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I currently manage my development environment by having a virtual machine image in VirtualBox configured with all the basics configured ( PyCharm, build-essential, keyboard, etc... ) and then making a clone for each project, which can be configured further.

I want to replicate this setup, but with native booting.

Is there a way that I can manage images of partitions, such that I can clone an install onto a different partition and boot from the clone. In any sense whatsoever.

I would also be fine if I could clone the image, and have software somewhere else ( another linux? windows? ) that let me save the disk state in a file, and loaded any other disk state. letting me keep the computers for different projects isolated, and clone new setups.

Is this possible at all?

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what distro do you use? – Journeyman Geek Feb 6 '13 at 5:35
mint or ubuntu usually – Alex H Feb 6 '13 at 15:44

Its a bit of a hacky solution but assuming you have a GUI installed, and your install is under 4gb, remastersys would be the answer. Remastersys converts a running install into a livecd, and has two modes - one to generate a distribution (perfect for creating your initial install with the basics) and backup (for snapshots of your work). You can use a backup to install into a partition, work on it, and generate a new disk when you want a backup.

It uses ubiquity (the ubuntu GUI installer) to install, though the debian version has a script that allows installation for cli distros. I believe it should work with unetbootin (for making install USB keys), but I don't recall if persistance works.

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