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How to customize live Ubuntu CD?

Ubuntu 11.10 release is just round the corner, and for the first time, I need to remaster the original LiveCD as per my (including most of the colleagues) needs. I'm totally new to remastering Live ISOs and all I know is that I've just "heard" about remastersys which can be used to do this.

Below are the things I'll tweak with original ISO.

  • Add GNOME Shell (3.2) as desktop environment choice, alongside shipped Unity. (most important)
  • Install all restricted Codecs for media playback.
  • Set default theme for GNOME Shell (along with wallpapers, icons and GTK3).
  • Include Chrome and other similar apps with standard installation.
  • Install some handy GNOME Shell extensions.
  • It should still be a LiveCD (DVD in this case).

I'm not bothered about increased size of ISO due to above bloat that I add.

So, these are my needs, I can do all sorts of customizations but don't know how to include that in ISO, and that's where remastering comes into the picture. So where should I start from?

Note: I'm not bound to use only Remastersys, any other similar app will also do for me as long as it accomplishes above requirements.

  • Doesn't the new version of Ubuntu , 12.04, have the Gnome shell option pre-configured? I think it does although I am not totally sure. – djangofan Apr 23 '12 at 23:30
  • @djangofan: Nope, GNOME shell doesn't come pre-installed, its available in the repositories though. – Kushal May 24 '12 at 8:06

Remastersys is dead now. The most promising fork I've seen is Re-Linux. This thread in the Ubuntu forums is very active, you should check it out, it seems this guys are not only forking it but also updating/improving it to work with the most recent additions to Ubuntu. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1857376

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  • Also, more on topic to your question, it seems it wouldn't be so difficult, Gnome Shell is easily installable in Oneiric and works like a charm, and adding/removing apps never gives trouble. You tweak your system to your liking and follow a tutorial of Re-Linux to get your iso (probably you're gonna need a DVD, and let me suggest you use USB for even faster live sessions/installations). – Eduardo Rivas Oct 21 '11 at 19:12
  • relinux fails to boot for me with ubuntu 11.10, it gets a message about sldin error 0 something like that, I only been able to create a dist-mode guest usb iso image with remastersys, it may be dead but it works with bugs compare to relinux which just fails me 0.3 version I think – user32658 Nov 7 '11 at 2:44
  • Remastersys is back :) ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1870607&page=1 – R.K. Nov 28 '11 at 15:45
  • @robert, this is fixed now. – MiJyn Dec 6 '11 at 3:56

What has worked quite well for me is the Ubuntu Customization Kit (uck) which is available for installation from the repositories (universe, IIRC.) It unpacks the squash filesystem from an existing .iso, mounts it, and drops you into a chroot enviroment from which you can enter a root shell or synaptic to make whatever package additions, deletions, or customizations you want.


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