Creating a bootable compact disc under Mac OS 9 and earlier is not much trickier than creating any other sort of custom CD. Mac technicians routinely create and carry their own custom “rescue CDs” which boot into Mac OS 9 and provide convenient access to important disk utilities and installers.
Building such a CD with Mac OS X is considerably more difficult, as the underlying OS has trouble booting from a read-only device. But there are tools to help, as member Dan White explains in a message nominated among the “Best of the TCS.”
I have made an OS X Booting CD from scratch with the BootCD freeware utility.
For Mac OS X, 10.2 and up, http://www.charlessoft.com/BootCD.dmg
I believe instructions come with it.
Shooting from the hip from about a week ago when I tried this at home, it works like this:
You run the utility on a working Mac OS X system. It creates a CD-sized image (you can specify the size. I picked 700Mb) and then extracts the necessaries from your running system to put onto the CD. It also asks which utilities you want on the CD. I messed up by installing a new utility in the middle of running BootCD. I should have installed the utility before running BootCD. Anyway, you take the resulting image and burn a CD from it.
Word of advice/warning: Mac OS X from a CD boots slower than (Pick your least favorite ISP) Customer Support. Be patient. When it finally boots up, it will have the name of the machine that you made the CD on. I did not totally explore it to see if it copied the network settings and such.