Reconstructor lets you customize and create your own CD or a disk image with ease. You can add various packages and customize the look and feel of the desktop, tweak some settings and customize a whole lot more using this awesome web application. The best part is the fact that you don’t have to run a single command.
You need to create an account with Reconstructor before you can proceed. The account is free and requires just about 5 fields of information from your side. Next log into the site. Start by creating a new project. Give your project a nice name, description and version. You can then choose the distro you want to base your project on.
Reconstructor only supports Debian and Ubuntu (including Lucid Lynx). You also have the choice to build for your 64-bit computer if you choose to. Specify the type of project, environment and click Create.
Your newly created project is listed in the sidebar. Click on it to activate and begin customizing. You can add packages, modules, members, tags and files. Let’s have a brief look on what each of these means.
Packages as you might be aware with your prior experience with Debian/Ubuntu refer to packaged software products. To add packages you click on the ‘+’ icon next to packages and you are presented with a dialog where you can choose what additional packages you want to include on your build. Keep in mind that the packages you add here will be added in addition to the packages that Debian/Ubuntu include by default.
Modules are the most interesting part of Reconstructor, allowing you to tweak certain aspects of the operating system. You add modules, just like you would added packages above (via the ‘+’ icon next to modules). Unlike packages however, each module involves some configuration that will be applied to your build.
For example, if you want to add additional software sources to your build, you can do this by using the APT repository module. Once added, click on the module, to bring up the configuration dialog box, where you will be able to provide the repository path and other details required to configure a software source in Debian/Ubuntu.
There are other modules that you can choose to change the wallpaper for example. Others to change the splash screen or the theme, or to create new icons on the desktop and so on.
You can also add custom files to be included in the finished build, tag your project and even invite other people to collaborate on the project. Once you are done customizing the build you should click on the Build Project icon.
Reconstructor, being a web application, doesn’t immediately build your project, instead a new job is created in your job queue. You are sent an email as soon as the job is completed (a few hours at least) and your build is ready for download. You can then download the customized build and burn it.
On the whole Reconstructor is a fantastic toolkit that you can use to create custom Ubuntu or Debian CDs/DVD’s for yourself. You can include your wallpapers, include the extra packages that you might need and you don’t need to run a single command. You can even prioritize jobs submitted by you by buying priority services.
Have you customized a CD/DVD to suit your needs? What software did you use?