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Creating a Custom Oracle® Solaris 11.3 Installation Image

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Updated: December 2017

About the Distribution Constructor

The distribution constructor (DC) is a command-line tool for building preconfigured Oracle Solaris images. The tool takes an XML manifest file as input and builds an image that is based on the parameters specified in the manifest file.

The distribution constructor can build an ISO image, also known as a disc image, which is an archive file of an optical disc in a format defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). You can also create a USB image based on a generated ISO image.

The distribution constructor creates a USB image that works in various types of flash memory devices that have driver support provided by the Oracle Solaris operating system. You must use the usbcopy command to copy the USB image into a USB flash drive. The usbcopy command is available in the distribution-constructor package.

    Note the following:

  • Depending on the image configuration, ISO or USB images can be bootable.

  • You can install ISO images and USB images on a system or run them in a LiveMedia environment.

  • An ISO image can be burned to a CD or DVD.

  • A USB image can be copied to a flash drive.

Oracle Solaris Installation Image Types

    You can use the distribution constructor to create the following types of Oracle Solaris images:

  • Oracle Solaris x86 Live Media – You can create an x86 ISO image that is comparable to the Live Media image distributed with each Oracle Solaris release. You can also customize the content of this ISO image, for example, by adding or removing packages. In addition, you can revise the default settings for the resulting booted environment to create a custom ISO image or USB image.

    For more information about Live Media installations, see Chapter 3, Using Live Media in Installing Oracle Solaris 11.3 Systems. For more information about customizing the image content, see Modifying the Manifest Content.

  • Oracle Solaris x86 or SPARC Text Installation Image – You can create a SPARC or x86 ISO image that you can use to perform a text installation of the Oracle Solaris operating system. You can use the text installer on systems that do not have graphics cards.

    Note -  A text installation does not install all of the software packages that are included when installing from the Live Media image. For example, the text installer does not install a desktop. After a text installation, you can add additional packages, such as the solaris-desktop package.

    For more information about text installations, see Chapter 4, Using the Text Installer in Installing Oracle Solaris 11.3 Systems.

  • x86 or SPARC ISO Image for Automated Installations – The Oracle Solaris operating system includes the automated installer (AI) tools, which automates the installation of the Oracle Solaris OS on one or more systems over a network. The installations can differ in architecture, packages installed, disk capacity, and other parameters. You can use the distribution constructor to create a SPARC AI ISO image that can be used to install the Oracle Solaris OS on SPARC clients or to create an x86 AI ISO image that can be used to install the Oracle Solaris OS on x86 clients.

    For information about using the automated installer, see Installing Oracle Solaris 11.3 Systems.

Image Creation Process

The distribution constructor creates images based on settings specified in XML files, called manifest files. The DC manifest files contain specifications for the contents and parameters of the ISO images that you create using the distribution constructor. The distribution constructor package contains sample manifests that you can use to create a custom x86 Live Media ISO, an x86 or SPARC Automated Install ISO image, or an x86 or SPARC text installation ISO image. See Sample DC Manifest Files.

    All the fields in each DC manifest file provide preset default values that will create the type of image you need. You can edit fields in the manifest file to further customize the resulting image. For example:

  • You can edit the target element in the DC manifest to specify a different location for the build area where the image can be constructed.

  • You can check the specified publisher and ensure that the system you are using can contact that publisher to download the packages needed to build the image.

  • You can edit the software name element to specify a different publisher and repository location.

For instructions, see Modifying the Manifest Content.

You can also create custom scripts to modify your installation image. Then, you can add checkpoints to the DC manifest file to run these custom scripts. For further information, see Creating and Using Custom Scripts When Creating an Installation Image.

The distribution constructor package also includes the distro_const command, that interprets the DC manifest specifications and builds the image. After you have finished editing the image blueprint in a manifest file, you run the distro_const command to build your image. For further information, see Building an Image.

You can use the options provided in the distro_const command to stop and restart the build process at various stages in the image-generation process in order to check and debug the image that is being built. This process of stopping and restarting during the build process is called checkpointing. Checkpointing is optional. Default checkpoints are specified in each DC manifest file.

After you run the distro_const command, you can check the simple log file and or the detailed log file for build information.

For more information, see How to Build an Image in Stages, or see the distro_const(1M) man page.