A listing of random software, tips, tweaks, hacks, and tutorials I made for Ubuntu

Relinux – An easy way to create a Linux distro

Note: I know this post is a mess, I’m sorry. I’ll try to fix it sometime soon

Note #2: Relinux is now dead:

Remastersys has been around for a long time, and though it hasn’t been updated in a long time (EDIT: It was dead, but now he is maintaining it), many people still use it. Remastersys is very closed in what you can do with it (for example, it’s hard to change the splash image), and sometimes you have to edit the code just to be able to change more options that what is given in the remastersys.conf file.

I created 2 systems with it (one personal and one public), and I didn’t like the lack of options, so I decided to make my own script based on it, to give much more customization. Though it is still at a beta stage, it gives many more options, and much more usability.

The goal for relinux is to let someone make his own Linux distro easily, while the goal for remastersys is to make personal distros and backups.

To install, download the latest tar.gz file at Untar it, and follow the instructions in the INSTALL file.

You can customize the system as much as you would like, except for these limitations (most of which will be removed in a future release):

  • It only supports GRUB2, so no BURG or GRUB-Legacy
  • It must have an X11 display, since Ubiquity (the installer) requires X11 to run
  • You cannot use another installer than Ubiquity
  • The compressed filesystem size must be below 4GB (no workaround). It will tell you if it’s over 4GB (compressed), but I recommend that you keep your system size below 6GB (uncompressed).
  • It will install metacity, but in 0.3, this is removed.
After you have customized your system at your liking, you will need to create a configuration file. To do this, simply type in a Terminal window:
cp /etc/relinux/relinux.conf ./relinux.conf
sed -i 's:EXCLUDES="\(.*\)":EXCLUDES="\1 '`readlink -f ./relinux.conf`'":g' ./relinux.conf
readlink -f ./relinux.conf

The last command will tell you where the configuration file is located. Edit that file to your liking. Some splash screens are located in /etc/relinux/relinux/splash.
Before you start editing, if you want to save your settings/themes, do this (replace USERNAME by your actual username):
  1. Press CTRL+ALT+F3
  2. Log in as your normal user
  3. Type: sudo passwd
  4. Enter a password for root
  5. Type: exit
  6. Log in as root (with the password you gave for root)
  7. Type: usermod -d /etc/skel USERNAME; chown -R USERNAME /etc/skel
  8. Reboot your system (can be done with the reboot command)
Then you can log into your normal user, and all of your changes to the theme, desktop background, panel configuration etc… will be saved.
Once you have finished editing it, you will want to create the ISO file, so type this into the Terminal window:
sudo relinux fullclean ./relinux.conf
sudo relinux iso ./relinux.conf
The last (and final) step will take a while.
Simply follow the directions (if there are any).

I decided to make a comparison chart with Relinux and Remastersys:

Relinux Remastersys
Actively Developed T T
Backup mode T (will be removed in 0.4, as remastersys is good for the backup mode, relinux is not) T
Splash Image Customization T F
Can use T T
GUI F (will add in 0.4) T
Language BASH (will be Python in 0.4) BASH
If you have any questions/comments, feel free to leave a comment on here!

164 responses to “Relinux – An easy way to create a Linux distro

  1. zandos October 10, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    How about also including the gui wrapper that was made for remastersys, then it can be called with gksudo from a menu item without dropping to the CLI


    • Anonymous Meerkat October 10, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      Yeah, I’ll add that later. For now, it’s the basic features ;)

      • logicjockey October 13, 2011 at 5:20 am

        A GUI similar to Remastersys would be great. ‘dist’ and ‘backup’ options. Those two would be perfect. A way to set the current logged in user name. Also a PPA repository that we can install it from would make it easy to install it. Let me know if you are taking donations with Paypal so I can make a donation. Whatever it takes.

  2. Silvio Grosso October 11, 2011 at 7:28 am

    THANKS a lot indeed!

    I have used Remastersys a LOT these past years and it never failed me ;-)

    Needless to say, I was worried about its present development….
    Especially, since I would like to use this software with Ubunt Oneiric Ocelot

    Regarding your application, I just hope It will be as simple as it was Remastersys.
    To me it is vital because I am not a Linux Guru: at work I mostly work on Windows 7…
    In other words, as you already know, with Remastersys, you could do anything without ever open up the Terminal (its GUI is very straightforward).

    Every time I have recommended Remastersys to some friends (mostly Windows users who tried
    Linux – Ubuntu) it was by FAR the “feature” they liked the most :-)

    As soon as you are done with your fine-tuning, it would be marvellous to have a tutorial for beginners (e.g. a video tutorial on YouTube) with all the steps to use Relinux :-)
    At present, for Remastersys, I always recommend this tutorial:

    Anyway, congratulations indeed for your work: it is really appreciated!

  3. TJ October 11, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Wow, I just emailed you directly regarding this program, only to find this article 10 minutes later. :P So anyway, I am glad to hear a gui for it is indeed coming, although I am a bit upset there isn’t a Full System Backup for it. Why did you say there is “no need to have a backup mode in remastering software”? I find it extremely useful being able to do so, and back it up on a live disc, for sharing and such. I mean it is one thing to merely ‘dd’ a whole computer, but another to be able to save it all through a Live disc, not only to install on multiple machines, but to also be able to have your whole system (home stuff included) on a live disc.

