/screen lock  GTK Theme - Greybird from Shimmer Project  Icon Theme - Elementary-Darker from Shimmer Project, DMZ-White Cursors  Network: Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, XChat, Transmission  Office: Abiword, Gnumeric, evince  Multimedia: Parole, gmusicbrowser  Graphics: GIMP, Ristretto, Screenshooter, Simple Scan  Accessories: Catfish, File-roller, Bluetooth Manager, GParted  Games: Gnome mines and Sudoku I am going to outline how to install what is required to get the theme looking like Xubuntu. The remaining packages are user choice, but I will offer a few lighter alternatives for those looking to keep the install size down. 7.1 Desktop Theme 1. The Shimmer project Greybird GTK theme depends on the murrine GTK2 engine: a. Install gtk2-engines-murrine murrine-themes = 7533KB b. XFCE menu - Settings - Settings Manager... c. Appearance: i. Style = Greybird ii. Icons = elementary-xubuntu-dark iii. Font = Droid Sans, 10 Enable anti-aliasing Hinting = Slight Sub-pixel order = RGB d. Notifications: i. Theme = Greybird ii. Opacity = 84%
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 10 Of 31 e. Window settings i. Style = Greybird ii. Font = Droid Sans, 9, bold f. Window Manager Tweaks i. Enable compositor g. Desktop i. Background image = xfce-blue (we'll download the exact Xubuntu 14.04 wallpaper later) ii. Icon size = 48 iii. Custom font size = 10 h. Workspaces = 2 i. Power Manager: i. Click on Run if prompted ii. An icon will appear in the notification area j. Panel: i. Display tab: 1. Row size = 24 ii. Appearance tab: 1. Alpha = 80 (use system style) iii. Items tab (add/remove until you have these icons): 1. Whisker Menu 2. Windows buttons (no handle) 3. Separator (transparent/expand) 4. Notification area (no frame) (icon size =20) 5. Audio Mixer 6. Separator (transparent) 7. Clock (no frame) (custom format = %d %b, %H:%M) iv. Remove panel 2 k. The cursor theme is from the DMZ Cursor set: i. Install dmz-cursor-theme = 3500KB ii. Whisker Menu - All Settings Icon - Mouse and Touchpad 1. Theme = DMZ (White) iii. You'll need to log off to see the changes.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 11 Of 31 You are probably thinking that this doesn't look very much like Xubuntu! For a start the folder icons are brown and not blue. This is because the default Greybird theme that ships with Debian is out of date. You will need to grab it off the Shimmer Project website: 1. Open a terminal 2. su <enter root password> 3. cd Downloads 4. wget https://github.com/shimmerproject/Greybird/archive/master.zip 5. unzip master.zip 6. mv Greybird-master /usr/share/themes 7. rm master.zip 8. Now go back to XFCE Settings Manager and change the above styles to "Greybird-master" (Appearance, Window Manager and Notifications) Now get the icon set: 1. wget https://github.com/shimmerproject/elementary-xfce/archive/master.zip 2. unzip master.zip 3. cd elementary-xfce-master 4. mv * /usr/share/icons 5. rm /home/user/Downloads/master.zip 6. Now go back and change the icon theme to "elementary Xfce darker" And the wallpaper: 1. wget http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/xubuntu-trusty.jpg 2. mv xubuntu-trusty.jpg /usr/share/xfce4/backdrops/ 3. Now change the wallpaper accordingly 4. If you want the wallpapers from the Xubuntu theme competition go to this website (after installing a web browser and download the ones you want): https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Xubuntu/Roadmap/Specifications/Trusty/CommunityWallpapers/Winn ers The Whisker Menu icon on Xubuntu is slightly darker than the default to tie in with the theme better: 1. Right-click on the Whisker Menu icon 2. Select properties 3. Click on the icon to change it 4. Change the category to all icons and type dist in the search box 5. Click on the distributor-logo icon to select it.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 12 Of 31 Here's the final look:
