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I'm just about to get a new tower server which I'm going to put ubuntu server on.

The problem is the server doesn't have an optical drive. - I could take one out of an old machine I have, but it may be easier to install from a USB disk? (the server has 7 USB ports)...

The other problem is the memory stick I have on me is only 520 MB. So, my problem comes down to cutting the 700 MB or so ubuntu server install down to 520.

Is it possible to create a custom install disk with just the stuff you need?

For example, I only need the following of the major packages

  • Open SSH Server
  • LAMP

I don't need for example

  • Print Server
  • SMB server
  • Any of the other options

Also, the only language / keyboard setup I need is English (UK).

If it is possible to make a custom install:

  • How?
  • Would removing all other languages except english, and removing all the packages I don't need (not SSH/LAMP), be enough to cut the install down to 520 MB?

Thanks for any advice - I'm a bit of an ubuntu noob and have only used the server/desktop once before. If it is important - the system I'll be making the bootable disk on is a Mac.

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Try a netboot image. Netboot. Select release, architecture and then download the mini.iso. Write it to a usb, and it will boot. It will download the packages it need from the central repository.

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This. Also as a tip, use to create your bootable USBs – SimonJGreen Jan 12 '12 at 12:23
This is a much faster method than creating a custom environment. – user535733 Feb 20 '12 at 14:54

I am assuming that you have another desktop computer/laptop, and that it is Ubuntu 11.10? If so, There is a program called Ubuntu Customization Kit available in the Ubuntu Software Center; install that by searching for "uck". You will need to download the ISO image (from for the install you wish to customize. Follow the instructions within uck. This is not a task for a noob (as you have indicated) though, as most of the customizing needs to be done through the terminal. I would not know which files could be safely removed. The deb files are stored in /pool/main and are sorted alphabetically, not categorically. It would be difficult to know which files are dependencies for other packages. And... I believe that if you are customizing 64-bit server, you would need to use 64-bit Ubuntu Desktop. Should you choose this bumpy route, here is a decent tutorial: IMHO, I would either put the hard drive from the proposed server into the old (functioning?) computer and install, or (best option) move the optical drive to the server. 5 minutes of time compared to 5 hours+ of paring and testing.

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Thanks - I'm alright with using terminal - but my old ubuntu server died in a power cut - i think I'll just shove a CD drive in the new server and be done with it! - thanks for the advice – Alex Coplan Jan 8 '12 at 16:27

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