    • Anonymous Meerkat October 11, 2011 at 2:25 pm

      Yeah, but there are other software that does that. I might include it many people request it, but I think that if you wanted to do that, you would use another software.
      Look at this page:

      • TJ October 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm

        True. Its just I haven’t run across a simple program like remastersys that can backup an entire computer in just a couple of clicks, and have that not only install everything on multiple computers, as well as a backup, but allow you to run it all on a live disc. Regardless, thanks for the link to those other softwares. I have checked out some of those, but not all. Although, from those I have looked into, they seem more catered to doing a straight copy and paste ‘dd’-like file/folder and/or image backup rather than making a two-click full backup to live disc. Of course, I don’t know them all, so who knows. Always fun exploring. hehe

        Oh, and also appreciated is that link you gave to the other fellow on a remastersys tutorial. It better helps me to understand just what is the difference between a ‘backup’ backup vs a ‘distro’ backup. Perhaps if it is isn’t possible to add that feature on yours, I could try and delve into it myself. Thanks!

      • Anonymous Meerkat October 11, 2011 at 3:19 pm

        The backup mode includes /home (and a few other things), and distro mode does not include /home.
        I might look into adding a backup mode, but I’m not good at doing things like that, so it might be a feature for later. If you really want it, please send a ticket to the relinux page, for a feature request.

      • TJ October 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm

        Awe, no need to go out of your way or anything. I’m not good at it myself, and even after a day now of trying to better understand yours and the original remastersys’s scripts, I am still not quite sure how to enable backing up the /home folder as well into a live disc. Plus, according to that article you suggested,, I guess there is more to it than just figuring out how to add the /home folder, such as enabling it to accept a specified username, rather than the generic one.

        Regardless, I will be happy to add that as a feature request, although I am unsure of just what you mean by sending a ticket to your homepage for it.

        In all, remastersys (and now it seems your package, relinux), is really the only one out there I have run across that seems capable of easily backing up a full computer onto a live cd. There are others, reconstructor, UCK, and etc, that can manipulate a live cd, but that’s not quite the same. So it will definitely be something I am going to figure out, as only today have I realized just how important this feature/package is. Gotta love a challenge. Hehe

      • Anonymous Meerkat October 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm

        To add a ticket, go here:
        I might add backup as a feature for 1.0 or 2.0.

      • TJ October 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm

        Oh ok, thanks. I tried that link, unfortunately, I get the following error:

        Error 403
        Write access required

        That sounds great if you could add that feature to relinux down the road. In the meantime, I will look more into it myself, and will let you know if I can figure it out.

      • Anonymous Meerkat October 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm

        Fixed the 403 problem.

      • TJ October 11, 2011 at 10:54 pm

        Awesome, thanks. Looks like you already added that feature request already. Cool.

      • rbanks October 12, 2011 at 11:04 am

        I agree that the back option is important.
        All settings, themes, bookmarks are included in the backup.
        A full backup is truly a “Custom Install” saving hours of configuring on
        multiple uniform installs.
        And by the way, Linux Mint 11 works great with Re-Linux!

      • Anonymous Meerkat October 12, 2011 at 8:10 pm

        Actually, you can keep the settings, themes etc… in a dist/iso mode install. You just have to change your home directory to /etc/skel.
        To do that safely, do this:
        1 ) Press CTRL+ALT+F3
        2 ) Log in as your normal user
        3 ) Type: sudo passwd
        4 ) Enter a password for root (you will have to enter it twice)
        5 ) Type: exit
        6 ) Log in as root (username: root, password is the one you just gave it)
        7 ) Type: usermod -d /etc/skel USERNAME
        8 ) Reboot your system: sudo reboot
        Then all of your settings/themes will be saved.

  4. Ubunscrewed October 12, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Remastersys being dead. The development of a viable fork of Remastersys project is critical if I am going to continue to install Ubuntu 11.+ releases on new linux users system. (i do this for a living – I’m a systems engineer freelance).. I can’t stress this fact, I NEED remastersys badly. I just need the ‘dist’ option where I could take a current running system, build from that running system, whatever I have installed in/on it, and then turn it into a live installable ISO image. Remastersys did it in about 5 mouse clicks and changing the user name to my current user name. Wham-o! I was done in 25 minutes.

    If you can provide this type of remastersys forked application, I will gladly get contributions for each time I need to reinstall it to build. I have no problem with funding something that is “mission critical’ to my business of repairing/installing OS for new users. Get me what we need, and put that Paypal up there, and I will try to be the first to help fund you. (that is a promise – big pinky swear)

    Thank you for trying to continue this project. I don’t know why Ubuntu developers completely neglected the fact that people like me need to install their OS on new user systems, and how Remastersys so elegantly did that job of prep (that saves me hours each time I do an install of Ubuntu) and why Ubuntu developers didn’t carry over Remastersys into their own repositories to continue the development of Remastersys. It was great. What a waste of all that open source work on Ubuntu development’s part… Someone there dropped the ball at Ubuntu this time. I can see it now. I agree it is limited as you have said, but it didn’t need to completely die/disappear like this on everyone. That just really turns me off from Ubuntu completely because that is the very thing anti-Ubuntu linux engineers have been warning everyone about for the last 2-3 releases of Ubuntu. That eventually Ubuntu was getting more “proprietary” in nature, less flexible, and more bloated with all this other stuff new users don’t really need. Yes, it looks like a Mac now. Okay, that’s cool, but still, it didn’t make my job easier here. Not a big beef for most users of Ubuntu, but when you freelance and do OS installs daily, without Remastersys I am spending 200 hours extra per fresh OS install per day. I will lose my entire day spent goofing off like i normal like to do watching sci-fi channel. (sad billygoat face).. lol

    Obi won your my only hope,


    sys engineer linux+

    • Anonymous Meerkat October 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      What are your specs? 25 minutes for remastersys is incredible! On a barebones install (and very fast system), I’ve only been able to do it in about 2 hours!

      I will add a GUI to make it much simpler to even generate the configuration file, make a Ubiquity (the installer) slideshow, select the splash screen, select the colors etc…, so it will be easy to make a professional system. The reason of the fork (among other things) was to be able to make it simpler to run it, and make it much more customizable, so that it looks professional.

