Over the years, I've spent a fair amount of my time pointing out how I would "create" an Ubuntu-based distro differently if given the opportunity. Then it struck me -- I can create my own Ubuntu-based distro release using Ubuntu remastering tools!
Thanks to the tools I'm going to share with you in this article, creating an Ubuntu-based distro no longer requires you to be an advanced Linux user.
Installing Remastersys was a bit problematic, since I had some issues with authenticating the repository key. Once I got past this, I then ran into errors during the installation as well. As it turned out, it was an issue with a conflict between remastersys-gui and remastersys-gtk.
Apparently, I needed to select remastersys-gtk. Upon first run of the Remastersys front-end, I was presented with the warning to close anything I had open. There was also the suggestion that I unmount any network shares. Sound advice, as this sort of thing could create problems when rolling your own distro.
Since it had been awhile since I've used Remastersys, I was surprised at how well the software buttons were laid out.
Backup - This is the button to make a complete backup of your existing Ubuntu installation.
Dist - The option you'd choose to if you wanted to create a distributable version of your installation.
Distcdfs - Same as Dist, except that you are free to add additional files to the CD _ for example, if you wanted to add a different browser. This is where you would do your file customization.
Distiso - After adding additional files using Distcdfs, you would then use this button to create the ISO for your distro CD.
Clear, Boot Menu image for LiveCD, Boot Menu image for installed environment, User settings, and Plymouth theme are also provided after Distiso. On the Settings tab, you will find additional advanced settings such as files to skip, CD naming scheme and Squashfs options.
For a intermediate Linux enthusiast, I'd say this is a great option for creating a custom ISO. While there are alternatives available that offer different CD creation toolsets, this is a good option if your ISO creation needs are relatively simple.
For $5, you can use the web-based distro creator known as Reconstructor. After finishing my $5 purchase, my heart immediately sank upon reading the news that they're "finally" supporting Ubuntu 11.10 OS templates.
Feeling disappointed before even starting, I clicked the Create Project button on the upper left. Suddenly my disappointment went from a hunch to reality when I confirmed that Ubuntu 12.04 hasn't been made available yet.
Yes, after paying for this software, I must either wait for them to catch up or opt for an older Ubuntu release. My mind is really blown that they're still offering images of Ubuntu 9.04. Needless to say, I would like my $5 back.
The only saving grace of this software thus far is that I can select Debian releases instead of Ubuntu if I'd like. That, and I can also choose other desktop environments such as KDE or XFCE. It's kind of nice not being limited to Gnome only.
After naming my project, I am then presented with a screen indicating that I am supposed to do something. On another hunch, I clicked the project name that appeared on the upper left and, sure enough, more options appeared: Packages, Modules, Members, Tags, Files and an Advanced section.
Immediately I realized this isn't for newbies. You must know exactly what you're doing or this isn't the tool for you.
My advice if you want something advanced? Consider UCK and save yourself $5. This is a neat concept, but honestly, it was misleading from the very beginning as to the level of difficulty. It's not for intermediate users, it’s best for advanced enthusiasts.