Installing Linux Mint as OEM

By Stealth7 Comments

From a business perspective I often install Linux on computers for my customers. Sometimes because they cannot afford the high price of Windows, sometimes they just need a computer that will get them by for now. I most usually use Linux Mint since it is very user-friendly and provides my end users with a simple and very usable desktop. Linux Mint also requires very little post-installation configuration so I don’t need to spend too much time getting their system running.

Before Linux Mint 12 was released, they had an installation disc set up to do OEM installations. The OEM installation disc allowed me to install and fully configure and make sure everything was in order and working before giving it to the customer. When the customer got it, they would be able to set up their own user account and desktop such as you would with a computer fresh out of the box from your favorite computer supplier.

When Linux Mint 12 was released, this installation disc was discontinued. There was a note in the release notes instructing anyone interested in a OEM disc to contact the Linux Mint team directly. Not a problem for most people, but I had later found out (when I needed an OEM disc) that the only available disc was for 64-bit systems. The Linux Mint team was also quite tight-lipped about how this particular disc was set up to differ from a regular CD installation (without proprietary software). I decided to go out on my own with my own (somewhat limited, but enough to get me in trouble) knowledge about how I could manage to still install these systems while keeping the OEM benefits.

After reading instructions and package details for OEM installations, I had learned form Ubuntu that it was as simple as installing a couple packages and running a script when I was ready to send the computer to a customer.

Here’s how:

  1. Install Linux Mint on a system using your desired version of the Gnome or KDE release.
  2. When prompted for a username, use “oem” (without quotes). This will be your temporary account for configuring the system before sending it off.
  3. Your computer name may be anything. When the user starts up the system for the first time they will be greeted with the same screen.
  4. When the installation is complete, you’ll need to install 2 packages. The first one would be oem-config, and the second one would be oem-config-gtk (for Gnome), or oem-config-kde (for KDE).
  5. When done configuring the system (installing drives/software), open a terminal and type sudo oem-config-prepare
  6. When the computer starts up again the oem user will be removed and the system will ask for user information.

These instructions were made using Linux Mint 12 with the Gnome and KDE installation discs. I don’t know how these instructions differ using the LXDE version of Linux Mint, or how these will change with Linux Mint 13 since they will be changing to the Cinnamon desktop environment. I’ll be sure to provide an update when that happens!

Operating Systems

7 Comments to “Installing Linux Mint as OEM”

  1. I do consider all of the ideas you have introduced to your post. They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very short for novices. Could you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

    1. warg says:

      I don’t believe this post is intended for Linux novices.

  2. elija says:

    As simple as installing a couple of packages?

    On a vanilla Mint 12 Gnome edition sudo apt-get install oem-config oemconfig-gtk insisted on installing KDE. Hardly a couple of packages.

    Not impressed with this dependency list but then it seems to come directly from Ubuntu so is unlikely to be well thought out!

    1. Stealth says:

      Yes, there is a list of dependencies, however consider the following:

      1. Installing oem-config* has a much larger download/install size because it includes ALL of the KDE stuff and some additional oem-config items that are not required.
      2. If I remember correctly all the oem-config items are removed when the system is restarted after running oem-configu-prepare (or they are removed during that process)
      3. Using this method uses the same oem-config-* packages that you’d be installing with the official OEM CD, just the manual method give the ability to install either the full DVD or install on a 32-bit system.
      1. elija says:

        Maybe it’s an OCD thing but when I install a Gnome based system I don’t want it polluted with KDE libs and vica versa. The oem setup is a brilliant idea, but annoyingly flawed in implementation. A combination I have come to expect from Canonical.

        Ah well, half a loaf is better than none as my dad used to say.

        1. warg says:

          I’m not a fan of KDE myself, but KDE libs are not “KDE.” They’re simply dynamically linked libraries that programs can use to provide functionality to that program, thus I’m not sure how it’s a pollution. The simple fact that those libraries are created by the KDE project?

  3. warg says:

    Alternatively, when you boot the Linux Mint LiveCD, highlight “Start Linux Mint” and press your TAB key, then append the following to the boot command:

    only-ubiquity oem-config/enable=true

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