      I think that the reason why remastersys was not on the Ubuntu repos, was because the author was not interested in having it in the Ubuntu repos, since he was making his own system (or helping out on another one). I will submit it to the Ubuntu repos once relinux 1.0 stable will be out.
      To explain the dying of the project, he said he was not interested in making updates back in 2010. I think that when I talked to him about my fork, he found an excuse to end the project, so he did. That’s what I think happened.
      I do agree with you that it is getting proprietary in nature, and that’s why I’ve been looking more and more at Debian. Not including remastersys in the repos was not a fault in Ubuntu, as they needed the permission of the author to do it, and they had more things to do than asking his permission instead of him asking their permission.

      So to summarize my reply, I will add a GUI to make it simpler (and much faster) to use relinux, and I will submit it to the Ubuntu repos once 1.0 stable is out.

      • debianhelp October 13, 2011 at 4:37 am

        I tested Remastersys on Ubuntu 11.10 (Beta 2) before it went down, and Remastersys on 11.10 was still perfectly great at making ‘dist’ ISO copies. I have no idea what part of Remastersys doesn’t work, but I just installed a copy of Ubuntu 11.10 (beta 2) that I made with Remastersys a few hours ago. No issues. No problems. Remastersys Worked perfectly at ‘dist’ option creation. And I am very sad it see it go. Glad to see someone is willing to take up the task of forking Remastersys. Thanks.

      • Anonymous Meerkat October 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm

        No problem. It does have some errors, like login screen customization. Not too many, but if someone wanted to change everything, he would have a lot of trouble.

      • debianhelp October 14, 2011 at 3:57 am

        Customization would be great, but we just need something that clones a system Also it appears there are just as many users that do ‘backups’ with it. Customization isn’t a high priority because Remastersys is dead and no GUI-alternative exists yet . We really just something that clones and backups the entire installed base system (codecs, packages, mozilla plugins, skel, ubiquity, everything) with a nice live bootable dvd or usb stick to boot from to install it again with ubiquity installer.

    • TJ October 13, 2011 at 12:29 am

      25 minutes is about my norm as well, and I’m on a 4-year old Core2Duo laptop. Even in ‘backup’ mode. Granted, my $HOME directory consists of merely settings/configs, and not personal stuff, so I can share it across computers, but 25 minutes (and a file system size of ~ 4GB, 1.5 custom.iso when compressed) is my norm. Perfect exact copy backup with all I want. Definitely why remastersys rocks!

      • Anonymous Meerkat October 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm

        Really? Maybe I should assign more RAM to my VM then :P.

      • TJ October 13, 2011 at 10:46 pm

        Haha. Well I only have 3gb ddr2 ram, so nothing too special. Guess its just the the total size of all my customizations and tweaks from the original Ubuntu fresh installs I do, which I guess isn’t as large as most folks.

      • Anonymous Meerkat October 14, 2011 at 2:27 am

        Yeah, but my ISO file was at a whopping 530MB! It was for a base system for CosmOS, and it was basic enough!

      • TJ October 14, 2011 at 5:06 am

        Wow, you must’ve removed a fair bit to get the ISO down to that small size. Also, at that size, it is suprising it takes that long for you. I cannot really compares speeds as I usually only do my actual backup to Live Disc on one computer, for distribution on a number of others.

    • Jim Harris October 16, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      I agree with Ubunscrewed. I am in the middle of doing what he is doing. I found remastersys 2 weeks ago and created a thumbdrive install. I was in the process of working out the bugs so that I can create Linux on a stick and or CD. I think it is important to have the “dist” option.

      • Anonymous Meerkat October 16, 2011 at 9:32 pm

        It already has the dist option! It’s just renamed as iso. So instead of: “sudo remastersys dist”, it would be “sudo relinux iso”.

  5. wei2912 October 13, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Thanks, someone made a deb package in this forum:

    • Anonymous Meerkat October 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      Yep, that was TJ (who is commenting). I’m going to make .deb packages for my next releases.

      • TJ October 13, 2011 at 10:52 pm

        Awesome. When I do start using relinux full-time, I plan to add .deb packages into my ppa for easier distribution across machines. I just figure I will wait for 1.0 or so before I start doing that. That and to see for sure if Remastersys will or won’t work for Oneiric. I just haven’t had the time to test that out just yet.

  6. fcrvincent October 13, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Can relinux remaster Kubuntu? After remastering a Kubuntu machine with relinux, the relinux livecd presented the Gnome UI instead of KDE.

    • fcrvincent October 13, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      Reply to myself: in fact relinux does remaster KDE as well; when booting from the relinux livecd Gnome is selected by default; however after loging out, selecting KDE as the UI and relogin then KDE is back and working.

  7. Ray Field October 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I am very eager to see Relinux work, as for me, like many other fans of Remastersys, this utility was maybe the single biggest bonus of moving to Ubuntu/Debian.

    Unfortunately, I am having the very same problem with Relinux that I’ve had for the last few months with Remastersys: a dist ISO simply hangs, no matter what option I choose from the “Custom Live CD” selection screen. What always happens is it hangs at the graphical “ubuntu” screen, with the five dots changing color,

    I did notice this from the terminal window where I ran relinux:

    14 directories, 0 files
    ## STEP 3 of SquashFS ##
    Copying /etc and /var to a temporary directory, so that we can work on them
    Done. Removing unneeded files, and changing others
    find: `/home/relinux/dummysys/var/lib/ubiquity’: No such file or directory

    I wonder if it’s germane.

    • Anonymous Meerkat October 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      That is really weird. Try this:
      sudo apt-get install ubiquity ubiquity-frontend-gtk

    • debianhelp October 14, 2011 at 4:05 am

      I am in total agreement with the above response. I don’t know why Ubuntu developers didn’t decide to either fork or adapt Remastersys for our use. I don’t know if Frag would have really minded that much had they done that, but who knows now.. It was mission critical for system engineers, and people who deploy Ubuntu on new systems, and even just users that need a live duplicate of their entire system (under 4Gb) on a DVD-r or USB Flash Drive. In just one night, Remastersys is gone forever. A real shame too. Without a fork or rematersys I would be forced to install Debian instead, or even Fedora.

      • TJ October 14, 2011 at 5:18 am

        Defiinitely. What made remastersys stand out was the ability to actually create a live disc with my whole computer on there (I used ‘backup’ mode, but minus the customizations, the ‘distro’ mode suffices here too). Talk about an extremely easy way to carry around, use, share, copy, and give out my whole computer to people. A couple clicks, and voila.

        I think the norm for folks isn’t that, but either full ‘dd’-like backups, on/off site, or using software like deja dup or rsync to do automatic incremental backups. As such, it is these softwares which get used and developed the most.

        Personally, I was never for incremental backups. As a fairly advanced Linux user, I am fine with performing a fresh install from time to time, updating first-round Ubuntu installation tweaked Remastered live disc, and then saving it for later. Here, I know just what I install/add/remove/update/etc. Easy peasy, and I have it for when myself or others bork something up. Hehe

  8. fcrvincent October 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    The EXCLUDES option in relinux.conf does not seem to have any effect.

    For example EXCLUDES=”$WORKDIR* /home* /var/log*” in ./relinux.conf followed by the command sudo relinux iso ./relinux.conf does backup all the /var/log/* files in custom.iso

    Am I missing something?

    • Anonymous Meerkat October 14, 2011 at 2:26 am

      Hmm… I think that this bug relies in lines 333-336 or 323-336. Gonna check it out. Could you send a ticket for this bug so that I won’t forget (It’s on the project page, where it says: tickets)?
      Also, make sure that you are in the same directory as the relinux.conf file.

    • TJ October 14, 2011 at 5:10 am

      I noticed this too, but just figured I wasn’t doing it correctly.

      My issue was when I tried to test out a ‘backup’ option by changing the default ‘/home*’ to ‘/home/relinux’, so it would backup my home folder that way. Unfortunately, that didn’t work. But I am new to this, so it could be user error. :P

      • Anonymous Meerkat October 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm

        No, it won’t work, since it actually automatically excludes the home folder. I might remove this limitation though.

      • TJ October 15, 2011 at 12:34 am

        Oh I see. So the ‘/home*’ exclusion in the ‘EXCLUDES’ section is sort of a redundancy sort of thing. Gotcha.

  9. jordanarseno October 14, 2011 at 6:11 am

    i’m an electrical engineer just getting into sysadmin stuff. i installed ocelot earlier today, configured a bunch of options, installed some software and instantly started looking for a utility to make my own custom OS image. right now, if something fails, installing a fresh copy wouldn’t be bad, but i want to get in the habit of making frequent backups. i can imagine the OS’s you guys remastersys have months+years of config on them.

    this is an excellent thread, big props to the author for taking up this task – and so recent! typically i poke around ubuntu forums looking for answers and i find stuff back in 07, 08… this stuff is hot off the press. good luck w/ the GUI.

    happy to follow this & thank you!

  10. Gregor Götz October 14, 2011 at 7:34 am

    what is the default password for the live cd user?

  11. xapient October 17, 2011 at 11:07 am

    since there is the possibility to move the home directory to /etc/skel to preserve settings, where is the need for a backup option? what’s the difference? can’t you just add another option like “sudo relinux savehome” ?

    btw. you need to change the owner of /etc/skel to “user” after moving /home/user/ (maybe you should mention that in your blogpost

    • Anonymous Meerkat October 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      Some people want to backup their whole computer. I’ll add a way to do that, but not exactly a backup mode.
      Thanks for letting me know about that. I’ll update the post.

      • TJ October 18, 2011 at 3:32 am

        So it won’t “exacty” be a backup mode? How will this differ from the ‘backup mode’ in Remastersys? My ideal hope with Relinux is to have it being capable of doing at least all that Remastersys, such as the most important feature for me, a ‘backup mode’. So I am just curious what would be different, and why it is not planned to be “exactly” a backup mode.

      • Anonymous Meerkat October 18, 2011 at 3:35 am

        It’s on the configuration file instead.
        This is what it will look like:
        If you want a backup, change it to this:

      • TJ October 18, 2011 at 4:07 am

        Ah, I just noticed that after looking in your code on your project page. So by changing that option to a “Y” it will generate a ‘backup’, just like Remastersys did? As such, no need to do the /etc/skel thing with copying it all there, which I guess would do the same?

      • Anonymous Meerkat October 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm

        All that backup mode does, is that it just the /home directory. If you want to create a distribution, use /etc/skel instead.

      • TJ October 18, 2011 at 7:44 pm

        All that backup mode does, is that it just the /home directory. That’s it!
        If you want to create a distribution, use /etc/skel instead.

        Thank you. I thought so, Its just I’ve read in the past regarding Remastersys there was more to do.
        Anyway, so just to make it crystal clear, and to sound like even more of an ignorant moron (in my head :P), these three options do the exact same thing:

        1. Relinux’s option of “BACKUPMODE=”Y””
        2. Remastersys’s ‘Backup’ option
        3. Using ‘/etc/skel’ as your home directory technique

        …and will all generate an ISO exactly equal to one another? And if so, wouldn’t any of the three be considered creating a distribution, not just the ‘/etc/skel’ option?

        Sorry for being fairly repetitious and I’m sure a tad annoying here, I just want to have this straight in my mind. ;)

        • Anonymous Meerkat October 18, 2011 at 7:54 pm

          No, not at all!
          1, 2, and 3 make different things from one another.
          Relinux has a bug, so 1 and 2 are not the same. Relinux only adds the /home directory, and remastersys adds the /home directory and a few other entries.
          3 is very different, because /home is not included, so it’s the best way to go. It makes it so that every single user that installs the system will have a desktop that looks like the one in /etc/skel. That is the recommended way.

      • TJ October 20, 2011 at 9:06 am

        Oh, ok. I thought Remastersys had done more than just adding the /home directory in its ‘Backup’ mode. But I was hoping that Relinux’s ‘BACKUPMODE=”Y”‘ option would eventually (I know there are bugs with it right now) do the exact same thing. That is the one thing I really need with Relinux. But if that is not in the works, I guess I will have to figure out another method.

        See, this is my method. I do a fresh install, always using ‘me’ as my username, to make it easy (and many nautilus scripts, some custom deb packages, and paths all use ‘me’ so I always use that username anyway), tweak/update it to my liking, and then I Remastersys that in its ‘Backup’ mode. Then I can take that ISO, which I put on a flash drive, and throw my custom OS on numerous others (as well as having my full computer on a flash drive to show off), exactly as it is on my original machine, on numerous others. And then when I feel like updating it, I just reinstall the flash drive on my original machine, update/tweak it some more, and Remastersys again. This is my methodology. Easy peasy.

        Anyway, this is why a true ‘Backup’ mode like Remastersys had is my ideal. I did try that ‘/etc/skel’ method, to which, after a lot more research into it, I now know it is a bit different. By copying all /home folder stuff to ‘/etc/skel’ it supposedly keeps all that stuff in the ‘Distro’ mode, its just what differs that I can see is you can use whatever username you wish (not just ‘me’). Unfortunately, though, following your steps outlined above, I tried it numerous times and none actually worked for me. Every time I booted into the live disc it went straight to command prompt of sorts, saying ‘unable to display’ or something and that’s all. So Idk what is up with it there. Also, while above says to chown /etc/skel in USERNAME, other sites say root (I tried both). And usermod -d /etc/skel USERNAME; chown -R USERNAME /etc/skel, didn’t work, but usermod -d /etc/skel USERNAME; sudo chown -R USERNAME /etc/skel, was accepted (though still failed in the end). I’ll figure it out eventually.

        Regardless, if Remastersys’s ‘Backup’ mode does do more than just copy the /home directory, then that would create a huge issue as it would never be a backup like that of Remastersys. Ah, headaches. :P

        • Anonymous Meerkat October 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm

          Sorry, I didn’t write that correctly! Replace USERNAME by your actual username! I need to rewrite that part lol!

      • TJ October 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm

        Oh I got that. I replaced it with my actual username, ‘me’. I also tried ‘me:me’, but to no avail.

        • Anonymous Meerkat October 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm

          So you wrote these commands?
          usermod -d /etc/skel me; chown -R me /etc/skel
          Then you rebooted, and logged in as “me”?

      • TJ October 21, 2011 at 1:38 am

        Yep. I did these steps:

        Press CTRL+ALT+F3
        Log in as your normal user
        Type: sudo passwd
        Enter a password for root
        Type: exit
        Log in as root (with the password you gave for root)
        Type: usermod -d /etc/skel me; chown -R me /etc/skel
        Reboot your system (can be done with the reboot command)

        Tried those steps exactly, but with: usermod -d /etc/skel me; chown -R me /etc/skel, I got “chown was unable to find username or directory” (or something like that). I then tried ‘sudo chown -R me /etc/skel’ and it seemed to work. Then restarted, and backed things up. Rebooted with Distro ISO and failed to even boot. I also tried numerous ways of dealing with /etc/skel. I manually tried copying things to /etc/skel, chowning it in ‘root’, in ‘me’, just the folders inside in ‘root’, in ‘me’, as well as chowning just the folder /etc/skel in ‘root’ and then ‘me’, chown just the files inside in ‘me’, and etc. Nothing seemed to work.

  12. xapient October 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    i just realized that it is impossible for me to re-linux kubuntu 11.10 within virtualbox.. /dev /proc /sys are filled with files with a size of 0 B !!?? therefore these files were not copied to the squashfs/iso

    (same problem with remastersys) BUT i did this before with 11.04 ! what changed? what can i do about it? my custom.iso is about the size of 100mb, boot and panic :( (i still gave it a try ;-) )

    • Anonymous Meerkat October 17, 2011 at 10:16 pm

      Sorry, I don’t understand what you mean. Did /dev /proc and /sys start with 0B, or did re-linux register them as 0B?

  13. xapient October 17, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    If i start the virtual machine and list / i see all the folders and files that should be there BUT all files in /dev for example have 0 Byte sizes .. remastersys and relinux just ignore those files and create a cd iso filesystem with empty folders for /dev /proc and /sys

    the vm works fine (and i do not understand why things are the way they are) but the resulting image is small and useless (at least it gets me to a busybox)

    • Anonymous Meerkat October 18, 2011 at 3:19 am

      The /dev /proc and /sys problem is normal. I have 0B for all files too, and my system works fine.

      How big is the image? I’m currently looking if it is a bug in relinux. This might be fixed in relinux 0.3 (but you need to edit the configuration file though).

      • xapient October 18, 2011 at 6:38 pm

        the resulting image was between 150 and 200 MB – i just finished remastering my new installation on a laptop with remastersys (unfortunately the initram.gz is missing (backup mode) and the stick is not booting..)

        i will now try re-linux on this clean install on the laptop and hopefully be successful !

  14. TJ October 18, 2011 at 8:32 am

    For those interested, as of 18 October, I threw together an updated Debian (.deb) package of the latest source code of Relinux. It can be found here:

  15. jeff October 18, 2011 at 11:26 am

    if you could make relinux compatible for other distributions that would be great, lets say for sabayon (gentoo) maybe…?
    Those distributions dont have any tools like remastersys or so to do the “backup” mode.

