Creating Your Own Custom Ubuntu 7.10 Or Linux Mint 4.0 Live-CD With Remastersys

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme

This guide shows how you can create a Live-CD from your Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon or Linux Mint 4.0 system with a tool called remastersys. Remastersys is available in the Linux Mint romeo repository. You can customize your Ubuntu/Linux Mint system and then let remastersys create an iso image of it which you can then burn onto a CD/DVD.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Installing Remastersys

Open a terminal and become root:

sudo su

Then add the Linux Mint romeo repository to /etc/apt/sources.list and update the package database:

echo "deb romeo/" >>/etc/apt/sources.list
apt-get update

Afterwards you can install remastersys like this:

apt-get install remastersys

Then leave the root shell so that you are logged in as your normal user again:



2 Remastersys Usage

In order to learn how you can use remastersys, run

sudo remastersys

It will then print all available options:

[email protected]:~$ sudo remastersys
[sudo] password for falko:

Usage of remastersys is as follows:

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


   sudo remastersys backup   (to make a livecd/dvd backup of your system)

   sudo remastersys backup custom.iso
                             (to make a livecd/dvd backup and call the iso custom.iso)

   sudo remastersys clean    (to clean up temporary files of remastersys)

   sudo remastersys dist     (to make a distributable livecd/dvd of your system)

   sudo remastersys dist cdfs
                             (to make a distributable livecd/dvd filesystem only)

   sudo remastersys dist iso custom.iso
                             (to make a distributable iso named custom.iso but only
                              if the cdfs is already present)

   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

[email protected]:~$


3 Creating An ISO Image Of Your Installation

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/falko) will not be included in the iso image. You might have to insert your Ubuntu/Linux Mint installation CD during the process.

This is how the end of the process looks:

 92.16% done, estimate finish Wed Nov 28 15:31:25 2007
 93.39% done, estimate finish Wed Nov 28 15:31:25 2007
 94.62% done, estimate finish Wed Nov 28 15:31:24 2007
 95.85% done, estimate finish Wed Nov 28 15:31:24 2007
 97.08% done, estimate finish Wed Nov 28 15:31:25 2007
 98.31% done, estimate finish Wed Nov 28 15:31:25 2007
 99.54% done, estimate finish Wed Nov 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

It is recommended to run 'sudo remastersys clean' once you have burned and tested the customdist.iso

[email protected]:~$

As I've just mentioned, the iso image has been created in /home/remastersys:

ls -l /home/remastersys/

[email protected]:~$ ls -l /home/remastersys/
total 814596
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root        73 2007-11-28 15:08 control
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 833310720 2007-11-28 15:31 customdist.iso
drwxr-xr-x 9 root root      4096 2007-11-28 15:07 dummysys
dr-xr-xr-x 5 root root      4096 2007-10-19 02:08 ISOTMP
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root       904 2007-11-28 15:06 varexc
[email protected]:~$

Now you can burn /home/remastersys/customdist.iso onto a CD or DVD (if the iso file is bigger than 700MB, you must use a DVD).


4 Cleaning 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.


Falko Timme

About Falko Timme

Falko Timme is an experienced Linux administrator and founder of Timme Hosting, a leading nginx business hosting company in Germany. He is one of the most active authors on HowtoForge since 2005 and one of the core developers of ISPConfig since 2000. He has also contributed to the O'Reilly book "Linux System Administration".

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It's cleaner to add the repository as a separate file. So instead of

  • echo "deb romeo/" >>/etc/apt/sources.list

You could use something like

  • echo "deb romeo/" >>/etc/apt/sources.list.d/romeo.list

You could also use wget to download a premade romeo.list file to the appropriate location.

You could also pipe the output of the echo command into the tee command to create the list file. For example:

  •  echo "deb romeo/" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list


Thanks falko for the great effort you put in this. If anyone uses this tutorial and have a problem to use root account, then you have to upgrade to a newer version. Latest for now is 2.0.2 (found here


Thanks for this interesting article.

When installing remastersys on Ubuntu Hardy the following error may occur:

The following packages have unmet dependencies.
remastersys: Depends: mkisofs (>= 0.0-0)
E: Broken packages

To get remastersys to install anyway don't install the repository mentioned above or comment out the line

deb romeo/

And instead add the following repository:

deb remastersys/


 Thanks to jfrice for providing the solution (post #6):


1. It will use the partition containing /home, and if it doesn't have room (more free space than most of the filesystem combined) your system will appear to lock as it pages and thrashes at 100% disk usage on that partition.

2. It temporarily changes the UIDs so they are all under 1000 - required for "live" CDs - so you will lose permissions to your own files (if you open a new window) and created files will be wrong UIDs when restored.  There is a passwdrestore file left in /home/remastersys that needs to be run, or you will have to reedit the /etc/passwd file.

I would suggest copying the /etc/passwd file to back it up.

There also appears to be NO method where the /home/remastersys can be redirected (e.g. symlink) or have remastersys use a drive with lots of space, so you can't really use it for a live backup unless you have the extra space in /home.

If anyone has a way around this I'd appreciate a post. 

By: Anonymous

Dear All,

I have created the image of my existing Ubuntu 8.04. 

Problem is whle trying to install thru the image , it directly going to initramfs prompt. 

Please let me know how to solve this one. 

Please let me know any Pre -configure is there before taking the backup image. 


Thanks & Regards 


By: Jim Porter

I’ve personally never used remastersys but I am willing to try it, I tried reconstructor and it did not work for me I kept trying but nothing that I did seemed to work making changes to the liveCD (I tried the installable version, not the live version). The one I like the most is Ubuntu Customization Kit, which is free, simple and it works. I really thing i is the best option to create your own customized liveCD.

By: Graphics

I am running a custom Ubuntu variant called Bodhi, which uses the Enlightenment desktop environment. I tried a few methods to try & get my 'live' running system to iso. I spent ages installing & tweaking Bodhi, so I am going to give it another try & get it working okay.

I wasn't too sure if Remastersys would do a decent job of directly making the iso, & that it would boot okay under hardware, rather than virtualisation. I didn't want settings from the VM would to be hard coded into the iso, such that it would only use 1 CPU core, rather than 2 on my Dual Core machine. In addition to this, I couldn't get the screen res any higher than800x600 which was a real pain.

Thanks for the tutorial, very informative.

By: Arun kv

If your customizing the kernel, then make sure that the new kernel has squashfs and unionfs. If not do the following

links for patch:-

Patch the sources :
patch -p1 < unionfs-patchfile
patch -p1 < squashfs-patchfile

make menuconfig

<*>file systems-> Miscellaneous filesystems-> squashFS x.x

<*> file systems->Layered filesystems->Union file system

then make; make modules_install etc...

Now boot your system with new kernel and run remastersys dist..