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 13 Of 31 Chapter 3 If you’ve followed parts 1 and 2 in this series then you will have a fairly bare XFCE system that looks great - just like Xubuntu 14.04 in fact. To complete the look, we need to also theme our log-in/session manager which is lightdm and get ourselves a bootsplash. This requires getting our hand a bit dirtier with editing some config files. There's no programming needed though, so it's not too difficult. 7.2. Light Display Manager (lighdm) Lightdm is incredibly versatile, but being light, has almost no graphical configuration tools and only a few command line tools. The best way to get it themed is to edit the config files which on Debian are found at: /etc/lightdm = the actual theme/greeter config files /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/ = system provided session settings We only need to make a few rudimentary changes to the theme to get it to look like Xubuntu's log in screen: 1. Log in as root or open Thunar with root privileges. 2. Browse to /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d and open the file 01_Debian.conf a. You will now see why you don't get the username displayed by default in Debian due to this line: greeter-hide-users=true b. And this line tells us what the default greeter is: greeter-session=lightdm-greeter 3. We set our own configurations in /etc/lightdm and /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d a. Create the above directory /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d as it doesn't currently exist b. Using Thunar, right-click in the new, empty directory and select Create Document - Empty File c. Type in the filename 01_My.conf and then open it for editing
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 14 Of 31 d. Type in the following lines: [SeatDefaults] greeter-session=lightdm-gtk-greeter greeter-hide-users=false session-wrapper=/etc/X11/Xsession e. Save the file and reboot to see the changes or carry on to the next bit... 4. If you have rebooted, you will see that although you have a drop-down menu to choose the user from the theme hasn't changed. We need to edit the actual greeter config file next: a. Make a copy of /etc/lightdm/lightdm-gtk-greeter and rename the copy lightdm-gtk- greeter.bak (so you can restore it if anything goes wrong) b. Edit the file lightdm-gtk-greeter and make these alterations: [greeter] background=/usr/share/xfce4/backdrops/xubuntu-trusty.jpg theme-name=Greybird-master icon-theme-name=elementary-xfce-darker font-name=Droid sans 10 xft-antialias=true xft-dpi=96 xft-hintstyle=slight xft-rgba=rgb show-indicators=~session;~language;~a11y;~power show-clock=true clock-format=%d %b, %H:%M keyboard=onboard #position= screensaver-timeout=60 5. Reboot and you should get the default Xubuntu themed login screen. In Xubuntu, the user's desktop wallpaper is automatically shown on the lightdm login screen, overriding the one specified in the config file. This is because Xubuntu have patched xfdesktop, something which is out of the scope of this how-to: https://bugs.launchpad.net/lightdm-gtk-greeter/+bug/1272426 7.3 Light-Locker One of the things that lighdm can do for you is to handle switching users (by way of the dm-tool). The default position on Debian is to use Xscreensaver for locking the screen and gdm-flexiserver for switching users (just try to install the xfswitch plugin and you'll be amazed at the size of the install ~ 500MB). To get around this, lightdm prefers the use of light-locker. Rather than a screensaver as such, light-locker is simple and light screen-locking utility. It will lock a user's session when switching user to provide added security. It is the default in Xubuntu 14.04. As ever conservative, you won't find light-locker in the Jessie repos or even in Sid. To get it you will need to enable the experimental repository, install it and then disable the repo. It might sound scary, but it is quite safe!
