Creating Custom Ubuntu Live-CD With Remastersys

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Remastersys is a tool that can be used to do 2 things with an existing Klikit or Ubuntu or derivative installation.It can make a full system backup including personal data to a live cd or dvd that you can use anywhere and install. It can make a distributable copy you can share with friends. This will not have any of your personal user data in it.

Install Remastersys in Ubuntu

The Remastersys repository needs to be added to your /etc/apt/sources.list

sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list

Paste the following into the sources.list:

# Remastersys
deb http://www.remastersys.klikit-linux.com/repository remastersys/

Save and exit the file.

Update the source list using the following command

sudo apt-get update

Install remastersys using the following command

sudo apt-get install remastersys

This will complete the installation

Using Remastersys

In order to learn how you can use remastersys, run

sudo remastersys

remastersys Syntax

sudo remastersys backup|clean|dist [cdfs|iso] [filename.iso]

remastersys Examples

1) to make a livecd/dvd backup of your system

sudo remastersys backup

2) to make a livecd/dvd backup and call the iso custom.iso

sudo remastersys backup custom.iso

3) to clean up temporary files of remastersys

sudo remastersys clean

4) to make a distributable livecd/dvd of your system

sudo remastersys dist

5) to make a distributable livecd/dvd filesystem only

sudo remastersys dist cdfs

6) to make a distributable iso named custom.iso but only if the cdfs is already present

sudo remastersys dist iso custom.iso

cdfs and iso options should only be used if you wish to modify something on the cd before the iso is created. An example of this would be to modify the isolinux portion of the livecd/dvd

Creating An ISO Image

To create an iso image of your installation, simply run

sudo remastersys dist

This will create an iso image called customdist.iso in the /home/remastersys directory. The dist option makes that your personal folder (e.g. /home/ruchi) will not be included in the iso image. You might have to insert your Ubuntu installation CD during the process.

This is how the end of the process looks:

[...]
92.16% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:25 2007
93.39% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:25 2007
94.62% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:24 2007
95.85% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:24 2007
97.08% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:25 2007
98.31% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:25 2007
99.54% done, estimate finish Wed DEC 28 15:31:25 2007
Total translation table size: 2048
Total rockridge attributes bytes: 3950
Total directory bytes: 9094
Path table size(bytes): 54
Max brk space used 0
406890 extents written (794 MB)

/home/remastersys/customdist.iso is ready to be burned or tested in a virtual machine.

Check the size and if it is larger than 700MB you will need to burn it to a dvd

796M /home/remastersys/customdist.iso

Clean Up

After you've burnt the iso image onto a CD/DVD, you can run

sudo remastersys clean

to remove all temporary file created during the iso generation as well as the /home/remastersys directory.

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51 thoughts on “Creating Custom Ubuntu Live-CD With Remastersys

  1. Thank you this artical is very useful . Thanks once again

    [Reply]

    Humberto Reply:

    Remastersys is no longer a viable application. Ubuntu has locked it out. I could not make it work, even though I have 40 years experience with computing.

    [Reply]

  2. Hi, the remastersys repository is not available anymore since a long time. Do you know of alternative sources where one can get the remastersys tool ?

    Best regards

    [Reply]

  3. Thank you. Very simple and worked well.

    For newbies, it can all be done without terminal. Just add the software source, install remastersys and then open the remastersys program in the Administration menu.

    [Reply]

  4. hello again

    i tried remastersys on ubuntu 10.04:
    “sudo remastersys dist myisoname.iso”

    it seems every thing is good.
    no error report and it create a cdfs i guess in /home/remastersys/remastersys
    finally it tries to make iso file:
    creating md5sum.txt for live cd/dvd
    creating iso
    creating iso.md5
    md5sum: iso file : no such a file or directory

    why it cannot create iso file?!
    there is not any iso file in /home/remastersys?
    is something missing?!

    [Reply]

  5. I have remastered ubuntu 10.04 and its working fine. Now i am distributing it in my college but the problem is that the remastered ubuntu has taken my own grub.cfg so when i installed it in other’s laptop or desktop , its windows doesn’t start..
    But when i do sudo update-grub in ubuntu after booting, this problem gets disappeared and windows starts. But i have to add this sudo update-grub command in installation so that after installing both windows and ubuntu will start automatically without any problem. So how can i add script containing sudo update-grub during installation.
    Please reply…

    [Reply]

  6. Remastersys repo works, with the ‘karmic’ at the end, try that Joe, tested on Kubuntu 10.10 /32 bit/

    Also it’s in Menu, no need to use the CLI syntax, BTW… :-)

    [Reply]

  7. USB sticks(thumb drives) are cheap at 16GB Could it be possible to do this and get over 4GB iso?
    All numbers in ISO 9660 file systems except the single byte value used for the GMT offset are unsigned numbers. As the length of a file’s extent on disk is stored in a 32 bit value[4], it allows for a maximum length of less than 4 GB (more precisely, less than 4 GiB). (Note: Some older operating systems may handle such values incorrectly (i.e., signed instead of unsigned), which would make it impossible to access files larger than 2 GB in size.)
    Based on this, it is often assumed that a file on an ISO 9660 formatted disc cannot be larger than 232 in size, as the file’s size is stored in an unsigned 32 bit value, for which 232 is the maximum.
    It is, however, possible to circumvent this limitation by using the multi-extent (fragmentation) feature of ISO 9660 Level 3 and create ISO 9600 filesystems and single files up to 8 TB. With this, files larger than 4 GB can be split up into multiple extents (sequential series of sectors), each not exceeding the 4 GB limit. For example, the free software such as infrarecorder and mkisofs as well as Roxio Toast are able to create ISO 9660 filesystems that use multi-extent files to store files larger than 4 GB on appropriate media such as recordable DVDs.

    [Reply]

  8. i just try remastersys with guide on these article on my blankon ombilin (ubuntu 10.04 based) & the results is works!
    thanx ubuntugeek :D

    [Reply]

  9. I tried to customize a system for public libraries but had problems creating a cd iso smaller than 900Mb in order to fit in a CD instead of a usb-stick

    [Reply]

  10. @serpiko – I have done this. Start with xubuntu 10 cd, remove every single thing you do not need, add the firefox ppa and flash and java, burn and go.

    Otherwise, if you need openoffice or libreoffice or other stuff like that which WILL push you beyond 700MB CD then burn to DVD’s and use those.

    Honestly, I build these custom setups for coffee shops and airports, and I DO put it on a USB memory card reader, which I hook up INSIDE the computer. That way, the owner can open it up, install a newer version, re-lock the card, reboot and go. It is faster then a CD/DVD and upgradable, yet every bit as secure (assuming you do not have your machine in an area where they can take it apart, in which case there is no effective way to secure it)

    [Reply]

  11. @ Avinash –

    manually edit the /boot/grub/grub.cfg right before remaster, and comment out or remove all your other partitions except root /. Then, run remastersys and build, then restore it to the way it was.

    Then grub update runs on the install and everything is discovered and works fine. (you only have to do this with two or more OS’s in some circumstances).

    Just DO NOT FORGET to restore that config after you build the ISO. If you reboot you are going to have LOTS of fun otherwise. ;)

    [Reply]

  12. Hi i have created customdist.iso by remastersys, and created Live usb from startup disk creator and also from universal usb creator. but after creating while i try to boot it was not booting, some file missing it says. could anybody help me on this. its important for me to clone my existing ubuntu into iso and make a bootable usb.

    [Reply]

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