Kiwi and Image Creator

For a long time I have been manually editing the ISO installation media in order to provide a custom installer.  Now that things have changed significantly that process has become much more difficult.  Combine that with the simple fact that it changes all the time and you are left with... looking for a new solution.

I have mentioned before that I am quite interested in Suse Studio OnSite for deploying openSUSE in the future.  Essentially, suse studio is a web front end to kiwi.  I don't have my funding yet for my Studio server so I decided to install kiwi locally and see how complicated it really was.

The end result of Kiwi is a hugely flexible repackager for openSUSE and I am quite impressed.  None of this is really new to me but worth mentioning.  That being said, it can be a little overwhelming to figure out at first.  Luckily, there is a GUI tool that you can use - Image Creator.  Image Creator will basically allow you to build your kiwi config files through a wizard interface.  The app is by no means perfect however, and did cause me a lot of initial grief.

First off I used the Virtualized:Appliance repository to install kiwi and Image Creator.  This resulted in Image Creator choking on xml schema validation.  Once I downgraded everything back to the standard repo it all started working again.  Next I went to build the image.  This was a pretty painless task except for the fact that it failed intalling software.  I went into the software package manager and tried to look at the problem. Once there I decided to use patterns to select my base image.  Selecting patterns causes "not found" dependency issues.  The packages were selected but the yast solver was stuck.

In the end my solution to using image creator was build the config, view the software installation summary (this task provided a proper list of installables), and then manually tweak the config file after the fact.

I am really hoping that the Suse Studio OnSite implementation is a lot better than Image Creator but at the end of the day I should be able to accomplish my goal.    Oh wait, Image Creator just failed again! Son of a #@!*

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