Live GIS Disc FAQ

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For the public good and for your own future reference please record any FAQs here, even if you can only supply the Q

Getting help

  • Q: How can I find the answer to a question which isn't here?
  • A: Use the search tool in the mailing list archives, or put it here and wait for someone else to fill in the A:.

See also Live GIS Disc/Errata/8.0


Getting started

  • Q: What's the live user's name and password?
  • A: user/user. See the passwords.txt file on the desktop for application specific database user/passwords.

Hardware Drivers

  • Q: How do I get my Wifi working?
  • A: Due to licensing issues a number of proprietary firmwares can not be included on the disc, you must download them yourself. We don't have the right to redistrubute them.
  • You will probably need a wired network connection to download the drivers.
Start button → Preferences → Aditional Drivers

It will search for available drivers ... this will take a little while.

Select the driver if you wish, and hit "Apply Changes". If you do not have a working network connection this will likely fail without telling you why.

  • After the drivers are installed you can look in /var/cache/apt/archives/ for the deb packages, copy them over to another USB drive, then upon a fresh boot copy them back there and use 'apt-get' to install them. If you mount the other USB drive and the OSGeoLive USB drive on another computer, you can even copy these files into a directory in the Live's USB. These will then be available in the (for example) /cdrom/extra_debs directory. You could even stash a little script in there to install it all automatically.


  • Q: How do I set the drive volume name on the live USB drive?
  • A: From a Linux computer, plug it in and mount it, then:
# limited to 11 single byte characters

# find devivce and mount name
# for me it is /dev/sdd1 and /media/0FB5-AA29
df -h

# unmount it
umount /media/0FB5-AA29

# check the label
mlabel -i /dev/sdd1 -s ::

# set the label
mlabel -i /dev/sdd1 ::"$IMAGE_NAME"


  • Q: What's the root password?
  • A: There isn't one. To run commands as root type `sudo <command>` in a terminal. To become root type `sudo - su`. Enter the user's password when prompted.

  • Q: How do I get my dual monitors to span instead of mirror with xUbuntu?
  • A: Go to the Applications → Settings menu and use the `arandr` program to drag them apart, then click the tick/check button to apply (once you start the program it's pretty obvious, the program name on the other hand is not so obvious :) For the OSGeo 5.5 Live DVD and earlier you'll have to install it yourself via Synaptic or the Ubuntu Software Center.
ARandR screenshot

  • Q: How do I ssh into the Live Disc?
  • A: You must first install the openssh-server package:
sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Because of a bug in Ubuntu 12.04 you may also need to run:

sudo initctl reload-configuration
sudo service ssh restart
Important: If enabling remote login access you really should change the user account's default password with the passwd command.

Building the disc

  • Q: How do I roll my own version of the disc?
  • A: See the Live GIS Build wiki page
  • Q: This app is great! How do I install it on my Ubuntu system without installing everything else?
  • A: All the install scripts can be found in the ~/gisvm/bin/ directory on the disc.