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 15 Of 31 1. Either using Synpatic or manually with a text editor enable the Debian experimental repository: a. http://ftp.debian.org/debian experimental main b. Reload repository information c. Install light-locker = 370KB d. Disable the repo e. Reload again f. Remove xscreensaver xscreensaver-data = frees 3370KB 2. Edit the file /usr/bin/xflock4 as root. This file controls screen locking in XFCE. You just need to add the command to use light-locker to lock the screen in case xscreensaver or gnome- screensaver are not available: # Lock by xscreensaver, gnome-screensaver or light-locker, if a respective daemon is running for lock_cmd in "xscreensaver-command -lock" "gnome-screensaver-command --lock" <---- add this final forward slash "light-locker-command -l" <---- add this command do $lock_cmd >/dev/null 2>&1 && exit done 3. Finally, configure the Whisker Menu so that the icons for locking and user switching actually work: a. Right-click on the Whisker Menu and choose Properties b. Click on the Behavior tab c. Lock command = light-locker-command -l d. Switch user command = dm-tool switch-to-greeter (This is a command-line tool provided by lightdm. See dm-tool --help for more options) 7.4 Plymouth Plymouth is the bootsplash application. Personally, I wouldn't bother using a bootsplash - boot times with a modern Linux are so quick now, you'd hardly have chance to see it. Plymouth can be a fiddly beast to get working as well, however, in the interests of completeness, here is a quick how to: 1. Install Plymouth using apt or Synaptic: a. plymouth plymouth-drm plymouth-themes plymouth-x11 = 1,422KB 2. Grab a copy of my modified Xubuntu theme: a. wget https://github.com/RichJack/Xubuntu/raw/master/debian-logo.tar = 737KB b. tar -xf debian-logo.tar c. mv debian-logo /usr/share/plymouth/themes d. rm debian-logo.tar 3. This is identical to the Xubuntu theme, but without the Xubuntu logo 4. Read this site before you begin: https://wiki.debian.org/plymouth Make any alterations as required by the above link to /etc/initramfs-tools/modules 5. Edit etcdefaultgrub as described 6. Run update-grub2 in a root terminal 7. Run plymouth-set-default-theme --list and check debian-logo is one of the options 8. Run plymouth-set-default-theme debian-logo 9. update-initramfs -u
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 16 Of 31 10. Reboot and test the theme works! 11. If it doesn't work, or you just see the white-blue progress bar, try this (definitely follow this if you are using VirtualBox) (Taken from https://lists.debian.org/debian- user/2012/01/msg02060.html): a. apt-get install v86d b. modprobe uvesafb c. cat /sys/bus/platform/drivers/uvesafb/uvesafb.0/vbe_modes | sort d. Pick a mode from the output and add to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT in /etc/default/grub eg:- nomodeset video=uvesafb:mode_option=1024x768-32,mtrr=3,scroll=ywrap e. Then add the same resolution to GRUB_GFXMODE f. Edit /etc/initramfs-tools/modules to reflect your *chosen* resolution. eg.:- echo "uvesafb mode_option=1024x768-32 mtrr=3 scroll=ywrap" >> /etc/initramfs- tools/modules g. Then apply those changes:- echo FRAMEBUFFER=y > /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/splash update-initramfs -u update-grub2 12. Alternatively try the Joy theme for Debian branded boot up. This site has an excellent tutorial on creating your own Plymouth themes. http://brej.org/blog/?p=158 Now you havecompletely themed your installation of Debian to look just like Xubuntu 14.04. For the penultimate tutorial, I will discuss applications, sizes and which ones you can do without.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 17 Of 31 Chapter 4 If you have followed parts 1-3, you will have an almost duplicate of Xubuntu 14.04, at least in terms of appearance, but your operating system will be sorely lacking graphical applications. So far I have mostly stuck to using the command line for downloading packages from the repositories via apt and elsewhere on the Net via wget, but it is probably time to get a web browser! 