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Remastersys was an old backup program that converted a running Ubuntu or Debian system into an installer disk with the same packages as the 'master' installed, or into a live backup of the environment you were working on. It was dead simple (basically entirely automated as long as it was a supported system with enough space), and very useful for remastering your own disks. And the person who developed it had some clashes of personality with persons unknown, and, unfortunately, stopped developing it. Black Lab Linux's System Imager is a fork of this, but let's just say the selling price, and what I'm willing to pay don't match.

So, this is what I need:

  • I need to be able to back up a running Linux system with all the packages on it
  • I need to generate an ISO from this which I can then mount on live USB
  • It needs to be relatively simple - I don't want to jump through a bunch of hoops to get this to work
  • GUI preferred, though if it's curses-based and will run me through dialogues to back up a CLI-only system, it's super-cool
  • Works on Ubuntu and Debian at least, though if it works on Fedora and RHEL, I'd be overjoyed

Options I'd like to have:

  • Pick between backup mode - with my /home copied over to the live CD too or to generate a 'fresh' system for install with my packages
  • supports Btrfs filesystems
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  • 1
    In the near decade since I asked this question I have seen at least one remastersys fork wither on the vine and switched my Linux builds to pure CLI systems that are nearly reproducible from my notes. I kinda stopped needing remastersys at some point 😅 Feb 28 at 13:01

2 Answers 2

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Note: Duplicate of https://askubuntu.com/questions/190133/what-are-the-alternatives-for-remastersys and https://askubuntu.com/questions/452022/remastersys-alternative

See Pinguy Builder:

The script creates a livecd of the installed system and works with *buntu. You can either make a distributable livecd or a backup of your system. Version 3.* works with *buntu systems 14.04 (May also work with 14.10. If not use version 4.*)

Version 4.* works with *buntu systems 15.04+ (15.10 Beta1 is missing xresprobe)

xresprobe can be downloaded from here: https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/xresprobe

Once xresprobe is installed in 15.10 Pinguy Builder will work/install.

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The project lives on here.

Images >4GB now supported.

All we need now are ports to other Linux versions for portability e.g from AWS:

sudo apt install remastersys*.deb

sudo apt install xorriso

man remastersys

sudo remastersys backup
  ___ ___ __  __   _   ___ _____ ___ ___  _____   _____
  | _ \ __|  \/  | /_\ / __|_   _| __| _ \/ __\ \ / / __|
  |   / _|| |\/| |/ _ \\__ \ | | | _||   /\__ \\ V /\__ \
  |_|_\___|_|  |_/_/ \_\___/ |_| |___|_|_\|___/ |_| |___/
  Version 4.9-1

BACKUP MODE SELECTED

Checking if the /home/remastersys folder has already been created.

Copying /var and /etc to temporary area and deleting extra files.

Setting up Live CD options for mode backup.
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-4.19.0-25-cloud-amd64
live-boot: core filesystems devices utils memdisk udev blockdev dns.

Copying your kernel and initrd to the Live CD.

Creating filesystem.squashfs. It will take a while, so be patient...

Parallel mksquashfs: Using 1 processor
Creating 4.0 filesystem on /home/remastersys/ISOTMP/live/filesystem.squashfs, block size 1048576.
[================================================================================\] 29001/29001 100%

...
Creating remastersys-livecd.iso in /home/remastersys using grub-mkrescue.

Creating remastersys-livecd.iso.md5 in /home/remastersys.

/home/remastersys/remastersys-livecd.iso is ready to be burned or tested in a virtual machine.

Check the size and if it is larger than 4GB, the USB key must be formatted in exFAT:
365M /home/remastersys/remastersys-livecd.iso

It is recommended to run "sudo remastersys clean" once you have burned and tested the image remastersys-livecd.iso.
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    nerun's remastersys has been archived by the author on 2024-01-07. Just before the license was changed (GPLv2 to GPLv3), which is odd to me.
    – Pablo A
    Feb 27 at 18:37

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