RemasterSys: Ubuntu Information

How do you use it?

   At the command line, you simply run “sudo remastersys backup” to make a full system backup,  or “sudo su” to become root and then run “remastersys dist” to make a distributable copy to share with friends. 
   There is a configuration file – /etc/remastersys.conf where you can set things like the name of the livecd/dvd, the live session username, other files to exclude from the cd/dvd, etc.
   If you are a gui person, simply click on the “Remastersys Backup” icon in the System Menu and you can select which option you want to run.

  IMPORTANT NOTE: You must be connected to the internet so remastersys can download the correct Ubiquity frontend and it’s dependencies.  If you do not have internet access when you start remastersys, it will fail to download the frontend for the installer and your live system will not be installable.

Some notes about using the distoption

   You should start with a clean install of Ubuntu or variant and use a single user to make all changes.  You should not install any proprietary video drivers like the nvidia or ati drivers as they will not be used on the livecd and users will have to reinstall them after installation.  Clean up history and cache and copy over the contents to /etc/skel but be sure to change the ownership of everything in /etc/skel to root.  While the livecd/dvd is being created, you should not open any other apps or windows.   Do not under any circumstances enable auto login as it will cause the live user creation portion of casper to fail and you will not get to the desktop.

Some notes about the backupoption

   You can log into the livecd/dvd with any valid user that was on the system on the hard drive but it is recommended to log into the first one created during the initial installation as that is the user that can sudo.  When you come to install this back to a hard drive, the user setup portion of ubiquity (the install program) is just a placeholder other than the system name.  The username and password set here will not be used but must be created in order to continue with the installation.  Part of the reason for this is that your users are already created so you don’t need to create them again,  but more importantly because user setup is an integral part of the install program and cannot be removed or bypassed easily.  If you were using proprietary video drivers like the nvidia or ati ones, you will need to reinstall them.  The Ubuntu livecd scripts prevent these from running properly but reinstalling them after installation will make them work again.

Some notes about the 3.0.0-1 and up

There are many changes in 3.0.0-1 and up which supports Ubuntu Lucid and Newer.

Starting 3.0.2-1 included is support for Ubuntu 12.04.  The gui and base packages have also been split of starting in 3.0.2-1 so you can install just the base without the gui and remastersys will not show up in the menu.  The new tools to customize the live boot splash, grub background, plymouth theme, etc are only available in the gui though so you will have to manually take care of those if you choose to only use the base cli package.

Since they are split off, you should install the base remastersys package first and tehn the gui of your choice – remastersys-gui the new official one or remastersys-gtk the alternative gui.

Most notable changes are as follows:
Brand new official GUI remastersys-gui for 3.0.2-1 created by me.
remastersys gui main screen

remastersys customize screen

Alternate GUI based on  remastersys-gtk gui created by Krasimir S. Stefanov <> and some tweaks and ideas from me Tony Brijeski <> but most of the credit needs to go to Krasimir for it.
remastersys gtk screen

If you have difficulty with one of the gui’s please try the other.

Incorporated in the gui are tools I created to help those creating a distro to customize the live boot background, the system grub background, creating a new plymouth theme and selecting which plymouth theme will be the default as well as copying the relevant settings from your user to /etc/skel making it the default for the live system.

The new remastersys-skelcopy feature will copy the common config folders and files from your selected user to /etc/skel.  This will allow the live user as well as any other new user created on the system to have the settings you have customized.  One important note is that any of the config files that contain any pointers to your specific users home folder will be removed so if you find certain settings aren’t being copied over this is the reason.  If you check those config files you’ll see that they have direct pointers to the user folder.  If you customize menu items, make sure to use icons from the system folders /usr/share/icons or /usr/share/pixmaps as any icons linked inside the user folder will mean that config file will be removed. The remastersys.log will also show a lot more detail and I also added in more checks to try and help make sure the remaster is a good one but I can’t account for every situation so if you have issues I will try to help you out.

Starting with 3.0.1-1 there is a firstboot system startup script that is used for backup mode to remove the install icon from the desktop and you can add whatever other custom commands you like in it.  Just edit /etc/init.d/remastersys-firstboot and put your commands inbetween the lines indicated. Thanks very much to all the folks that tested this out and provided feedback and tweaks. This is the best version of remastersys yet and I hope you all like it.

Where to go to ask questions, report bugs, request features or make recommendations?

The main support area is on the Remastersys Forum

What license is remastersys covered by?

It is released under the GNU GPL Version 2

Where can I get remastersys?

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

Paste the following into the sources.list:

For Gutsy and Earlier – up to version 2.0.11-1
# Remastersys
deb remastersys/

For Hardy and Newer with original grub – version 2.0.12-1 and up
# Remastersys
deb ubuntu/

For Karmic with grub2 – version 2.0.13-1 and up
# Remastersys
epository karmic/

For Lucid and Newer – version 3.0.0-1
# Remastersys for Lucid and newer
deb lucid/

Then simply either reload in Synaptic or you can “sudo apt-get update” and install remastersys.

If you prefer, you can directly download the old version files from the correct folder in

Important New information for Ubuntu Lucid and newer!

Starting with version 3.0.1-1 for Ubuntu there is a proper signed repository that can be added to your system.

The Synaptic Method:

1. In Firefox, go to :
save file as text someplace where you can find it.

2.  In synaptic, go to Settings/Repositories; select “Authentication” tab and “Import Key File” just downloaded.

3.  Still in synaptic, go to “Other Software” tab and click “Add”, then enter the apt line and replace oneiric with either lucid, maverick, or natty to match your Ubuntu version:

    deb oneiric main

4.  Leave the repositories tab and “Reload”.

5.  Search for “remastersys” and select for install.  Edit/Apply Marked Changes.

NOTE:  There is no source repository so if you see a line starting with deb-src you need to remove it.

The Manual Method

As root – issue ‘sudo su’ in the terminal window prior to the following command.

Download and apply the repository gpg key.

wget -O – | apt-key add –

Add the following line that corresponds to your version of Ubuntu to your /etc/apt/sources.list

#Remastersys Lucid
deb lucid main

#Remastersys Maverick
deb maverick main

#Remastersys Natty
deb natty main

#Remastersys Oneiric
deb oneiric main

#Remastersys Precise
deb precise main

Now just apt-get update or reload in Synaptic to have the new Remastersys signed repository ready to use!


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