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Hey all,

I believe this list (and probably the forums) would be the best place
to announce one of my little projects, namely the building of custom
FreeBSD install discs (DVD sized for desktops, CD sized for servers)
with the latest release and  updated packages.

I have been experimenting lately with 'make release' and ports'
building using ports-mgmt/tinderbox. I am using a dedicated system for
building the base system and packages. The purpose of this experiment
(besides the educational value of it) is to allow me to build FreeBSD
discs with custom and up to date packages. These will in turn reduce
significantly the amount of time required to install new systems (esp.
desktops which need hundred of packages).

Glen Barber, who is also frequenting this list, has once again offered
(as with the openoffice packages) lots of his webspace and bandwidth,
allowing me to host the images so others can also benefit from this
work. At this time, the first  image is already uploaded and you can
obtain it from this directory:

http://freebsd.dev-urandom.com/iso/i386/xfce-desktop/

This is just short of 1GB and contains the following:

- - FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE base system (standard bootable / installable disc)
- - Selection of custom packages that can be installed either during
installation via sysinstall or at a later time (again using sysinstall
or pkg_add etc).

Here is a short list of packages contained in this: abiword, aspell,
bash, bluefish, cdrtools, dvd+rw-tools, firefox3, gimp, gnash, evince,
gnumeric, gnupg1, inkscape, pkg_rmleaves, portaudit, portupgrade, rar,
unrar, zip, unzip, sudo, ristretto, samba3, thunderbird, wbar, xfce4,
some xfce4 plugins, xfburn, xorg, linux_base-fc4

Many other useful packages are also included as dependencies of the
ones listed above. This iso does not contain openoffice (to keep the
size smaller) and multimedia apps (to avoid licensing problems).
Future versions of the builds may have broader / different selection
of packages, depending on the feedback received by the community.

Installation is no different than an official FreeBSD CD, other than
when you reach the package selection screen, you will be shown the
custom set of packages. The ports tree included in the CD is the one
used to actually build the packages. I will soon upload a tarball with
the options used - not all packages where built with the default options.

When you finish downloading, I recommend checking the integrity of the
file using the MD5 or SHA256 file that are also present in the
download directory. An 'asc' gpg signature file is also present and
can be used to verify the authenticity of the download. This is
particularly important if you obtain the iso file from means other
than the download link supplied here. It is signed with the same key
as this email.

Obviously I can built many different images (only 32bit for the moment
though), like i.e. a GNOME or KDE4 version. I started up with XFCE
since this is not provided by default in the official isos.  I also
intend to track the FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE security branch for the base
system.

Feedback, ideas, requests, criticism are all welcome. Please contact
me via email.

Thanks!
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