[HowTo] Create an OEM install using Gnome

Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆

After downloading and playing with the 20.02 version of Gnome, I noticed that the installation routine is now an OEM install, with the users created after the basic install. as I rebuild old computers with Linux and give them away (when I can).

The only problem with this installation is it may not have the software you want on machines you are building.

See below for a series of instructions on how to use this to create a machine with the software you want installed, and have it ready to give out.

  • To prepare a workstation for an OEM install, and have all the software you want installed, including AUR ones, and still have the user be able to setup their own users on the machine, first install a complete base system and install all the software you want your OEM install to have (including yay)

  • Go to a terminal and type the following to install fakeroot and yay

    pamac install base-devel yay
  • Now make a list of your installed software into the file pkglist.txt:

    yay -Qqe > pkglist.txt

  • Copy this file to a network location or a USB stick

  • On the machine you want as an OEM install, install the operating system but do nod restart at the end.

  • Mount the installed system by going to shell as root and type:

    mount -t auto -v /dev/XdYN /mnt

    (where XdYn is your boot drive; E.G. sda1)

  • Change the default root password on the boot drive:

    sudo -s
  • Reboot and load the computer system, but do not go through the user setup process. When it shows the user setup routine, type Ctrl+AltCtrl+Alt+F2 to get to a terminal

  • Login as the root user

  • Type the following to update Manjaro:

    pacman-mirrors --fasttrack
    pamac upgrade
  • Create a new user to be able to run yay without having to be root:

    useradd installuser
    passwd installuser
  • Add installuser to the wheel group:

    usermod --append --groups wheel installuser
  • Now insert the USB stick / mount the NAD drive that has your pkglist.txt file,
    You might have to mount these manually, check by executing:

    parted --list

    To find the device for your USB stick / NAS drive and then mount it with:

    mount -t auto -v /dev/XdYn /mnt

    (where XdYn is your USB stick / NAS drive)

  • Switch to installuser:

    su installuser
  • Run the installer to install all packages from your list

    yay -S --needed - < /mnt/pkglist.txt

  • After all software is installed, you need to remove installuser. Type exit to switch back to root and then type

    userdel installuser
  • Now you can reboot, and you have an OEM install, or if you are doing multiple machines, you can use CloneZilla or another imaging program to image this setup for use with other computers.
    This has all the software you want the user of the computer to have and yet does not have any users created, so it will create them for you on startup.

Note 1: These instructions worked for me, Please feed back below if you would run into any issues.
Note 2: This has been verified with the Gnome installer v.20.02 only.

1 Like