Ubuntu OEM Install

May 29, 2007 at 6:28 pm 7 comments

OEM Install updatesIf you’ve ever bought a laptop or a branded desktop, the first thing that you’ll see from the Windows installed is a welcome screen, which offers to guide you in setting up your system, asking you such questions as what user name you prefer and some network information.

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I had downloaded an Alternative Install Ubuntu Edgy and burned it to CD, because one of my computers had really low memory, thus making use of the graphical install utility was a nightmare, so I used the Alternative Install disc for the old ASCII-interface installer. But only quite recently did I try the OEM install option that came with the CD, just out of curiosity. It’s basically the same as the ASCII installer, with the exception that instead of prompting you for the desired username, it provides an oem account and you are just prompted for the password. After installation and reboot, you log on to your system using the oem account as you would a normal install.

From here, you can configure your system as you please; install all available updates, configure the repositories, install multimedia codecs, and if you’re a computer company, set the desktop background to your company logo.

When you feel that your system is ready for the end user, open up a terminal and type sudo oem-config-prepare. On next reboot, which the end user will be doing, he or she will be prompted for a new user name, keyboard layout, etc. Voila!

WARNING: As pointed out by Chrys, the OEM account is not supposed to be used as a regular account as it is only meant to perform a few preparations before use for the end-user. After oem-prepare-config is executed, the oem user, and its associated home folder, will disappear by next reboot.

Of course this isn’t anything new, but since no one I know knows about this (relatively few know about the Windows OEMs either), might as well put out more information for everyone’s perusal.

And since Dell is starting offering Ubuntu on some of their models, it would be advantageous to other retailers and computer manufacturers to start giving their customers a choice, instead of just assuming they want to pay for a Windows bundle.

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Entry filed under: Guide, Linux Stuff, Operating Systems.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michael Bach Ipsen  |  August 11, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    Great tip, but how do you go from “sudo oem-config-prepare” to burning the OEM on a cd/dvd to be used on other computers? Otherwise you would have to prepare an OEM installation on each an every computer you want to sell.

    Reply
  • 2. punongbisyonaryo  |  August 12, 2007 at 11:00 am

    There is a program called Reconstructor, and it’s available from http://reconstructor.aperantis.com. I haven’t tried it first hand though, but from what I understand, you install Reconstructor in your existing Linux system and you use it to work on your Ubuntu CD or ISO image (which is faster). You can customize packages and even the LiveCD session, and when you’re done you can burn it to disc.

    After which you then run sudo oem-config-prepare but you don’t need to install the packages yourself anymore.

    If you can write a tutorial or article about it, you can contribute it here if you want, or if you have your own site/blog, I’ll gladly link to it from here, as I’m sure the info would be very useful to someone.

    Reply
  • 3. Michael Bach Ipsen  |  August 12, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    The page doesn’t seem to be reachable. I’m not a computer salesman myself, but I’ve thought of creating an “optimized” Ubuntu OEM packages to make it easier for people to set everything up and make everything work from the start.

    Perhaps it will be implemented in Gutsy or one of the future versions that you can do something à la oem-config-iso and create an OEM cd…

    But thanks anyway!

    Reply
  • 4. punongbisyonaryo  |  August 12, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Whoops! Corrected the link. It’s actually a good idea, especially when giving CDs to non-Linux friends. You can put in all the codecs, all the usual applications customized to their needs, or you can create a generic custom ISO.

    Reply
  • 5. Chrys  |  August 25, 2008 at 8:21 am

    You say “From here, you can configure your system as you please; install all available updates, configure the repositories, install multimedia codecs, and if you’re a computer company, set the desktop background to your company logo.”

    But this has caused me some problems. I got an Ubuntu Box from a company that refurbishes old computers. They didn’t run oem-config-prepare so I got a machine that I had to login using “oem” and a password they gave me. That’s all the info I got. Being new to Linux/Ubuntu, I used the computer for 6 mos. before realizing the issue and the potential security risk of operating with a uname and pwd that hundreds of computers share.

    But I had a desk-top all made and even some files on it that I just got and hadn’t backed up. I read your instructions assuming that the admin user’s desktop etc. would remain in place after running oem-config-prepare, but alas no. It seems the desktop, the home folder, is just gone from the now non-existent oem user – deleted. It would be good to warn folks of this possibility. Not all configuring is saved. In fact, it seems a lot of configuring is reset to defaults in the oem-config-prepare process.

    Reply
  • 6. punongbisyonaryo  |  August 25, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Chrys, thanks for the warning, and sorry for the confusion. I’ll update the post with your advice.

    As far as I know, the OEM user is just that, it’s only used for preconfguring the system. As to how much configuration is not carried over, that I don’t know. I’ll try to look it up.

    Reply
  • 7. ordaide  |  October 3, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    None of the settings are carried over from oem.
    Just the installed software and packages that are available.

    Reply

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