Friday, 15 March 2013

Remastering The Bodhi Linux Live CD

Bodhi Linux is a great minimal Linux distribution based on Ubuntu, featuring the Enlightenment window manager (although Enlightenment is more than just a window manager).

At the time of writing the latest version of Bodhi Linux is 2.2.0 and the download weighs in at a mere 567MB for the 32-bit version and 600MB for the 64-bit version.

On with the remastering ...

Bodhi Linux is a minimal distribution, meaning that it comes with very few applications, which is a good thing as it allows you to basically set everything up the way you want. But as with all distributions the first thing you'll need to do is update after installing.

The general process for updating is documented over at the Bodhi website, but is merely a case of selecting 'Synaptic Package Manager' from Main Menu - Settings - All - System. Once open, click the 'Reload' button to get the latest file lists, then click the 'Mark All Upgrades' button, then wait as it will download all the available updates and upgrades. Or if you wish to do this in the terminal use the command sudo apt-get update && time sudo apt-get dist-upgrade.

Then comes the important part. Install everything you want to install, and optionally remove anything you do not want.

On with the remastering (really this time) ...

Once you have Bodhi Linux setup how you like it you may want to create a live CD/DVD so you can give a copy to your friends or just so that should you install it again there will not be so many updates, and all your chosen packages will be available from the get go.

This is all done with a nice GUI (Graphical User Interface) using Remastersys, which I believe is installed by default, but if not just search the Synaptic Package Manager for 'remastersys' and install it. Or if you wish to do this in the terminal use the command sudo apt-get install remastersys.

Once installed Remastersys can be found in the main menu (Main menu - Settings - All - System - Remastersys), once you click it the first thing it will do is ask for an administrative password, then a dialogue box will appear:

Basically it just means close any other programs you have running. Then the main screen is available:

Although there are a ton of options, the only button you are going to need is the one labeled "Dist". Click it and allow Remastersys to do its thing (which may take a while depending on the number of extra programs you installed up to this point - mine took a while because I installed MAME, 2GB of ROMs, and a few other things). Once it is done an ISO will be created, the default location for this is /home/remastersys/remastersys, and will be called Custom-1.iso.

That is all there is to it. Now burn the ISO to CD or DVD (depending on size) and you are done. My personal preference for burning the ISO is Brasero. Then use that CD/DVD to boot any computer to your own 'custom' live Linux environment (it goes without saying a 64-bit will not run on a 32-bit system).

Optional: If you wish to use your newly created ISO on a USB thumb drive, then you can use Unetbootin (available via Synaptic Package Manager or the command sudo apt-get install unetbootin to create a bootable thumb drive, telling Unetbootin to use the ISO image.

Note: I did create a bootable USB thumb drive but I did not use the persistence option, that said as Bodhi Linux is Ubuntu based the persistence option should work.

For more, detailed, information about Remastersys and the other options available visit the Remastersys website.


  1. Why not just use unetbootin with persistence and then install everything? Seems you are going a long way to get a short distance.

    1. True, you could just install with Unetbootin, but the Remastersys option gives you a Live CD/DVD that you can use to install Bodhi Linux with including all your favorite packages.

      Personally, I create an ISO with the above method just before any major updates just in case. That way if anything should go wrong, install Bodhi from a USB, with the new ISO, and back up and running in about 10-15 minutes.


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