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I have a question and hope you guys would be able to help me out.

I am going to make an fresh Ubuntu 11.10 installation. While installing, I would create the user "chris". Afterwards I would configure the desktop and install lots of stuff for the user "chris". Some of this stuff would be i.e. RVM (ruby version manager) which will create lots of files in my /home/chris folder. So at the end there would be lots of stuff in my /home/chris folder, incl. files refering to "/home/chris/some_stuff/...", etc.

When all is set and done, I would make an image of the installation using fsarchiver and restore the image to 2 other identical laptops. So far everything works perfect!

The problem is: The 2 other laptops need to have 2 different users: "marco" and "flo". Those 2 users need exactly the installed stuff I have in /home/chris. So their home folder would be /home/marco and /home/flo.

How do I change the user name from "chris" to "marco" after restoring the image to Marco's laptop? My initial user account /home/chris won't make any sense on Marco's laptop, right?

And here comes the most important question: How will I manage to find out all files which contain the string "/home/chris" and change it to "/home/marco"?

Maybe there is a better way of making a default install on a default user, backup the installation and then redistribute it to any other user. Can somebody help me?



share|improve this question
try remastersys & copy your config gile to /etc/skel – Tachyons Mar 14 '12 at 15:16

With the Alternative disk you can do an OEM/Prepare for End User Configuration installation. After installation you can log in as oem and customise away. After running sudo oem-config-prepare, the oem user is nuked and on the next boot the user is asked to set up their user account.

Now you have two options for spreading this to more than one computer:

  • You could go through the (frankly) tedious process of remastering the disk so you create a custom installation disk for the users. I'm not even sure how to remaster the Alternative disk but I'm sure it's possible...

  • Or you could install in OEM mode and get to the point where you've got the system prepped and have run oem-config-prepare, then take an image of the disk with Clonezilla (or other) and zap that image into the rest of your machines. On boot they'll each be asked to set up a user and that's what you're after. It'll probably take up more space but if you have a fast wired network, it shouldn't take too long and it's almost zero-effort for each machine.

If you want to have specific things in the home directory of the new user, you should copy them into /etc/skel during the oem preparation (ie before you run oem-config-prepare). These files will be copied out when the first real user is generated.

This allows you to store settings, special directory setup and things like that. You don't have to copy over the entire contents of /home/oem/ - you can pick and choose.

share|improve this answer
Thanks Oli. Sound interesting! – Chris Mar 14 '12 at 15:31
How do I get the OEM ISO for Ubuntu 11.10 in order to create a CD/DVD? – Chris Mar 14 '12 at 15:32
@Chris it's just the alternative disk. The installer is text-mode but it's mostly all there. Probably safest trying it in a VM before rinsing any real machines if you're not familiar with it. – Oli Mar 14 '12 at 15:34
I think this is the file I was looking for: – Chris Mar 14 '12 at 15:37
And I am familiar both with real machines and VM. Only the task I described in the topic is new to me. :-) – Chris Mar 14 '12 at 15:38

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