    • Anonymous Meerkat October 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm

      Yeah, I am planning to support other linuxes than just Debian/Ubuntu.
      To do that, I’ll need extra testers, as I only have 3 test machines (2 desktops and 1 laptop) and 1 production machine, and I can only switch between 2 at a time (my production machine and my most powerful test machine).
      Here is my order of system compatability:

      1. Ubuntu
      2. Debian/Debian-based
      3. Fedora
      4. Gentoo
      5. Slackware
  16. jeff October 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    ok, great, i can offer to test it under sabayon.
    i fyou wanne test yourself virtual machines offer a great deal of options to run multiple systems, plus its a clean way to run systems since u can just revert to a previous state.

  17. Cale October 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for what you are working on here, I’m currently making a distro focusing on digital freedom and user protection, and I’ve been building it a couple different ways for users. I can’t wait till you get this really well developed it will make my life substantially easier. Good luck and thank you

  18. mudfly October 18, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I was looking at remastersys in the spring for a custom system for my employer. In the end I used a combination of preseed and shell scripts to perform my build. The system is pretty complex, and I would like to reduce the possible number of things that could fail, so that brought me out to look at remastersys again today. Noticing the project is dead, I ended up here.

    So unlike most people in this thread, my custom system is headless, and the install routine is completely unattended. This system is configured for virtualization via the proxmox repositories, and is based on Debian 5 (lenny). I do not install a desktop environment, as its not needed.

    Proxmox is about to release a new version, based on Debian 6 (squeeze). This is the second reason for me looking into remastersys, or its successor, relinux.

    So my question is, can relinux be used for an environment that is and will always remain without X, if not, what are the least number of X dependencies I can get away with?

    Has relinux been tested with Squeeze?


    • Anonymous Meerkat October 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm

      No, it does not work with squeeze yet, since Ubiquity is not packaged in squeeze.
      Debian support will come really soon though, but first of all, I’ll include the option to have a text-based installer.

  19. michael October 19, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Thank you! I’d just gotten a Ubuntu 11.10 system put together with Gnome-Shell and a few other goodies added in, wanted to install it at work tomorrow. Glad to see Remastersys living on in a new form. Hurray for open source!

  20. YF October 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Thanks for the post. I’m for some time struggling to create a LiveCD that meet all my requirements, and I couldn’t get enough help from remastersys before it was gone.

    I haven’t read through all the comments, so I don’t know if this was answered already: does Relinux can somehow handle additional users on the LiveCD? I need this to include a pre-installed Postgres database, which uses a special user as the owner of the database files.
    Using remastersys the folders were copied, but still owned by the postgres user, which was not present, so the data was not acessible.
    (I may not be expressing myself clearly enough or precisely enough, I’m still a Linux newbie)

    I’ll try Relinux as soon as possible, hope I can get this done once and for all!

  21. zabila October 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Very sorry for the disappearance of Remastersys and I find the joy of this new project.
    Thanks and later. Long live the free software

  22. Arkangyl October 19, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks for taking this task on! It is highly appreciated, and in my case, much needed.

    One thing I like to do (aside from make iso backups of my three Ubuntu systems that are exact snapshots of the whole system including the user – no, I do not prefer other backup methods at all for some reason after testing) is create a Live USB of my exact system with the /home directory and everything saved so I can do my personal online financial and accounting. I maintain an Ubuntu install for just this purpose that is used for nothing but this purpose so ideally the system is not compromised and “fresh” and merely gets updated and maintained with weekly remasters. Remastersys “backup” option was ideal, perfect, and easy for this goal. I also maintain a PCLinuxOS install for this purpose if needed (using their mylivecd script / program) though sometimes I have had issues with program conflicts and my financial software staying up to date under that distro. If there is any way you could set up re-linux to do the same thing(s) as mylivecd and remastersys, my problem(s) will be solved as right now I am in an area of major problems regarding this. For a non Linux Guru, it needs to be as easy as possible to install, update, and then create the iso from. Remastersys’ GUI was handy though even the terminal commands for mylivecd are rather straightforward more or less. I look forward to you getting the GUI in on 1.0 and also hope for an exact system backup option as that is necessary for my needs.

    Thanks again so much for all the work!!

  23. Arpan October 24, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I think WUBI support must be there for customized ISO or You can guide us “How to do it”..
    Thanks for your initiative of this project.

  24. inashdeenan October 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    hi, m y name is ihsan, and i really need a help on this. i’m building my own customizable linux to share with my friends. the problem is, the .iso keep on prompting for custom-desktop password. how can i overcome this annoying thing

  25. BioDeckard October 25, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I’d like to say thanks for you efforts. When I saw the “Closing Down” sign on the front page of remastersys I thought my days of customisation and distribution were over. RIP remastersys – Long Live Relinux. (Just relinuxed Ubuntu 11.10 64bit with fresh theme, sounds, icons, made Gnome3 the defaut login and not one hitch. Relinux worked like a charm dude)

  26. asp October 26, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Quick question. How long does relinux take compared to remastersys? and how much disk space does it need?

    On this older laptop with 1GB of ram and a 40GB hdd (25GB free) remastersys takes 5 hours to create an iso. It takes the free space on the hdd down to 0, which is lkely why the resulting iso dos not work. Is relinux more efficient?

    • Anonymous Meerkat October 26, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      I can’t tell you, as I’m not in front of your laptop. Check if it works or not, and if it does not, send me an email at giving more info about your laptop, and giving the configuration file.
      With that, I could try to help you.

      • asp October 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm


        I’ll give it a run overnight tonight and see what happens. I was just trying to get an idea of what to expect, if others have found the performance to be the same as rematersys or different.

