How to remaster/respin Linux Mint ISO images with mintConstructor

Linux Mint 14 (Nadia) distributes DVD images of 900+ MB. These notes show what packages can be removed to make it fit on a 700 MB CD, while retaining VLC and media codecs. If you need the 700 MB CD image itself, just let me know, I’ll upload or torrent it.

I basically remove these packages:

  • Libreoffice
  • Thunderbird
  • GIMP and gThumb (but Gnome ImageViewer is retained)
  • Totem and Banshee (but since VLC is retained, other media players are unnecessary)
  • Mono and all that depends on it
  • Samba
  • Linux headers files (not the linux kernel image of course!)
  • Some CJK and Thai fonts (European and Indic fonts are untouched)
  • Misc. utilities (see below)

Start here for instructions on how to setup a chroot jail:

Decompress the ISO

  • Install the package “mintconstructor” from the repositories
  • Open a terminal
  • Type sudo /usr/lib/linuxmint/mintConstructor/
  • In the mintconstructor window that opens:
    • In the “Directory” field, choose a directory for the ISO (use a new directory with nothing in it for this)
    • Make sure to select the “New project” radio option
    • Click the browse button on the right of the “ISO file” field and point it to your ISO file
    • Click “Next” and then “Yes” to confirm.

Modify the content of the ISO

All modifications are done via the mintconstructor chroot terminal. To access the content of the ISO and modify it, click on the “Open a chroot terminal” button.

In this chroot terminal, you can type commands, install and remove packages and this will have a direct impact on the ISO, its content and the content of the system which installs itself from the ISO to the Hard drive during the installation.

I tried with Cinnamon, 32-bit DVD but should work otherwise too. Once you open a chroot terminal, run these commands (don’t miss the asterisk!):

  • apt-get purge libreoffice*
  • apt-get purge thunderbird evolution-data-server
  • apt-get purge libmono*
  • apt-get purge banshee totem libtotem0
  • apt-get purge gthumb gthumb-data
  • apt-get purge samba samba-common-bin smbclient
  • apt-get purge fonts-tlwg-* fonts-kacst* fonts-takao-pgothic* fonts-tibetan-machine fonts-kacst-one fonts-khmeros-core fonts-lao fonts-lklug-sinhala fonts-sil-abyssinica fonts-sil-padauk
  • apt-get purge linux-headers-*
  • apt-get purge sgml-data doc-base docbook-xml gufw ufw
  • apt-get purge guile* gcc gdb gcc-4.7 gdebi*
  • apt-get purge virtualbox-guest-* qpdf

Then you can continue with the cleanup commands as given here to create the ISO:

  • aptitude purge ~c
  • aptitude unmarkauto ~M
  • apt-get clean; rm -rf /var/cache/debconf/*.dat-old; rm -rf /var/lib/aptitude/*.old; rm -rf /var/lib/dpkg/*-old; rm -rf /var/cache/apt/*.bin; updatedb
  • history -c
  • rm /root/.bash_history
  • rm /root/.nano_history
  • history -c

Rebuild a new ISO

  • Close the chroot terminal
  • Click Next
  • Give your ISO a description (which will be embedded as the name of the CD or USB stick onto which the ISO is burnt)
  • Click Next

I ended up with 735 MB (701 MiB) just enough to fit on a CD.

Just make sure your ISO name is less than 32 characters or else you’ll get an error: “Volume ID string too long”. Giving the name “LinuxMint-14-Cinnamon-i386” works fine. Also make sure your directory path doesn’t have spaces anywhere.


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