APTonCD is a GUI tool that can extract the .deb packages that you have manually installed on your machine and selectively copy them to an ISO image that can be burned to a CD or DVD. The tool can then be used, on another machine, to restore those packages. The main use is to create disc-based package collections that can be used to add packages to systems that don’t have an Internet connection, perhaps as part of a mass installation strategy.
Clicking on the create button causes the program to start collating a list of packages that you have added to your system. When the process is complete, it displays a list of packages that can be included or deselected. Optionally, all dependencies for the selected packages are included. You can also add extra packages at this point by manually directing the program to actual .deb files. Once this is complete, click on the burn icon and the program will very quickly create an ISO containing the .deb files. The program can even span a collection files over more than one disc.
Restoring is just as simple. However, it’s important to note that APT on CD doesn’t actually install any software to your system. Instead, it copies the .deb files to the APT cache of your target machine. This way, when you install the packages using your chosen APT tool such as the Synaptic package manager, the system wont attempt to retrieve the packages from the Internet. APTtoCD can load the .deb files from an actual CD that you have burned or from an ISO file located on another medium.
It’s worth noting that actually installing APTtoCD to a target machine is fairly simple as it is included in the collection of .deb files on the CD that you burn. Simply install it as you would any other .deb file.
The APTonCD website
UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.