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  1. #1


    I have always seen remastersys or similar as a critical application to have in a distro yet few have it and I've always wondered why not. I maintain probably a dozen computers in my extended family (that all have similar hardware) and I find it very efficient to install and tweak a distro once, run the remaster to create a bootable USB stick, and then move the distro to different machines.

    Any idea why this isn't a more popular application?

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer docbop's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Woodshed, CA
    I have never heard of the tool and searching for it, it appears the developer is throwing the towel in and EOL'ing it. So you may want to grab a last copy while you can.

    A lion does not lose sleep, over the opinion of sheep.

  3. #3
    At least one other developer has picked up the gauntlet - they used to produce OS4 and it's now called BlackLabImager. The functionality is also available in MX-14 and antiX and it's called snapshot. It just amazes me that more distros don't include this capability as I see it as a must have.

    The most efficient I've seen at this is the capability in MX-14/antiX as it's just so easy to use. The tough part of this capability is that the created image needs an installer so the Buntu clones all bring in Ubiquity where the MX-14 installer has been tweaked to recognize you're installing from a remaster...

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  5. #4
    For those that may not understand the use for this capability, here's a scenario:

    You want to install distro-x on 6 similar machines and you want them all to be setup identically in terms of software and DE. You take one machine, do the base install, add/remove programs and setup everything to your liking. Now you have one machine setup perfectly as you need it you could just repeat this step 5 more times -or:

    Make an installable remaster of the machine you just finished and do the install on the 5 other machines from this remaster - you're done. All the machines in my family are duplicates so I can troubleshoot over the phone if needs be. I also keep a remaster handy any time I do any major system changes as a safety net. If I lose my hard drive install, I can have it back in operation in just minutes by installing the remaster again.

    A caveat - on older hardware this process can take hours and it uses 100% of CPU power to make the squash file. On my Core I-7 laptop it takes less than 15 minutes start to finish to make the bootable USB stick. Note that I keep very little data in the /home directory as most of my data is stored on separate partitions or external drives. This is not a generic backup capability you would use to backup your data as the resulting ISO file has to be < 4GB in size...

  6. #5
    Linux Guru
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Tucson AZ
    Remastersys is a great program for the purposes you describe. The developer dropped it several years ago and came back. I doubt he will do that again. It is just too much work for one person and according to his website, he got no financial help or little help of any kind but lots of suggestions for more features/work for him.

    PCLinuxOS has mylivecd which does the same as remastersys but only works on PCLinuxOS. Opensuse has SuseStudio where you can created a modified system and iso file online and download it.

  7. #6
    Both antiX and MX-14 use "snapshot" which is a very efficient tool - probably the best I've seen. Since the utility of an ISO image is tied to the installer, the Buntu based systems have to bring in the entire Ubiquity package which adds a lot of overhead. The installer for MX-14 is very compact and does a great job very quickly and this makes it a great application...

  8. #7
    Me, I just burn one of these and forget about it.

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  9. #8
    I actually downloaded that and it looks like a good solution for whole disk or whole partition backups. The benefit of a snapshot (or remaster) is that I can install it on any partition and it will contain the entire OS as I have it configured. The problem with whole disk/partition backups is that it's usually impossible to move the system to a smaller drive. Before I create the restore image with Win 7, I shrink the partition as much as it will shrink to allow some flexibility on the restore. If your 500 GB drive brows up and all you have on hand is a 250 - you're out of luck even if you only had 5 GB of used space on the partition...

  10. #9
    Found another solution to this issue that works very well, qt4-fsarchiver (or fsarchiver if you want CLI). On my fast laptop, I backed up my tweaked Mint system (small amount of data) and it made the file in about 7 minutes. I swapped in a fresh drive that was a different size (partitioned in advance) and restored the Mint system in under 3 minutes. Ran Grub Doctor to make sure I had a working grub for the reinstalled system and rebooted - smooth as silk.

    I used my trusty Parted Magic USB stick to do these tasks and it worked perfectly. Now, I can take a snapshot of an installed and tweaked system and store it on my external drive in case I need to reinstall it. This will become my mode of operation before making any big changes or updates - nice to have a reinstallable system backup on hand and ready to go...

  11. #10
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Either at home or at work or down the pub
    Quote Originally Posted by rokytnji View Post
    Me, I just burn one of these and forget about it.

    Redo Backup Bare Metal Restore Solution GUI Backup Open Source GPL Recovery
    Nice. Downloading now and then I'm going to take a full backup.
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    There's only one true answer my friend,
    It's Adam Bloody West!

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