Customize a Distro with Remastersys
Remastersys is a complete system backup tool, but it can also be used to create your own customized remix of an Ubuntu or Debian installation. Basically, you customize a running system and create an install disk that will recreate it. If you've ever wanted to create your own distribution, you won't believe how simple this is to use. Mikebuntu, here we come...
These examples all presume that you are basing your personalized remix on Ubuntu 10.10, as there are a few extra steps involved in the creation of a Debian remix.
The approach is very simple: you install a Linux system, alter it, run Remastersys and then deploy a customized installation disk that will recreate that altered system. The installer works in the normal Ubuntu way, so any files that were lying about in your original home directory, for example, won't be copied across. This also means that each program will be installed with clean, unaltered settings. There are, however, ways of including customizations, if you need to.
One handy way of working with Remastersys is to use it with a VM such as VirtualBox. This way, you install Debian or Ubuntu within a virtual machine, customize it, and Remastersys creates the installation disk for you. There is currently a 4GB limit to the size of the ISO file that it can create, which should be sufficient in most cases.
Once you have a fresh install of Ubuntu ready, begin by adding the Remastersys repository to the file /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://www.geekconnection.org/remastersys/repository karmic/
Then refresh the package list by either clicking on reload in Synaptic or by typing
sudo apt-get update
You can now customize away by adding and removing packages on the system. When you've got things how you want them, run Remastersys. Once you've installed it, using the package manager, it's located under the the Gnome system menu.
Here, you will be presented with a set of options to fine tune the installation disk. When you are ready, click on the “dist” option, and after much churning, an ISO file is created. Note that the default target location for the ISO is /home/remastersys/remastersys/, rather than in the personal home directory of the main user.
If you have carried this out within a VM, you will have to establish some sort of file sharing in order to get the ISO file back onto your host machine so that you can burn it to a disk. Boot from the disk in the normal way and you'll be presented with a fairly typical set of install options. The installation itself uses the standard Ubuntu installer.
The boot screen of a Remastersys installation disk.
This has been a quick overview of what Remastersys can do in terms of creating custom installation media. It's also a full system backup tool, and there is quite a lot of scope for further customizing the set of files that are copied during installation. Check out the Remastersys website for more details.
UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.
Fast/Flexible Linux OS Recovery
On Demand Now
In this live one-hour webinar, learn how to enhance your existing backup strategies for complete disaster recovery preparedness using Storix System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin), a highly flexible full-system recovery solution for UNIX and Linux systems.
Join Linux Journal's Shawn Powers and David Huffman, President/CEO, Storix, Inc.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- Download "Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI"
- Profiles and RC Files
- Understanding Ceph and Its Place in the Market
- Astronomy for KDE
- Sony Settles in Linux Battle
- Maru OS Brings Debian to Your Phone
- The Giant Zero, Part 0.x
- Git 2.9 Released
- What's Our Next Fight?
- OpenSwitch Finds a New Home
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide