How to customize Ubuntu or Linux Mint Live ISO with Cubic

cube Or custom Ubuntu ISO Creator, is a GUI that can be used to create a custom bootable Ubuntu Live CD (ISO). Although the application is for Ubuntu, it can also run on Linux Mint/be able to create a custom Linux Mint ISO. This article contains step-by-step instructions on how to use Cubic to create a custom Ubuntu or Linux Mint ISO.
The application comes with an integrated command-line chroot environment, which can unpack and package the ISO for you, and it is also populated with some “smart defaults to simplify the customization process,” mentioned on the document’s web page.

Although Cubic uses a graphical user interface, all actual Ubuntu or Linux Mint ISO customizations must be performed from the command line (although GUI applications can be run from Chroot, but I cannot make it work with Cubic’s Chroot). Therefore, you need to be at least familiar with installing software from the command line to make your own custom Ubuntu or Linux Mint ISO. Obviously, it depends on what adjustments and modifications you want to make in the custom ISO. As far as UEFI support is concerned, Cubic will use the files in the host to create an EFI ISO. Therefore, when using a host system that uses EFI, you need to create a custom Ubuntu or Linux Mint ISO to create a custom ISO with EFI enabled. See Launch pad For more information.
I tried to use Cubic on Ubuntu 18.04 system to create custom Ubuntu 18.04.1 and Linux Mint 19 ISO, and the software can work normally.

Install and use Cubic to create a custom Linux Mint or Ubuntu ISO

Install Cube
Use the following command to add Cubic PPA and install the software on Ubuntu or Linux Mint system:

                        sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cubic-wizard/release
sudo apt update
sudo apt install cubic

To create a custom Ubuntu or Linux Mint ISO using Cubic, please follow the steps below: 1. Start Cubic from the desktop menu and select the directory for the new project.
Just create a new empty folder and select it from Cubic. This is the directory where Cubic extracts the ISO, and also the directory that holds the final customized Ubuntu/Linux Mint Live ISO file. Cube custom Ubuntu or Linux Mint ISO creator

When finished, click Next 2. Select the ISO you want to customize.
This can be Ubuntu, Linux Mint (including Ubuntu 20.04 or Linux Mint 19.*), any Ubuntu or Mint version, or other Ubuntu-based Linux distributions. Cube custom Ubuntu or Linux Mint ISO creator

I only tried Cubic on Ubuntu or Linux Mint, so I’m not sure if it can create a custom ISO for other Ubuntu-based Linux distributions, but at least in theory I don’t know why it doesn’t work.
If the selected folder has uncompressed the ISO using Cubic, the application will ask if you want to create a disk image from the existing project, continue to customize the existing project or delete it: Cube custom Ubuntu or Linux Mint ISO creator

After loading the ISO, Cubic will allow you to change some custom ISO settings, such as entering the release name, disk name, volume ID, output directory and file name, etc. Feel free to change them.
When finished, click Next.
Cubic will now extract the compressed Linux file system from the ISO and copy some files from the original disk image. 3. On the next screen, Cubic displays an embedded terminal window with a chroot environment. You can customize the ISO here. Custom Ubuntu ISO creator chroot In this command line chroot, customize the ISO to suit your needs. Install other packages (applications, libraries, kernel images, etc.), remove all installed packages, add or remove PPA or other third-party repositories, download external packages and install them on a custom Linux Mint or Ubuntu ISO On the image, change the configuration file and anything else you want.
What you should know is:

  • You can copy files from the host to a custom ISO by dragging and dropping the files to the top of the “chroot” (chroot) window.
  • To edit the file, you need to use a command line text editor. you can use it nano , Installed by default, or install other command line text editors. To save the file using Nano text editor, use Ctrl + O ,then press Enter key. You can press to exit Nano Ctrl + X .
  • No need to use sudo , You have logged in as the root user in the chroot environment

Ubuntu only: By default, Ubuntu only enables the main and restricted repositories on the Live CD ISO. As a result, you will not be able to install the packages found in the Universe and Multiverse repositories for your custom Ubuntu ISO, or at least for me, use Ubuntu 18.04 to create a custom Ubuntu 18.04.1 ISO. Therefore, to be able to install certain packages, you also need to enable the Universe and Multiverse repositories. This is the way to do it.
In three chroots, type:

                        nano /etc/apt/sources.list

After each line (it should be only 3 lines), add a space and then add the following: universe multiverse , As shown in the following screenshot: Custom Ubuntu ISO creator chroot

To save pair sources.list File, press Ctrl + O with Enter , Then Ctrl + X Exit the Nano command line text editor.
Run now apt update And you should be able to install the software available in the Ubuntu Universe and Multiverse repositories: Custom Ubuntu ISO creator chroot Linux Mint does not need this adjustment because it has enabled all default repositories.
After completing the changes, click the “Next” button 4. Select the Linux kernel to use and remove the software package from the typical installation. Custom Ubuntu ISO Creator Cubic

On the next screen, you can select the Linux kernel to use (in my case, only one-screenshot above) in case some additional kernel packages are installed on the custom ISO.
You can also choose to remove the package after a typical installation or a minimal installation (the latter is only available for Ubuntu; Linux Mint, etc., has no minimum ISO): Custom Ubuntu ISO Creator Cubic

In most cases, it is recommended to leave these options at their default values.
Click Next and the ISO generation process should start. When finished, click Finish 5. And… it’s done!
In the last step, Cubic lists the path to save the generated custom ISO file (by default, the file is saved in the folder you selected in step 1), the distribution and disk name, and so on. Custom Ubuntu ISO Creator Cubic

In addition to the generated ISO file and its MD5 checksum file, you will also find the option to delete all project files.
The customized Ubuntu or Linux Mint Live ISO should now be ready. You can burn a copy of the ISO image to a CD or DVD, or use a bootable USB creation tool (such as Ubuntu’s boot disk creator or bootiso) to make a bootable USB from a new custom ISO.
If you try to boot a USB with a custom ISO created using Cubic on an EFI system, you encounter an error similar to the following error, Credits ):

                        isohybrid: Warning: more than 1024 cylinders: 2215 isohybrid: Not all BIOSes will be able to boot this device

You need to install syslinux-utils (we need isohybrid Commands in this package):

                        sudo apt install syslinux-utils

Then use the following command:

                        sudo isohybrid /path/to/custom_iso.iso

Replace /path/to/custom_iso.iso ISO path generated with Cubic. You can now create a bootable USB from this ISO, and the USB should be usable on EFI systems. You still need to use a host system using EFI to create a custom Ubuntu or Linux Mint ISO with EFI support! You may also need to read the following:

  • bootiso: easily boot the ISO to a USB drive from the command line
  • Groot simplifies the process of entering Chroot in any Linux distribution


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