  27. Jas October 27, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Hi, I have just used this to remaster my Kubuntu 11.10 install. Everything went well and I can boot into the custom dvd, I just can’t seem to get it to install. Is there anything that I need to do? Being a novice I probably have not done everything ok. Cheers.

    • Anonymous Meerkat October 27, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      Nope, you have done nothing wrong. This is a bug in relinux (fixed in the latest SVN release).
      Remove the file: /usr/lib/ubiquity/apt-setup/generators/40cdrom
      Then rerun relinux.

      • Jas October 28, 2011 at 8:36 am

        Thanks for the reply, did what you suggest and have ended with the same result. I am trying to install from the shortcut that is on the desktop, is that correct? Everything seems to be fine they live cd boots into the system ok and everything appears the be there.


      • Anonymous Meerkat October 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm

        OK, I suggest that you get the latest SVN snapshot, as it should fix it.
        Type this in a Terminal window:
        cd ~; sudo apt-get install subversion && svn checkout re-linux-code; cd re-linux-code; sudo cp -R etc usr /
        Then regenerate the configuration file:
        sudo relinux config
        Edit relinux.conf, then rerun relinux.

      • Jas October 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

        I am really sorry to be a pain, but it is still not working. I can not even get to remake to boot up it stops at: Adding live session user.
        I made some changes to the .conf file but only in regards to the user name for this system. I am not sure if there is anything else that I should be changing within this file. Again sorry for being a linux noob.


      • Anonymous Meerkat October 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm

        Could you email me your configuration file (

      • Jas October 30, 2011 at 9:54 am

        My config file is on its way

  28. Tony Brijeski October 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Remastersys is now alive. Due to the number of emails I received, I decided to continue development.

    • Ubunscrewed October 30, 2011 at 6:45 pm

      That’s nice, but I am going to wait and see how Relinux works. I don’t want to be left high and dry again. That really sucked.

  29. TJ October 27, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Anybody else catch this thread, regarding Remastersys? Apparently it is back.

  30. inashdeen October 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    im using linux mint 11.

  31. inashdeen October 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    u;oh. its a big file. i dont think my net connection could afford that :p

    • Anonymous Meerkat October 30, 2011 at 4:06 am

      Try this in a Terminal window:
      cd ~; sudo apt-get install subversion && svn checkout re-linux-code; cd re-linux-code; sudo cp -R etc usr /
      You will need to regenerate the configuration file:
      sudo relinux config
      Change the configuration file to your needs, then rerun relinux. If it still doesn’t work, email me the configuration file (

  32. CuriousGeorge October 29, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    So… How is the GUI coming along on Relinux? You need to add a Paypal donation icon to the top of this blog somewhere so we can thank you for your hard work here…

  33. luk1don November 1, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Hi, I’ve created my ISO with your tool and my ISO is very big size (930 mb)… but I don’t have many applications on it… I’m very sad:( What is the problem? Is it possible to increase compression rate?
    mksquashfs uses default block size 131072, maybe change this on bigger with option: -b 1048576?
    Also maybe recompress the initrd image?

  34. inashdeen November 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Enquiry, mine was big too. will increase block size do any harm on the ISO??

  35. Pete Luxford November 3, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Great post, and worked like a dream. One question, what are the right commands to reverse the moving of the home directory back to normal.

    The initioal commands you gave were…

    Press CTRL+ALT+F3
    Log in as your normal user
    Type: sudo passwd
    Enter a password for root
    Type: exit
    Log in as root (with the password you gave for root)
    Type: usermod -d /etc/skel USERNAME; chown -R USERNAME /etc/skel
    Reboot your system (can be done with the reboot command)


  36. JMR November 8, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Does it work on a standard Debian installation…as opposed to Ubuntu or Ubuntu-based system?

    I remember Remastersys used to get temperamental (read didn’t really work) with Debian…there were more steps you had to do

  37. Pingback: Remaster Ubuntu 11.10 (rangkuman yang mungkin terlupakan) « Menunggu Suatu yang Lebih Baik

  38. David Hume December 27, 2011 at 5:46 am

    ‘untar’ doesn’t work on the tar.gz file, so I archive extractor to put the files into my home directory. Then when I run ‘sudo cp -R usr etc wubick/etc wubick/usr /’ I just get error messages:
    cp: cannot stat `usr’: No such file or directory
    cp: cannot stat `etc’: No such file or directory
    cp: cannot stat `wubick/etc’: No such file or directory
    cp: cannot stat `wubick/usr’: No such file or directory
    ???? can someone help, please

    • SysAdmin January 1, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      When is this going to install correctly? I have tried to install this several times already, and I am still getting the above issue when I try to install this. What is wubick??? Is that Home? Is that User? Are you going to set up a PPA like Remastersys, or at least, something relatively simple, where I just need to add a deb line in synaptic, and download this application? I’ve been waiting here for 3 months for this to get somewhat available for normal use.. What’s the deal here? Is this a hobby or what? I need something that works.

      • Anonymous Meerkat January 2, 2012 at 4:14 am

        Yes, I will, that’s why I switched the project over to launchpad. It will be packaged into a PPA, but I’ll also submit it to the USC (Ubuntu Software Center), so you won’t have to add the PPA.

    • Anonymous Meerkat January 2, 2012 at 4:12 am

      Sorry for getting to you back so late. Make sure that the terminal was in your home directory, or wherever you extracted the files. Also, you can use a file manager, and copy/paste the files (usr, etc, wubick/usr and wubick/etc) to /.

      • David Hume July 29, 2012 at 7:22 am

        No wubick dir gets extracted from the tar ball.

      • Anonymous Meerkat July 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm

        Yeah, that’s fine (an error on my part for not including it, though I will include it in the final release of 0.3, which is scheduled right before 0.4a1). Just make sure that both the “usr” and the “etc” directories are extracted to /.