8. Applications 8.1 Web Browser The default browser in Xubuntu is Mozilla Firefox. For reasons I won't go too much into here (but you can read about here), Debian repackages and rebrands Firefox as Iceweasel. I can't say that I have ever spent much time with Iceweasel, but from what I understand it is 99% the same as Firefox, though some users have complained about compatibility with add-ons in Iceweasel. To make matters more confusing, the version of Iceweasel you get depends on the repository you are using. As of writing, the current release of Mozilla Firefox is 30.0. The versions of Iceweasel available are:  Wheezy/stable = 24.6  Jessie/testing = 29.0.1  Sid/unstable = 30.0 So, if you are happy to install Iceweasel then go ahead and install via apt from whichever repository you are comfortable with. The current version in Jessie will take up approx 61.5 MB of hard disk space. Here are some alternative browsers and their relative sizes:  Mozilla Firefox = 78.9MB  Chromium = 151MB  Google Chrome (via Google's debian repository) = 183MB  Opera (via Opera's debian repository) = 68.1MB  Arora = 75.8MB  Dillo = 2,755KB  Epiphany = 206MB  Midori = 63.7MB  Qupzilla = 86.7MB So as far as disk space is concerned, unless go for the ultra-light weight Dillo, IceWeasel or Firefox are pretty competitive.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 18 Of 31 8.1.1 Installing Firefox on Debian In any case, you just might prefer the real thing, so to install Firefox on Debian, follow these instructions. 1. Open a terminal and CD to your Download directory 2. Since you don't have a web browser it isn't trivial to check the current version, but we can attempt to download the latest using wget: wget -r -l1 --no-parent -A.tar.bz2 https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/latest/linux-i686/en-US 3. Of course you can alter en-US for your country's UTF code eg en-GB. 4. This will create a nested directory starting with ftp.mozilla.org but at the end you will have the downloaded tarball. 5. You can use Thunar to extract it or the command line: cd ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/releases/latest/linux-i686/en-US/ dir (to find full file name) tar xjf firefox-[version].tar.bz2 = 78.9MB 6. Now as root move it to the /opt directory (the directory reserved for packages installed outside the distributions repositories): mv firefox /opt/firefox 7. You can now safely delete the nested directory and tarball: cd ~/Downloads rm -r -d ftp.mozilla.org 8. Set up shortcuts: a. Create a symbolic link in /usr/bin so that it can be found by the system: ln -s /opt/firefox/firefox /usr/bin/firefox b. Test the link by typing firefox in the terminal and see if it launches. c. Create a .desktop file (launcher) so that it will be appear in the Whisker Menu. Use Mousepad or Nano as root: [Desktop Entry] Type=Application Name=Firefox Web Browser Comment=Browse the World Wide Web GenericName=Web Browser Exec=/opt/firefox/firefox Path=/opt/firefox Icon=/opt/firefox/browser/icons/mozicon128.png Terminal=false StartupNotify=true Categories=GNOME;GTK;Network;WebBrowser; d. Save it in /usr/share/applications as firefox.desktop e. It should magically appear in your Whisker Menu now under the Internet category.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 19 Of 31 8.2 Other Applications I listed in part 2 the default applications in Xubuntu. Now you are in control of what you install, you can leave ones out that you don't need, or replace others with lighter-weight varieties or your personal favorites. The table below lists initially the default application in Xubuntu and then alternatives. The entries in bold are the applications that I have installed on my test system and sizes given are approximate based on the order of installation which is alphabetically. Remember many Gnome apps and KDE apps also install the back-end desktop environment libraries and so require a larger download and take up more desk space. However, once installed, other similar apps may share libraries and the downloads may be smaller: APPLICATION XUBUNTU DEFAULT ALTERNATIVES Word Processor abiword = 81.1MB Ted = (+Libtff4 = 2520KB) = 10,021KB https://github.com/RichJack/Xubuntu Focuswriter = 35.4MB Gwrite = 54.5MB LibreOffice Writer = 367MB Calligra Words = 407MB WriteType = 130MB GoogleDocs = 0MB! Bluetooth GUI blueman = 46.6MB Graphical File Search catfish = 2,583KB gnome-search-tool = 3,695KB recoll = 60.7MB searchmonkey = 511KB Keyboard Character Map charactermap = gucharmap = 109MB (less if installed with Abiword) charmap.app = 47.5MB PDF Viewer evince = 19.8MB evince-gtk = 17.2MB epdfview = install from wheezy = 617kb xpdf = 4079KB File archiver (zip/tar) file-roller = 219MB xarchiver is already installed and integrated into Thunar with thunar-acrhive-plugin Fonts fonts-liberation = 2178KB Other fonts can be installed as req including: ttf-mscorefonts-installer = ? fonts-dejavu-extra = 6,701KB fonts-opensymbol = 665KB Adobe Flash Player Flashplayer-mozilla = 3924KB Install from http://www.deb- multimedia.org Gnash = 90.7MB (includes gstreamer plugins) Google Chrome (flash built-in) Games games - gnome-mines (109MB), gnome-sudoku (113MB) Many of the gnome applications share dependencies. So if you install abiword and gucharmap, then these will be minute additions. GUI for raising user gksu = 24.8MB
