based on v2.0.0

Project author Francesco Muriana
Official project web site http://code.google.com/p/ubuntu-builder
Official support forum http://ubuntubuilder.altervista.org
E-Mail ubuntubuilder@live.it

Step 1 - Starting
Step 2 - The GUI
Step 3 - Download ISO
Step 4 - Select ISO
Step 5 - Edit Sources
Step 6 - Synaptic
Step 7 - Cli Chroot
Step 8 - GUI Chroot
Step 9 - Ubiquity
Step 10 - DEB Packages
Step 11 - Presets
Step 12 - Packages List
Step 13 - Settings
Step 14 - Build
Step 15 - Wizard
Step 16 - Try
Step 17 - Save & Load
Step 18 - Cleaning


This guide aims to help people during the various stages of customizing an operating system based on Ubuntu. It describes the various steps associated with images that show the various stages of personalization.

STEP 1 - Starting

When you start Ubuntu Builder, you will be prompted to set the language to use in the interface. The languages listed in the menu are those in which Ubuntu Builder has been translated. Select your language and press OK.

STEP 2 - The GUI

The interface of Ubuntu Builder is divided into six sections, each of which has a specific function.

The first section contains the buttons to download Ubuntu and start the process of extracting the ISO image.

The second section contains fields for entering basic information of the new distribution you will create. You can type the name of your new distribution and other useful informations about it.

The third section contains the tools for customization. From installation of the most common graphical interfaces to tools such as graphic chroot, from customizing the Ubuntu installer to using Synaptic. Ubuntu Builder offers various solutions, simple to use, to customize the distribution.

The fourth section contains the buttons to be used after customization. The first allows you to create the ISO image of the distribution, the second allows you to boot the ISO created in a virtual machine (using QEMU) to test its proper functioning.

The fifth section contains four buttons. Through these you can launch the wizard, export or import a project and manage the settings of the current project.

The sixth and last sections consists in the application menu. Through this menu you can view informations about the program version in use, reset the default language and display this help.

STEP 3 - Download ISO

The first step is to obtain an ISO image of Ubuntu. You can use both 32-bit and 64-bit images. Using the "Select ISO" you can download a "standard" ISO image from www.ubuntu.com website or a "mini remix" from ubuntu-mini-remix.org. In the second case, a download window will appear where you can choose the version of ubuntu mini remix to download and the path where to save it.

Click on "Download" and once the download is complete you will be notified by a popup.

STEP 4 - Select ISO

Let's take a look at the selection of the ISO and its extraction. Click on the menu "Select ISO" => "From local disk". This opens a dialog box where you can choose an ISO image saved on your hard disk. Just click the ISO and press "OK" to start extraction.

Once extraction process has finished, you will return to the main window. At this point you can begin to customize your distribution.

STEP 5 - Edit sources

The first thing to do, very important to ensure that you can continue with the customizations, is to verify that the `sources.list` is properly loaded. To do this, press the button shown below.

This feature also allows you to add your favorite distribution repository. Any changes made to the `sources.list` must be confirmed by clicking on "Save".

STEP 6 - Synaptic

A first method of customization is the `Synaptic` package manager. It provides a quick reference of packages that can be upgraded, with the ability to add new packages, delete unnecessary ones and manage everything with ease.

If in the ISO you are customizing there is not Synaptic, Ubuntu Builder will provide for its installation. At the end of this, Synaptic will start and you can easily work with packages.

When working on packages is finished, just close the window to return to the main screen of Ubuntu Builder. If you need to use Synaptic more than once, Ubuntu Builder will not install it again, so it will start immediately.

STEP 7 - Cli chroot

The command line chroot allows you to start a terminal with root privileges and use it as if you were using your own operating system. You can type the most common commands like `apt-get update` or `dpkg-reconfigure -a` to install, modify, update, delete and manage all the packages in the new system.

Moreover, the command line chroot is helpful if you want to edit one or more configuration files to adapt the new system to your needs. Be careful: all commands you type are executed as root. This means that a faulty entry can lead to negative outcomes during the creation of your new distribution.

STEP 8 - GUI chroot

The graphical chroot is a very comfortable feature that allows you to customize your distribution watching exactly what are you doing. For example, if you want to change the settings of XFCE panel and do not want to act on the configuration file, you can use the graphical chroot to customize it as you would in a normal operating system.

Warning: some desktop environments of various releases of Ubuntu require that changes made are saved. For example, XFCE needs that the current session is saved by going to system settings => session and startup => save session.

STEP 9 - Ubiquity

Ubiquity is the name of the program that installs Ubuntu on the computer. Through the corresponding button you can change it at your leisure. The interface of the `Ubiquity` editor is very intuitive.

Just select your language and the desired item. The original file will be loaded and you can modify it to suit your needs. Before moving to a new item to edit, you must save the current work.

STEP 10 - DEB packages

If a DEB package is not available in the Ubuntu repositories, or is available but it is an older version of what you want to use, you can use the `Install deb packages` feature.

This feature allows you to choose one or more DEB packages and install them directly into the system you are creating. The program will resolve any dependencies and alert you if there are packages that conflict with what you are installing.

Once you click on the button, choose the DEB package you want to install and press OK. Except a few cases, the procedure will be completed in a few seconds.

STEP 11 - Presets

If the ISO image you are using is a "mini remix", an useful feature is the installation of customized presets.

In the highlighted part there are the most common desktop environments and window managers ready to be installed. Choose from the list what you prefer and Ubuntu Builder will start their installation. Note that the graphical components installed with this function are minimal. This means that, for example, you will not find any login manager or packages such as themes, icons, etc.

This is to ensure that the personalization is totally in your hands, so you have the complete choice of how to operate. The installation will take a few minutes and graphic components will be at your fingertips.

STEP 12 - Packages list

Through the button `Packages list`, you can see a list of all packages installed on your customized system with the corresponding version number. This list can be useful to compare your work with a future or an external one. This text file can be easily saved on your computer and used as needed.

STEP 13 - Settings

Ubuntu Builder allows you to adjust some settings that can be useful both in the customization and in the ISO image creation.

A first approach is to select the resolution used for the graphic chroot. There are some default resolutions, just choose the one that best fits your monitor to use graphical chroot
as well as possible.

In this first screen we can also adjust the memory that QEMU will use to virtualize the ISO once it is created. Simply move the slider to decrease or increase the quantity.

In the second screen, you can delete the files from the CD related to Windows (wubi, autostart.exe, etc). You can also select the default language at the live cd startup. When you turn on your computer with the live cd inserted, you have to select your language in the startup screen. With this function, all other languages ​​will be removed and the live CD will boot with the language you have chosen.

The last settings screen allows us to choose if, after completing the creation of the ISO, you want to create a live usb with your new system or want to burn it on CD. Select the option you need and, in case of burning, the software to do it. After you create the ISO image, the right program will start automatically.

STEP 14 - Build

Now that you have completed all the customizations, it's time to create the ISO image of your new distribution. Click the “Build” button and wait, Ubuntu Builder will build the ISO file of your new system.

Depending on the settings you've selected and the performance of your computer, the creation process can take from one minute up to several tens. A terminal window will tell you which steps have been completed and which remains to be done.

When finished, a popup will inform you that the ISO is correctly created in the working directory and that you can try it with QEMU.

STEP 15 - Wizard

The last method of customizing the system is represented by the `Wizard`. With this intuitive application, all that has been described up to now will be quick and easy to manage.

Click the button to start the wizard and follow the instructions, it has never been easier to modify a distribution.

STEP 16 - Try

If you want to check the proper functioning of the ISO image you just created, Ubuntu Builder provides QEMU, a practice virtual machine that allows you to verify that the system is workink properly before proceeding to burn the ISO image.

Click on the highlighted button and the virtual machine will start the ISO image using the amount of memory assigned in the settings.

When you have finished checking, just close QEMU to return to the main window of Ubuntu Builder. Warning: absolutely do not shut down the virtual machine. Because of chroot, it will shutdown your real operating system.

STEP 17 - Save & Load

If you want to save your work to resume it in future, maybe to start working on another project, you can use the export feature.

Once you start the export, wait for the end of the operation (it may take some time depending on the space occupied by the project) and a popup will inform you when it is completed.

Similarly, if you want to import a previously saved project, use the import feature. Once the import is finished, Ubuntu Builder must be restarted in order to start working on the project.

STEP 18 - Cleaning

After creating an ISO image, you may need to free up hard disk space by removing the working directory of Ubuntu Builder. It is located in `/home` and is easily eliminable from the terminal. But, to avoid accidental commands, there is a feature that takes care of its elimination automatically.

Once you press the button in the menu the working directory will be deleted within a few seconds. Warning: items deleted are not recoverable. Save everything you need before proceeding.

That's all, folks! If you need more support, use the links at the top of this help.