We have custom versions of GCC, Kernel, utilities ...etc., we'd like to integrate easily into a installable easily maintainable Linux Distro ...package-management etc.. This is for a non-profit organization with special needs ...we don't fork-for-fun.


This prompted us to look into building a custom distro. We've gone through LFS using our custom packages successfully but are hoping to not have to re-invent the wheel ...package management etc. No source-based stuff ...just binary blitzkreigs.


What would you do [ better: where would you start? ] if you had customized packages and wanted to create a primarily binary Debian-esque minimal distro around them? Core components are modified. What's the easiest way to build a custom distro with debian/arch ( no yum ...for the love of Pete! ) style package management and custom/modified packages without reinventing the wheel?

We don't need advice regarding apt/update mirrors or whatever ...just the base distro itself. Could we just build a mirror, for instance, then update a running stock distro with our custom packages? Then 'pin' certain packages and certain versions?

Links, documentation, pointers of any kind in place of explicit instruction will be most welcome.


Am going to look into creating a repo/mirror and package pinning on a stock minimal Debian install ...then look into creating an installer off the finished system. This seems much smarter than trying to create yet another distro. If you've been down this road and have pointers ( not the C variety ), links or whatever ...toss them my way if you can spare a moment ...I'd very much appreciate hearing your experiences. Thanks!

  • Should this maybe be moved to the unix SO forum? – Bubnoff Dec 23 '11 at 2:07
  • I'd look at SuSE Studio – Sathyajith Bhat Dec 23 '11 at 4:40
  • SUSE studio will let you build with pre-built packages in any configuration, but not custom packages. I need to be able to so something similar but with a few customized packages. I may be missing something simple ... – Bubnoff Dec 29 '11 at 2:28
  • you can upload custom packages, it'll include it in the build. – Sathyajith Bhat Dec 29 '11 at 4:01
  • I'm leaning towards Debian. Looking at wiki.debian.org/DebianCustomCD. I don't like yast/zypper/etc as well as apt. I will take a second look at SUSE studio if this gets too complicated. Thanks for your input. – Bubnoff Dec 29 '11 at 19:10

You can set up a example base system with appropriate pinning to use your custom packages over the standard ones as needed (unless you're managing the entire repo, in which case add your repo).

Then use that as a base to create an installer/livecd with remastersys

  • Yes, this is along the lines of what I'm looking for. I don't want to reinvent the wheel and I don't want to fork Debian, just replace some packages and drivers. This is not for a custom re-branded distro or anything ...just need to maintain a whole ton of custom packages on Debian. I'll give this a look see. Thanks! – Bubnoff Jan 1 '12 at 19:52
  • Scratch that ...I need to maintain a few custom packages on a ton of Debian boxes. – Bubnoff Jan 1 '12 at 19:53

I would recommend you the following options:

  1. Suse Studio
  2. Slax
  3. Fedora remix. You can remove their stuff which you don't like and put in yours and then rebrand it.
  • Except that I'm stuck with yum in the case of Fedora, or, zypper/yast with SUSE. I really appreciate the response though. I think what I need to do is figure out how to replace a stock debian package with my own custom package using a custom repo, pinning ...etc. Thanks! – Bubnoff Jan 1 '12 at 19:49

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