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 20 Of 31 APPLICATION XUBUNTU DEFAULT ALTERNATIVES privileges sudo = 2,608KB Partition Editor gparted = 13.6MB Painting Application gimp = 101MB gnome-paint = 421KB mtpaint = 1766KB Krita = 466MB imagemagick = 19.8MB GUI for connecting to remote filesystems gigolo = 1071KB nautilus = 161MB Music player gmusicbrowser = 4466KB Audacious = 18.5MB VLC = 124MB rhythmbox = 192MB banshee = 231MB clementine = 81.6MB exaile = 54.3MB lxmusic = 2374KB xmms2 = 1752KB Amarok = 410MB Calculator gnome-calculator = 111MB galculator = 1397KB Audio/video plugins gstreamer0.10-plugins-good, gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio = 9,428KB libdvdnav4 = 379KB Non-free plugins: gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad, plugins-ugly = 78.1MB libdvdcss2 (from http://download.videolan.org/debian/stable/) = 87KB gnome-codec-install = 45.3MB Indicator applets indicator-application, indicator- sound = N/A Use notification-panel-plugin and volume-mixer-plugin for XFCE. Libindicate? GUI for changing system language language-selector-gnome (from gnome-control-center) = 402MB dpkg-reconfigure locales Keyboard layout already included in XFCE Settings. Screensaver GUI light-locker-settings = N/A in Debian Grab it from Ubuntu = 779KB XFCE Power Manager Bug reporting lintian = 14.9MB Applications menu GUI editor menulibre = 2,757KB alacarte = 327KB Personal Information settings GUI mugshot = 5,469KB Network Manager System tray applet network-manager-gnome = 395MB Wicd = 1,878KB Onscreen Keyboard onboard = N/A in Debian Grab it from Ubuntu: requires virtkey and onboard. = 4,598KB (optional: onboard-data) florence = 1711KB (Use florence --no-gnome --focus in lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf)
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 21 Of 31 APPLICATION XUBUNTU DEFAULT ALTERNATIVES Media Player parole = 1151KB Mplayer2 = 39.9MB VLC = 124MB XBMC = 120MB Xine = 46.4MB Totem = 275MB Instant Messaging pidgin = 118MB emesene = 74.7MB empathy = 360MB Printer Support xfprint4 - N/A in Jessie repos. Can be installed from Wheezy = 8,121KB System-config-printer = 38MB Image/photo viewer ristretto = 1280KB gthumb = 192MB shotwell = 74.5 MB digikam = 603MB eom (eye of mate) = 24.3MB geeqie = 89.4MB Network utilities samba = 24.9MB Gadmin-samba = 25.8MB Screenshot xfce4-screenshooter = 3043KB Configure custom keyboard actions: xfce4-screenshooter --fullscreen = Print xfce4-screenshooter --window = SysRq gnome-screenshot =1532MB scrot = 940KB Scanning simple-scan = 1714KB (x)sane (via GIMP) = 83.5MB Software repository management and apt command line tools apt-transport-https, python- software-properties, software- properties-common = 3,168KB software-properties-gtk = 18.9MB System sounds sound-theme-freedesktop = 554KB Spreadsheet gnumeric = 167MB LibreOffice Calc = 238MB Google sheets = 0MB! Email client Thunderbird = N/A download from Mozilla (IceDove) = 57.7MB Sylpheed = 13.4MB Claws-mail = 19.9MB Webmail = 0 Evolution = 214 MB Bittorrent transmission = 5204KB bittorrent-gui = 32.1MB bitstormlite = 229KB Software Center Ubuntu Software Center = N/A Synaptic – 18.7MB gdebi = 2869KB (useful for manual installations of .deb packages)
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 22 Of 31 APPLICATION XUBUNTU DEFAULT ALTERNATIVES Software update notifications update-manager = N/A gnome-package-kit = 133MB update manually Users and groups GUI users and groups (gnome-system- tools) = 344 MB Use CLI Disc Burning xfburn = 2628KB Brasero = 119MB k3b = 332MB IRC xchat = 7749KB xchat-gnome = 15.6MB XFCE Additional Plugins thunar-media-tags-plugin = 629KB xfce4-goodies = 20.9MB xfce4-dict = 1114KB xfce4-notes + plugin = 2394KB xfswitch. If install from Debian it will be 505MB and install most of gnome-shell! No point as in Debian it isn’t configured for light-locker create a new panel launcher and point it to dm-tool switch-to- greeter. xfce4-task-manager = 808KB 9. Final Tweaks One of the nice things about Xubuntu is that a lot of the system configuration applications show up in the XFCE Settings Manager. You can do this too by editing as root the .desktop files (found at /usr/share/applications) for the relevant applications and adding the following: X-XfceSettingsManagerHidden=true Categories=XFCE;GTK;Settings;DesktopSettings;X-XFCE-SettingsDialog;X-XFCE-[and then one of the following additional categories] PersonalSettings | HardwareSettings | SystemSettings If you don't add one of the final settings categories then the application will be listed under 'other' in the XFCE Settings Manager. Here are my recommendations:  About Me (mugshot) - PersonalSettings  Audio Mixer - HardwareSettings  Bluetooth Manager - HardwareSettings  FlashPlayer - Other (no settings)  GADMIN-SAMBA - SystemSettings  GParted - HardwareSettings  Light-Locker Settings - PersonalSettings  Menu Editor - PersonalSettings  Onboard Settings - SystemSettings  Print Settings - Hardware Settings  Settings Editor - SystemSettings  Synaptic - SystemSettings  Wicd – HardwareSettings
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 23 Of 31 To prevent an icon from appearing altogether from the menu add: NotShowIn=XFCE For example, you might want to hide UXTerm and Xterm to leave just the XFCE Terminal visible. Use the Preferred Applications tool to set the web browser and email client. Finally, add your favourite applications in the Whisker Menu eg:  Web browser  Mail reader  File Manager  Word Processor  Spreadsheet program  IM Client  Music/Media Player  Software Center/Synaptic  Terminal Emulator  Help (create a launcher and point to https://wiki.debian.org/
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 24 Of 31 TOTAL HARD DISK USAGE = 2.6GB RAM USAGE AT XFCE DESKTOP WITH XFCE TERMINAL OPEN = 170MB* --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TOTAL HARD DISK USAGE IN XUBUNTU (all updates applied/old kernels removed) = 2.9GB RAM USAGE IN XUBUNTU WITH XFCE TERMINAL OPEN = 205MB* *after a clean reboot.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 25 Of 31 Chapter 5 If you have followed the previous 4 parts to this tutorial then well done! You should have a nice Xubuntu themed, XFCE installation on a Debian Testing (Jessie) base. Having gone to all this effort, you might want to now:  Backup your system in case something goes wrong  share your system with friends/family  make additional installations on different hardware. I am going to provide some instructions on doing all of these things using some simple tools provided by the Refracta distribution that are licensed for use through the GPL. 10. Prepare your system 10.1 Set up the Skeleton directory The Skeleton directory is found at /etc/skel and contains the files and directories that are copied into a new user's home directory when that new user account is created. It is the equivalent of the Windows default user account. This is where you need to place any config files that determine the configuration of a user's session including:  Desktop icons  Desktop environment configuration eg panel, desktop, window theme  Application menu layout  Bash and terminal settings  Application specific customization In our Xubuntu themed example, we want to make sure each new user account will look identical to the one that we have worked so hard to set up. Here's how: 1. Clear all recent applications from the Whisker menu 2. Log in as root 3. Open Thunar and browse to your home folder 4. Enable hidden files in Thunar from the view menu 5. Copy these directories into the existing /etc/skel directory: a. Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Public, Templates, Video b. Make sure the above directories are empty c. Now create these hidden directories: i. /etc/skel/.config ii. /etc/skel/.local iii. /etc/skel/.local/share d. And finally copy these directories into the hidden ones you've just created above: i. ~/.config/menus ii. ~/.config/xfce4 iii. ~/.config/Thunar iv. ~/.config/users-dirs.dirs v. ~/.local/share/applications vi. ~/.local/share/mime
