Remastering Debian 10 with systemback

Kernels & Hardware, configuring network, installing services

Remastering Debian 10 with systemback

Postby Len E. » 2020-05-18 15:02

Although Remastersys has been useful for years in remastering Debian 6 thru
Debian 9, it is uninstallable on Debian 10. Systemback version 1.8.402, the last
update produced by the original developer Kendek, applied exclusively
to Ubuntu derivatives only. Fortunately, an Italian developer, Franco Conidi and his
associate Edmond, have taken over the project, and have support for Debian 10 as well
in their latest version, 1.9.4.

My approach with systemback, based on considerable experience with version 1.8.402, has
been not to rely on the installation scripts in the package tarball, but instead to isolate the
5 .deb packages required and install them with gdebi, one at a time, in the required sequence:
libsystemback, systemback-locales, systemback-scheduler, systemback, systemback-cli.
After doing my customizing of a distro, I run sytemback live-system-create, and convert the
.sblive file to an .iso, which I can then burn to a DVD or install on a flash drive with unetbootin
for ubuntu derivatives, or in the current situation for Debian 10, install on a flash drive with
Universal USB installer. On installing the customized distro, I boot up the live DVD/USB, and use
systemback system-install to install to the hard drive.
In my work with debian-live-10.4.0-xfce-i386, I found it necessary to make use of both the
systemback-install_pack-1.9.3.tar.xz and systemback-install_pack-1.9.4.tar.gz tarballs. The modules I
used from the respective packs are listed as follows:

/usr/share/systembackdebs1.9.3$ ls
libsystemback_1.9.3_i386.deb systemback-locales_1.9.3_all.deb
systemback_1.9.3_i386.deb systemback-scheduler_1.9.3_i386.deb

/usr/share/systembackdebs1.9.4$ ls
libsystemback_1.9.4_i386.deb systemback-locales_1.9.4_all.deb
systemback_1.9.4_i386.deb systemback-scheduler_1.9.4_i386.deb

I intended to use the latest 1.9.4 modules exclusively, but I found it impossible to install
libsystemback_1.9.4 because there were dependencies to newer packages in the Bullseye
repository which were not installable on Debian Buster. After some trial and error, the
following module sequence was actually used:
libsystemback_1.9.3, systemback-locales_1.9.4, systemback-scheduler_1.9.3,
systemback_1.9.3, systemback-cli_1.9.3.
Executing systemback live-system-create and booting up the resultant live system on the target system
was no problem, but the systemback system-install aborted. The first install attempt into a 20GB partition
aborted because the space was totally filled up, even though the original system which was remastered
occupied only 11GB in its partition.

Fortunately, there is an excellent post in a Linux Mint forum,
which explains the problem exactly, and prescribes the workaround:
the destination partition size for the remastered install needs to be somewhat
more than twice the size of the original customized distro.

Len E.
(PS: I have been in email contact with Franco and Edmond about the problems I encountered,
and I’m looking forward to a newer version which cleans up these problems.)
Len E.
Posts: 18
Joined: 2018-02-12 18:48

Remastering Debian 10 with systemback

Postby Len E. » 2020-05-25 15:51

I've succeeded in improving the destination partition space requirement situation
by being able to make use of the latest, version 1.9.4, systemback modules.
The method was suggested by the following documentation posted by Franco
and Edmond in connection with Debian 9, but worked well for Debian-10.4:

trying to install Systemback-1.9.3 on Debian Stretch 32 bit and beyond, the version error occurs for the packages: libqt5core5a (> = 5.10.0) and libqt5gui5 . It resolves by updating packages from repo tests:

# nano /etc/apt/sources.list

and add:

deb testing main non-free contrib

then lest we update the whole system, let's create a file, where we will say that, the priority of the packages is only that of the version of the installed distro, namely in this case stable / stretch :

# nano /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/99defaultrelease

and paste inside:

APT :: Default-Release "stable";

at this point we are ready to install the version of the updated packages:

# apt update
# apt install -t testing libqt5core5a libqt5gui5

then you can continue with the installation of systemback-1.9.3
(I used a local repo for testing module access).

The apt install command as shown didn't work, because of error messages
showing imcompatibilities between the libqt5core5a module and Buster versions
of some dependencies. The solution was to include the incompatible dependencies
in the apt install command for upgrade purposes.

The command that worked was:

sudo apt install -t testing libqt5core5a libqu5gui5 libgcc-8-dev gcc-8-base libmpx2

This command caused a large library upgrade, with 71 packages upgraded, 10 newly installed,
and 66 removed.
After this install, the 1.9.4 versions of libsystemback, systemback-locales, systemback-scheduler,
systemback, and systemback-cli installed in succession with no problems.

The original custom distro occupies 9.81 GB in a 16 GB partition.
The remastered distro failed to install in a 12 GB destination partition (space exceeded), but succeeded into a 17.4 GB
paritition, with a final size similar to the original. I believe a safe rule-of-thumb is to use a
destination partition of no more than 2 times the original distro size.
When booting up a live DVD of the remastered distro on my destination machine, I found that the internet
connection would not work. I had encountered a similar problem with Debian Stretch previously, and found
a simple, effective fix in a web article.

I installed the remastered distro in the destination partition, and ran sudo lshw -C network which showed
the logical name for the internet connection on the destination machine, enp0s25.

The /etc/network/interfaces.d/setup file, generated from the original distro and reflecting the situation
on the originating machine was:

auto lo
iface lo inet

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

The latter 2 statements were updated for the destination machine:

auto enp0s25
iface enp0s25 inet dhcp

After rebooting, the internet connection worked fine.
Len E.
Len E.
Posts: 18
Joined: 2018-02-12 18:48

Return to System configuration

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests