Reconstructor: Creating Your Own Ubuntu Distribution

Reconstructor is an Ubuntu GNU/Linux CD Creator that allows you to modify an existing Ubuntu distribution and save as your own Linux distribution. It uses the Desktop(Live), Alternate(Install), or Server disc as a base, and then allows for user customization.

You can basically customize the entire environment, such as add/remove software, change the default look (splash, themes, fonts, wallpaper, etc.), add desktop links, etc.

What you need:
– An iso file of your favorite Ubuntu distribution (can be Desktop Live or Alternate CD)
– An existing working Ubuntu on your machine

Installing Reconstructor

Download Reconstructor deb file

Double click the downloaded deb file to install it in your system.

Using Reconstructor

Go to Applications -> System Tools -> Reconstructor. Enter your password and the Welcome screen will load up.

Click Next in the Welcome screen

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Choose the type of installer you are using, Desktop (Live CD) or Alternate (Install CD). Click Next.

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The next screen is to setup the working environment. If you are doing it for the first, check the following boxes:

  • Create Remaster
  • Create Root
  • Create Initial Ramdisk

This will creates the cdrom directory, the root filesystem directory and the initial ramdisk (initrd) directory. If you are continuing from a previous session and want to keep the existing trees (which will keep all installed software and customizations), unselect the options.

Under the “Live CD ISO filename” field, select the path to where the Ubuntu ISO file is located.

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Click Next. This will bring you to the customization screen.

Customization

1. Boot Screen

The first tab you see in the customization screen is the boot screen. This is where you splash screen for the Live CD and during bootup. For the Live CD splash screen, it have to be a 640×480 .pcx image in GIMP. Here is a tutorial on how to create the boot up usplash screen.

Unless you are using Ubuntu 6.06, ignore the generate button.

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Gnome

The next tab is where you customize the look and feel of the desktop. You can configure the GNOME theme, login-screen, wallpaper, default font, borders, icons etc. A good place where you can find tons of beautiful theme is http://www.gnome-look.org.

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Apt

This section allows you to select the Apt Repositories for your own distribution. Unless you know what you are doing, it is safe to check the 4 default Ubuntu repositories. You can also add your custom repositories in the text box below, one repository per line.

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Optimization

Advanced customization for advanced users. Configure it if you know what you are doing. If you know nothing about it, just skip this section.

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LiveCD

The LiveCD section is for customizing the live environment. If you are using applications that require remote access, it is best to set your username and password. Otherwise, for general distribution, leave all the fields blank.

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Modules

This is the most important part of the whole process. You can decide which application/modules you want in your Ubuntu. When choosing your module, you can select it as a standard Execute which installs the application by default, or, a “run on boot” mode that will set the module to run on boot after the live user logs in.

There are plenty of modules where you can download from the reconstructor site. Once you have download the third party modules, click ‘Add‘ to include it in the module selection.

To include (or remove) any applications not found in the modules, you can enter the application name in the “sudo apt-get install” or “sudo apt-get remove” fields.

Click Apply to confirm any changes that you made. The program will configure and install the selected software and update the ISO size real time.

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Once you are done with your customization, click Next. This will bring you to the Build screen where the program will create the Live CD for you.

Build the distribution

Before you start to build your distribution, make sure that all the boxes are checked. They are all necessary to create the root filesystem, compress it to a Live CD ISO. Enter the path to where you want the ISO file to store. Click Next.

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Sit back and wait.

Once the build is finished, you will get a status message followed by the path to the .iso file. To burn the ISO file to disc, click “Burn ISO

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15 comments

  1. Hi. I tried this and for whatever reason my dvd won’t boot. I had to put it on a DVD because it was a little bit to big for a cd. Could this be the problem? It said that you can put it on a dvd. It seems to work find if i open it in windows and install it as an application. I am using ubuntu 8.04 64-bit.

    thanks,
    alex

  2. @alex: Did you select the option “Create Remaster”, “Create Root” and “Create Initial Ramdis”? Those are essential for the booting up of the CD. It should work in DVD too.

  3. Hi. Im create my distributive for your Reconstructor. Im change interfaces graphic (gdm, gtk, icons, wallpapers etc.). Mmm.. Iso making, but.. Im testing this iso in Vbox, Distributive starting, but in loading, input error “Avahi daemon loading – fail”.. What patching this?
    p.s. sorry for my inglish- im from Russia and in school – lesson Espaneol language.

  4. Is there a way to make a USB bootable version with this software?
    (I would like to make one distro for my asus eeepc)

    • Hey Ante, to make a bootable USB drive you just have to do some simple steps:

      Make sure the drive’s format is FAT
      Extract the iso file to the drive

      boot

      ~AGeNt SMiTH

  5. Is there any way with Reconstructor to pre-load files into the /home directory? I would like to create a live distro for use in training folks how to use Linux and it is important to have some “sample” files (text, csv, logs, etc) in /home. I did not see an option in the description above to load /home as I create a distro.

  6. Hey. Is it just me but all the programs you try and add to the Modules just dont work. It keeps saying it cant find the package.

    Oz

  7. Hi.Its working fine in Live CD.
    Can you please share Alternate (installation CD) procedure also.

  8. IT DOES NOT WORK!!!

    Nothing is what I set it too…only the fonts are what i set it too!!

    What the HELL is going on??

  9. what’s the difference betwen the live cd creator and install cd, I created a live cd with your tutorial but when I try to install in my cpu it doesn’t work it send me an error, only can use the live cd without install

  10. I hate this blog software. Way too many false-positives on spam.

    And I’m sorry to say that this is NOT making a new distro. It’s remastering, nothing more than affecting what packages are installed by default. Making a distro actually involved DEVELOPMENT and building stuff from source and actually making something different.

    Also, it’s LINUX distribution, not UBUNTU distribution.

    Damn Ubuntards.

  11. My apology for the false positives. The spam filter is not working as it should be. I have now switched to Disqus, hopefully it will get better.

Comments are closed.

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