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 26 Of 31 e. You can delete /etc/skel/.config/xfce4/xconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/ i. Ristretto.xml ii. Thunar.xml iii. Xfce4-appfinder.xml iv. Xfce4-mixer.xml v. Xfprint.xml These directories contain the config files relating to the configurations you have made to XFCE to theme it like Xubuntu without containing any personal data. 10.2 Test the Skeleton and create a live session user account 1. To test the Skeleton directory is correctly set up, simply create a new user account. As you will be creating a live ISO image of your installation later, you might as well make this the live user account, so use a simple username like "user" or "live" with an identical password. 2. Still logged in as root, open a terminal and type adduser followed by the username you want to create eg: adduser user Adding user `user' ... Adding new group `user' (1002) ... Adding new user `user' (1001) with group `user' ... Creating home directory `/home/user' ... Copying files from `/etc/skel' ... Enter new UNIX password: Retype new UNIX password: passwd: password updated successfully Changing the user information for test Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default Full Name []: Live Session User Room Number []: Work Phone []: Home Phone []: Other []: Is the information correct? [Y/n] y 3. Make sure your root password is now straightforward as well eg change it to root passwd root Changing password for root (current) UNIX password: Enter new UNIX password: Retype new UNIX password: passwd: password updated successfully 4. Log out and log in with your new user account and check that your theme has 'held'. In particular check the Whisker menu, check the file manager displays the home directory correctly. Check the icon and Window themes etc... 5. You might also want to copy the skel files into the root account so that the root desktop has the same appearance. Some distros prefer to keep the root account theme different - it's up to you.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 27 Of 31 10.3 Download imaging tools from Refracta 1. Before you attempt to install the imaging tools, you will need to install some dependencies. If you want to try the latest testing branch of the tools, then you will need to enable the sid repository and install the following packages first: liblzo2-2 libiso isolinux squashfs-tools Syslinux Syslinux-common Syslinux-utils Squashfs-tools 2. Install Yad for the GUI element of these tools to work: https://github.com/RichJack/Xubuntu/raw/master/yad_0.26.1-1~webupd8~trusty1_i386.deb 3. Then download the tools from here: http://distro.ibiblio.org/refracta/files/Testing/ refractainstaller-base_9.1.0_all.deb refractainstaller-gui_9.1.0_all.deb refractasnapshot-base_9.1.2_all.deb refractasnapshot-gui_9.1.2_all.deb refracta2usb-0.9.6.deb (optional) 4. Install the tools using gdebi or dpkg. 5. Change the splash image at /usr/lib/refractasnapshot/iso/isolinux to the Xubuntu wallpaper (Copy this 640x480 png image):
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 28 Of 31 10.4 Clean your system 1. Log back out and back in as root. Delete your original user account (after backing up any information you think you need). In a terminal: deluser <yourusername> 2. Delete all files/directories that you don't want in the live system: a. Deleted user's home directories (if still there) b. Remove old log files: rm /var/log/*.gz rm /var/log/*.old rm /var/log/*/*.gz c. Purge un-needed packages with apt-get autoremove d. Check in Synaptic under, Status/Residual Config and remove any packages there that you know you won't need. e. Install bleachbit and run it under the user and then root account. 3. Remove any packages that you don't think a conventional user would need eg: bleachbit, gdebi... 4. If you have created this in VirtualBox, you may now wish to remove the VirtualBox guest additions as they are not licensed under the GPL. 5. If you are thinking of distributing your ISO internationally, then you might want to consider removing non-free software, drivers or codecs that are not freely distributable eg libdvdcss2, Adobe Flash Player... 6. Remember, real hardware might require real drivers eg Wifi, video drivers. If these aren't installed on your system before you take the snapshot, they won't be available on the live image. 7. You will probably want to have Gparted installed so that the live system has a graphical way of partitioning disks before installation. 8. Finally, remove your apt history with: rm -rf /var/log/apt/history.log /var/log/dpkg.log and your bash history with: rm –rf ~/.bash_history
