How to create your own OS using Customizer

In this guide we will use Customizer to create our own OS, Customizer is a liveCD customisation tool. We are going to need a few things before we can begin Customizer, a host system with Ubuntu 12.04 or older installed (it hasn’t been tested on newer versions) and a liveCD ISO. You should only edit the architecture of an ISO that is the same as the host system, I.e. a 32-bit host system can only modify a 32-bit ISO and a 64-bit host system can only modify a 64-bit ISO. For a list of compatible ISO’s check out the Customizer FAQ. In this guide we will use the Ubuntu mini remix ISO instead of an official Ubuntu/derivitive liveCD. I did this as I only wanted a base to build from rather than a full system to modify to my liking, you can find everything you need at these links :

Ubuntu 12.04 for the host system


Ubuntu mini remix 12.04

I am going to skip how to install your host system and customizer, however quick guides can be found here :

Install Ubuntu

Install Customizer

Once you have both Ubuntu and Customizer installed start Customizer and you will be asked to enter your password as you will need root privelidges, you should be greeted by this screen : customizer1 Before you start there are a few settings you may want to change (depending on your preferences) you can leave the defaults if you want, if not click “Main” then “Settings” and choose what you would like to change : customizer2 After you have done this click “Select ISO” and navigate to where you saved your Ubuntu mini remix ISO. This will extract the ISO for you to customise, some of the buttons should be highlighted and some not at first : customizer3 To get these 2 buttons highlighted like the rest we need to install a package manager and a desktop environment/window manager (synaptic/openbox in this case). First click “Edit Sources” and uncomment (delete the #) at the beginning of any line you would like to add to your sources, mine looks like this : customizersourcesscreenshot Save the file and exit, then click the button “Terminal”, once it has loaded, the last line will say something like this :


To install synaptic package manager simply type in :

apt-get install synaptic

Press “Y” when prompted to install synaptic, when it has finished type in exit to close the window, this is important as clicking the “x” to close can cause some locking issues with the filesystem. You should now have the “Archive” button highlighted, now on to the “Desktop” button. Click on “Extras” at the top and then “Install GUI”, you will be presented with a terminal window with a few options : customizerinstallGUI To install openbox press the “6” key and hit enter, this will install the bare minimum amount of packages to run openbox, when it has finished type exit to close the terminal window. All the buttons should now be highlighted in your customizer screen : customizerbuttons Next we install the programs we would like on our OS, for a list of the programs i installed check out my O.U.R Release notes post. You can install programs via terminal or package manager in the usual way, to do it by terminal click the “Terminal” button and install packages from the window that opens, for example to install chromium in the terminal : customizerinstallterminal To install via synaptic click the “Archive” button and then search for any packages you wish to install, for example to install chromium in synaptic : customizerinstallsynaptic Please note that if you want to make your ISO installable (and not just run as a liveCD) and you are using the Ubuntu mini remix then you must install “Ubiquity” the installer program and a front end for it (GTK, etc). Once you have everything you want to include in your OS installed we have a few other things we can configure. If you want to edit the GRUB and SYSLINUX splash you will see on boot-up then click “Extras” and click either “Grub2” or “Syslinux” to edit them. You can insert your own image and change the colours/theme of the highlighted and selected text :

If you want to add any files into the ISO, such as wallpaper/themes/icons, then use the “Directories” tab at the top and choose the appropriate folder you would like to add your files into, you should just be able to copy and paste from your host system to the window it opens for you. The last tab at the top is “Files” from here you can edit certain files, such as /etc/casper.conf and /etc/lsb-release, in the text editor of your host system.

Now to configure your system for how you would like it to look and feel when you install it or run the liveCD of it. To do this click “Desktop” and let the window load, you will be presented at the desktop of your ISO and will be logged in as root, it will be a very basic grey screen with nothing on it. If you right click on the desktop you will see your openbox menu. All configuration files will be saved in the /root folder of your ISO’s filesystem and when you build the ISO they will be copied to /etc/skel as the defaults so do not add any autostart files/configuration files in there, place them in the /root folder.

I’m not going to explain how i set up my desktop (have a google for some guides, i followed this one to help me set up openbox), instead i will just leave relevant links to pastebins of my configuration files which were located in my /root folder and then copied to /etc/skel when i built the ISO :

Openbox Autostart =

My conky.conf =

My menu.xml =

My rc.xml =

My tint2rc =

With everything configured hit “Rebuild ISO” and let it do its thing, when its done type in exit to exit the terminal window, you should be able to burn the created ISO to CD/DVD or flash it to a USB and install in the normal way,  here is a screenshot of my Openbox Ubuntu Remix :


If you have any problems then leave a comment and ill get back to you, enjoy !


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