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Remastersys FAQ

Page history last edited by Fragadelic 15 years, 11 months ago

 Remastersys - a backup utility for Klikit, Ubuntu and derivatives




What is remastersys?


Remastersys is a tool that can be used to do 2 things with an existing Klikit or Ubuntu or derivative installation.


  1. It can make a full system backup including personal data to a live cd or dvd that you can use anywhere and install.
  2. It can make a distributable copy you can share with friends.  This will not have any of your personal user data in it.



How did it come to be?


It was initially created by my desire to be able to easily backup or create distributable copy of an Ubuntu or derivative installation.  Inspiration for this tool came from the mklivecd script that Mandriva uses and the remasterme script that is in PCLinuxOS.  I had originally looked at some way to port these over to Ubuntu but that proved to be way too much work asit wasn't compatible with casper and ubiquity and required too many Mandriva specific things so I set out to create remastersys from scratch.


After studying casper and ubiquity along with some wikis on the internet I created the first version of remastersys.  The biggest problem had to do with the making of the live cd user.  I had initially made a small workaround that created the livecd user during the building of the livecd system but that wasn't always consistent and became a showstopper with Feisty.  I took a few months off from working on it to enjoy the summer with my family.


I was about to give up on it until I received a nice message from Chris of Klikit who informed me he had used remastersys to create Klikit.  After taking a look at Klikit and seeing how great it was, I decided to push the rest of the way and finish it.  I ironed out the last few bugs and remastersys 2.0 was born.  It should be released shortly as I am also working on a gui frontend for it for the folks that aren't comfortable enough to use the command line interface.



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 on the desktop and you can select which option you want to run.



Some notes about using the dist option


You should start with a clean install of Klikit, Ubuntu or variant and use a single user to make all changes.  You should not install any proprietary video drivers like the nvidia drivers 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, it is not recommended to open any other apps or windows.  It is highly recommended to become root to do this by issuing "sudo su" in a terminal window and then running "remastersys dist". 



Some notes about the backup option


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 ones 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.



GDM specific notes


Due to the many problems with casper creating the livecd user if the gdm.conf was altered, remastersys now uses the factory-gdm.conf file found in /etc/gdm for the livecd/dvd.  If you wish to put your gdm customizations in this file, please do so at your own risk but make a backup copy first.  This is recommended for advanced users only.  If the livecd/dvd fails to boot, remove your changes and leave the factory-gdm.conf file as it was originally.



Limitations from applications used by remastersys


mkisofs - Currently there is a file size limit of 4.0GB for iso9660 which means that the compressed filesystem must be below 4GB.

casper - the ubuntu livecd scripts are very picky about creating the livecd user.  If you have issues, please run pwck and grpck as root to fix /etc/passwd and /etc/group.  These have to be in sync in order for casper to create the livecd/dvd user.



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


The main support area is on the Klikit User Forum - http://loscompanion.com/forums/index.php?board=58.0



What license is remastersys covered by?


It is released under the GNU GPL Version 2 - http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0.html



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:


# Remastersys

deb http://www.remastersys.klikit-linux.com/repository remastersys/


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


Who created remastersys?


It was created by me - Tony Brijeski aka Fragadelic on the Klikit forum.


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