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 29 Of 31 11. Create a Live CD ISO This bit is simple. All you need is about twice the hard disk space available as you have used space (in this instance 5GB of free space would be enough): 1. Log in as root. 2. Select Refracta Snapshot from the Applications Menu. 3. Accept the defaults, type in your ‘distro’ name and let it run. 4. The ISO will be created at /home/Snapshots and will have a filename based on the date/time (you can easily change this). 5. I took a test snapshot of my Xubuntu/Debian installation and it was roughly 650MB in size, so just fits nicely on a CD and took about 30 minutes to generate. 6. If you created it in VirtualBox, use shared folders to transfer it back to the host system, otherwise you can burn it straight to CD from your system or transfer it out using USB. 7. You can then test the Snapshot in VirtualBox or on real hardware. You'll lose the boot splash as the live CD uses Syslinux to boot rather than Plymouth, but everything else should be as you configured it. 8. The Live CD can be installed using the Refracta Installer or transferred to a USB using the Refracta2USB application orUNetbootin on Linux or Windows. 9. As of current writing, the testing version of the Refracta installer doesn’t correctly alter the user and root passwords, so after installation, you might find the passwords are still as they were.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 30 Of 31 About the Author I started my blog (http://linuxthemer.blogspot.com/) as a way of sharing some of the modifications I have made to my Linux setups in the hope of inspiring others and also learning from others and gaining a better understanding of 'themes' and good UI design. I have been using Linux for over 10 years. My first forays were with a Knoppix live CD which I used to rescue my files from an XP desktop after the motherboard failed. I dabled with the early variants of Ubuntu, SUSE, SLAX and Mandriva before settling on PCLinuxOS 0.93a which saved my from Windows XP and finally converted me to Linux. In the early, eager days, I dived head-first into it and had a few attempts at rolling my own distro respins/remasters which were mildly successful, but after an initial release I found each time that the expectations for improvement were such that it was taking me away from my family commitments and they sadly went into the increasingly large pile of Linux Distros that never made it. (For completeness they were PCFluxboxOS and ChameleonOS, the latter of which I was very proud indeed and at least one distro I know of has copied my attempt to allow one-click changing of the complete desktop theme). Work took me back to Windows in the form of Windows 7 and 8 which is now my bread and butter, but I have recently re-discovered my love of Linux but how things have changed since. When I last seriously used Linux, the community was in uproar about the state of KDE 4. Now KDE 4 is considered quite stable and elegant and the current furore surrounds Unity/Mir, Gnome 3/GTK 3. I suppose what goes around comes around and although I have tried and like aspects of all the modern desktop environments, I find myself more comfortable at least for now with what I know and love - GTK2. My early experiments were with Fluxbox, Openbox and LXDE, but I do like what XFCE have done (albeit slowly and surely) over the years and my current distro of choice is Xubuntu. Rather than get carried away and have a third attempt a respinning a distro, I just thought I would share my experiments on this blog so anyone can try them on any system as long as you are running the desktop environment that the instructions are written for. I have always been fascinated with UI design and I love trying to mimic other OS designs within Linux. My first attempt was to try to recreate the ChromeOS/Chromebook look which is interesting on a number of levels. The UI is clean and elegant, the taskbars are minimal and transparent and everything is of course geared around the Google Chrome browser which gets better all the time. I have often toyed with the idea of getting a Chromebook, but I find it hard to justify as the storage is very limited and you are completely reliant on Google or Chrome applications. So I thought it would be an interesting experiment to recreate the experience in Xubuntu where I can try and work as if I am on a Chromebook, all the while having the bonus of the Ubuntu software center as a backup and as much HDD space as I desire.
    • Xubuntu with a *pure* Debian Base (from scratch) Page 31 Of 31 This is my second project for the blog and makes a move sideways from an Ubuntu base to a spure Debian base, whilst attempting to recreate the look and feel of the more polished Xubuntu. I hope some other people have a go on their own boxes and share their thoughts with me. Richjack This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.