posted on June 11, 2011 by Danny StiebenLinux is very flexible, and you can do so many things with it. One of its advantages is that it can run on virtually any hardware. Linux is also extremely modular, so parts can be added and removed as you please. In fact, it is this ability that makes Linux a great pick for many users, no matter what environment. It is also this principle of modularity that allows SUSE Studio to exist.
AboutSUSE Studio is a website that takes the base of the latest versions of openSUSE or SUSE Enterprise (you can choose), and lets you customize a number of different aspects of your distro. It’s a very easy process. Just go through the screens, clicking on whatever you would like to add, change, or remove. There are actually a handful of things you can do that you might not have expected from a web service. When you finish with all the configuration, the service will build your very own custom ISO of openSUSE/SUSE Enterprise with all the settings that you chose.
Getting StartedTo start off, you’ll need to sign in or create an account. You can also sign in using a different service (like Google), and it will automatically create an account on their server for you. These accounts are important because you’ll receive 4GB of free storage to be used for this service.
StepsThe next step is to choose what version of SUSE you would like to base your Linux installation disk off of. Currently the options are openSUSE 11.4, SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 SP1, and SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 SP4. If you do not have a specific need for either of the Enterprise versions, I suggest you select the openSUSE option.
In no time at all, you’ll be able to start customizing your distribution. First off is the software selection page, where you can choose to include certain software packages with your ISO so that you do not have to download and install it later.
This is a handy feature to customize your experience right from the start. Simply search for the packages you want and add them. You can also add additional repositories if you so desire or upload your own RPM files to include.
The Configuration tab lets you tweak a large amount of system settings such as locale, time zone, network settings, firewall settings, and users. You can also choose different appearances and logos from the Personalize section, change the default run level and add EULAs in the Startup section, and edit other server, desktop, and virtual machine related settings.
In the Files category, you can add any overlay files that you wish. These are applied after all packages are installed.
Finish With a BuildYou can now build your “appliance” in the Build category and download when it is finished. Then simply burn the ISO onto a CD/DVD, USB stick, or try it out in a virtual machine. You can do whatever you want with that ISO file as you can with a more generic one.
ConclusionSUSE Studio is an amazing tool for those who want to build custom ISOs for their own unique needs. I’ve heard a handful of people use this for everything from server setups to media centers and beyond. Only your imagination can come up with the perfect combination of packages and settings to make your Linux experience one of the best.
Do you think SUSE Studio is a great idea? Will you maybe try it out for your own needs or just to get a better experience with Linux? What else would you use it for? Let us know in the comments!