Even if you do not have much knowledge about Linux, you can very easily build a custom Linux distro, which you can boot from a USB stick or CD/DVD, run inside a virtual machine program or install on your computer.
SUSE Studio is a simple and fast appliance builder, which provides you an easy to use, web-based user interface which runs inside your web browser. It lets you build your own custom Linux distro based on OpenSUSE. The best feature SUSE Studio is “Testdrive”, using which you can boot, configure and test your custom Linux distro in a web browser, without downloading.
SUSE Studio is free to use. It is currently in beta phase, and to use this service you will need an invitation and an account. You can request an invite through the login page of SUSE studio. Once you get your invite, you can sign into SUSE Studio with your Google or Yahoo account, or any OpenID provider. Read more about OpenID here.
SUSE Studio calls each bootable system you create, an “appliance”. Once you are logged in, goto your “Home” screen and click on “Create new appliance”. You can select your “base template” as either KDE or Gnome, or if you are good enough to build your own desktop and login manager through command line, you can choose command line-only option.
In the next step, you can choose your favorite software applications to be added to the custom distro. For example, if you want to add Firefox, search for it in the search bar, and then click “+add” to load it into your system, with dependencies and any other packages needed.
Once you have added all your software applications, you can tweak the eye candy of your distro, and determine how your system will boot up. Also, in the General sub-section, you can change your username to other than “Tux”, and other password than standard “linux”. In the personalize section, you can add your own logo and background to your custom Linux distro. “Overlay files” and “Scripts” settings can mostly be skipped, unless you are a power user of Linux.
In the build section, you can specify the format in which you would like to download the custom distro, whether an ISO for CD/DVD burning, a disk image for USB, or a ready-made virtual machine file for VirtualBox or VMWare. If you do not have the time or patience to burn a CD/DVD or install a new virtual machine, SUSE Studio lets you run your custom-built appliances on their own virtualization servers, for up to one hour, for free. Hit the “testdrive” link on one of your builds, and wait for it to boot up.
We were fairly impressed with the performance of the virtual machine we created entirely online, running on servers on a different continent and controlled entirely through a browser. We have shown here just a glance of what you can do with SUSE studio. The possibilities are endless and are limited only to your imagination.