  39. tintaihsan January 2, 2012 at 6:55 am

    Not backing up Relinux or anything, but seriously, I suppose we need not to demand much. Relinux 0.4 is round the corner. If like me, user feel uncomfortable using cli, or having problem compiling it, then you can use remastersys for a while, at least until version 0.4 is released. after all, the license clearly states —> given without any warranty it will work :)

  40. Robin Mehdee January 18, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Hey, This is great. But I’d like to know how to put “Install ” icon on desktop. I made an iso but I have to install it from Apps>Others>
    Is there any way to put this icon on desktop while customizing?

    • Anonymous Meerkat January 18, 2012 at 4:14 am

      I’ll post a tutorial on this (for the next release, which will let you do that).

      • Robin Mehdee January 25, 2012 at 11:08 am

        It worked fine earlier. But today I attempted to make another custom dist and faced ‘no auto login’ after booting that dist. It wants username and password for “Others” and. Can you tell me what I can do rite now.

        My original dist is Ubuntu 11.10.
        Relinux version: 030a2

  41. mythrobins January 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I have solved the auto login problem. It’s casper.conf and relinux.conf. Both files must have similar info for username, name and system name or others.

    I have created a dist and auto logged in with the username I wrote on those files. But now another problem is when I attempt to install it by clicking on ‘RELEASE install’ it wants a password. Since its not a backup mode thats why my original system’s password is not working.
    Stucked once again.

    • Anonymous Meerkat January 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      That is a bug in the sudoers. It’ll get fixed in the new product (referenced in the Terrible News post in the website).

    • Robin Mehdee January 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      Eventually I have solved that issue too. It’s inside the /etc/sudoers.d
      You have to edit this file using terminal and typing ‘sudo visudo’ and at the bottom add this line:
      user ALL=NOPASSWD: ALL
      where user=your desired user name.

  42. Robin Mehdee January 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    well its working but the keyring password prompting is not stopped. All I have to do is pressing enter (no password). It works. Password prompting is not a real big problem here but it should be fixed. I still don’t know how to. But It wont be a good idea to remove gnome keyring :-/
    Any idea ?

  43. Robin Mehdee February 8, 2012 at 4:39 am

    the lightdm auto login issue can be solved
    check this out:

  44. johan March 2, 2012 at 6:54 am

    hi all,
    i try to “relinux” LUBUNTU and it’s work perfectly when run on live cd mode
    but i can’t install my “modified LUBUNTU” (stuck in setup window)
    anyone can help me ?

    if you wanna try my “modified lubuntu”, here’s the link (last post)

    • Anonymous Meerkat July 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      Sorry for getting back to you so late. Could you send a screenshot of the setup window when it gets stuck?

      • johan July 31, 2012 at 3:00 am

        sorry that’s my fault
        i’m running out of memory (try to install it at 256MB memory)
        it’s take very very long time to start install procedure after supply some info into setup pages
        problem solved after add some memory and it’s working perfectly :D

        will wait for GUI version :D

      • Anonymous Meerkat July 31, 2012 at 4:47 am

        Well thanks for reporting. I’ll try to remember to write the limitation of Ubiquity (the installer) with <=256MB somewhere.
        I'm starting to wonder whether a team (including me!) should make a cross-linux installer with low-end computers in mind…

  45. dilla August 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Many thanks for providing these details.

  46. Pingback: Relinux 0.3a3 is released! « lkubuntu

  47. debianhelp October 26, 2012 at 5:30 am

    I just tested this out on 12.10 and I am getting issues. Anyone else have problems using this and 12.10? Is there a PPA for this program yet? Is there a *.deb installation file for this yet? I know it is still in the alpha stages, but maybe I am installing this incorrectly?

  48. Pingback: [xubuntu] Remastersys or Relinux | Ubuntu Info - James n Sheri.comUbuntu Info – James n

  49. Ku September 1, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Hey dude! Thanks for work! Remastersys is good but that is slow. Can you port to Gtk too? Qt applications needs install qt dependencies. How to change relinux theme for gtk? The qt configuration don’t allow use gtk theme in this qt application.

    Please don’t leve this project. I love Debian, Ubuntu, Mint and Debian is the best!

  50. Pingback: Debian Stable Business card ISO of about 40-50MB?

  51. Puneet Singh April 24, 2014 at 6:30 am

    is 0.4 unstable ? because i was able to create iso successfully but booting fails in vmware
    error was like
    “This vm tried to execute invalid part of memory,possible that media you are using is not bootable ………………”
    , also i used win32 imager to create bootable pendrive,and again system failed to boot !

  52. Nospam forme June 8, 2014 at 5:55 am

    You sir, stole good working code, mauled it and rebranded it lol. Hey … at least it is less stable and more buggy though.

  53. Mats July 18, 2014 at 11:04 pm


    I wanted to save my themes and history etc. before I created the back-up so I used this command: usermod -d /etc/skel USERNAME; chown -R USERNAME /etc/skel. Now, after rebooting all my settings were restored to the defaults of the distro(which happened to be Crunchbang 32bit). Is there anyway I can restore my themes and everything that got moved to the /etc/skel directory? My home/USERNAME folder is still there with everything inside of it, but my computer reads /etc/skel as the home folder, so everything got back to default.

    I hope I didn’t do anything wrong, and it can be reversed. Otherwise I would be quite pissed because I wanted to create a backup of my distro without removing anything from that distro.

    Google didn’t help me(probably asking the wrong thing) so I hope you guys can!


  54. kartik July 27, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    iis it possible to use relinux on debain 7 wheezy please help

  55. Pingback: Ubuntu:New Ubuntu/Linux Flavor [duplicate] – Ubuntu Linux Questions

  56. Pingback: Unix/Linux:How can I create my own distro and include a custom kernel & packages? [closed] – Unix Questions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: