Roll Your Own Ubuntu With Reconstructor

When I reinstall Ubuntu, I spend the greater part of an hour reconfiguring everything the way I like it.

In particular, setting up Firefox just the way I like it takes about half that time, the rest is just little tweaks here and there. I’ve gotten pretty good over the years at configuring Firefox, including importing bookmarks, installing plugins, saving passwords, and more.

It would be safe to say that I’m a Firefox configuration god. I have no idea how many times I’ve reinstalled various operating systems since I started using Firefox, but a good bet would be something on the order of 60 times. I’ve got a bad case of operating system ADD. I write reviews on various operating systems, and add those two together and you end up with a ton of time wasted reinstalling to a base system.

A program called Reconstructor fixes the problem of needing to reconfigure everything after reinstalling.

It guides you easily through creating your own ISO and burning it to disc. The functionality is eerily similar to nLite, a program that does pretty much the exact same thing for Windows.

Here are some screenshots of the program in action to enjoy:






After running through the easy to use GUI to copy the LiveCD over to the hard drive and create a local copy, I found my Mozilla profile folder in ~/.mozilla and copied it into ~/reconstructor/root/etc/skel to completely skip setting up Firefox whenever I install from my custom created CD. Reconstructor is pretty damn spiffy if I do say so myself.

If you can’t get enough reading material, check out Shane’s blog over at Hackosis. It’s another Linux blog that has captivated my attention for about the same amount of time it takes to reconfigure Firefox, when I should be doing something else.

  • Shane

    Another good article Wayne. :)

    You should also check out FEBE here:

  • brent

    looks like a cool app, thanks

  • Jack

    As a fellow Firfox guru, I feel your pain. I’ve moved to Flock recently tho, check my blog for some info on it, if you haven’t already. It’s so much smoother, sleeker, and faster than firefox.

  • Maarten Kooiker

    Thanks for the info! would be really nice to figure out how I could include the right NVIDIA driver and the ndiswrapper GUI program PCLinux is using to install my wireless card.
    Sounds like a very cool program!

  • Peterix

    Reconstructor certainly seems to be a fine app for making customized Ubuntu cds. However, it’s an overkill just to preserve Firefox settings. All you have to do is backup your profile.

    In Ubuntu, it’s ~/.mozilla as mentioned in the article. Just copy it to a safe place (usb flash/external harddrive/different partitin) and copy it back after you reistall.

    It’s even possible to use a single profile in a dual-boot setting because Ubuntu can read and write NTFS partitions. To make it work, you have to edit ~/.mozilla/firefox/profiles.ini to look like this:

    Path=”/media/[Your Mounted NTFS Partition]/Documents and Settings/[Windows User Name]/Application Data/Mozilla/Firefox/Profiles/[Your Profile Folder]”

    Obviously, the path can be set to anything, so where you put your Firefox profile is entirely up to you. I have it on my home server :)

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  • BrokenCrystal

    I just wish it worked with Gutsy. They are very slow to develop. Maybe some out of work developers could assist with the project?

  • AnofStoot
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  • Krestort

    Recently one of my friends started an obsession with the actor Nicholas Cage (mostly because their names are both Nicholas – sounds strange but he is strange and that isn’t the point). After asking around the rest of my friends he seems to be a very controversial figure.
    What does the forum think? do you love the all action superhero? Or do you hate the droning voice of the man who does nothing but action shooters?