Black Lab Imager Creator

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Black Lab Imager 1.1 Source Code available today

Today we are releasing the source code for Black Lab Imager, a utility for creating a backup of your system in a redistributable ISO or backup copy for your own use.  As you guys recall we have forked this over from Remastersys.

Now, we lack a GUI because Fragadelic did not give us the source code as promised so for right now its command line only.  We havent debanized the project files yet because we are still in the process of testing and building but we believe we have reached a level of stability that we are confident in its performance.

Why are we releasing the source code only?  We are still testing this release on 14.04 although users can contact us and let us know what works, what doesnt, and any fixes they may have in mind

How do I install this?  Right now because its not debainized, copy the blacklabimager folder and blacklabimager.conf file over to /etc/ and copy the blacklabimager and blacklabimager-skelcopy scripts over to /opt/  also make sure you run the dependencies script to download and install all your dependencies.

Where is the GUI?  When Fragadelic left he did not give me the source code for the GUI, so we will be making one ourselves outside of our webmin plugin.

What systems has this been tested with?  Black Lab Linux 4.x, Ubuntu 12.x, Ubuntu 13.x partially tested on Ubuntu 14.x.  What do we mean by partially?  We have rebuilt Xubuntu 14.04 and not pure Ubuntu

You guys can download the source code from sourceforge


For some reason Sourceforge keeps saying its pending, so we have uploaded the file to an alternate download section


  1. thank you very much, i am Ubuntu RS cli user and i really like way it is now, just keep supporting upcoming releases and keep up good work. CLI version is good to be hidden from casual users but keeps ability to always repack system and keeps RS dependencies minimal. I soon even plan to donate to you.

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    1. Thank you for taking over the Remastersys tool! I rely heavily on being able to generate custom ISO images. I tested Black Lab Imager today on my Ubuntu 12.04 golden baseline system... and it works great!

    2. I tested Black Lab Image Creator on the Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) Final Beta today and it works perfectly!

  3. Looking forward to CLI version .deb for Ubuntu 14 :)

  4. Looks like RS .deb works almost fine with 14.04, in begining it asks login on live cd but entering "custom" as username and blank password then it is ok.

  5. I have tested Black Lab Imager 1.1 with the current build of Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) Daily Build i386 and it is working fine for me.
    Thank you for your work.

  6. Any chance of a step-by-step walkthrough for using BLI?

    I have tried to use it to create a bootable ISO CD from an installed Linux system in a virtual machine (I used the Ubunut minimal installation with some added configurations). But when I boot from the generated ISO or a burnt CD version of the ISO I get "Boot failure : No DEFAULT or UI configuration directive found!". I googled the error and tried exporting the content of the ISO locally, renaming several files (as directed here: and then reburnt the ISO to CD, but then there is just no bootable system at all. VMWare says operating system not found.

    1. I developed some guidance on using BLI that might help you:

    2. Hey. This article is pretty good. It had some useful information that was helpful for creating a secure bootable system image.

    3. Got same issue try to go to page but says page not found

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  8. First of all, thank you for taking care and forking this great and usefull tool.
    My first test results for the Black Lab Imager :
    running the "dependencies" script :
    sudo ./dependencies
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information... Done
    Note, selecting 'genisoimage' instead of 'mkisofs'
    Package discover1 is not available, but is referred to by another package.
    This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
    is only available from another source

    E: Package 'discover1' has no installation candidate

  9. I forgot to mention : running from Ubuntu 12.04.4

    I still managed to get a fully working iso backup created, its size is 2,5 Gb, made of a clean Ubuntu installation. Isn't that somewhat big ?

    Best regards.

  10. Got to work a fully funcitonnal iso from Ubuntu 14.04, yes ! Thank you a lot for this splendid work.

  11. Hi thanks for this fork. Haven't tested it yet, but maybe it would be a good idea to remove the temp files (*~) from the distributed tgz ?

  12. A very quick how-to (or how we used this for the C4C Lubuntu 14.04 ReSpin)
    #Download Black Lab Image Creator and extract
    #Change blacklabimager.conf to suit your needs (we remove all live options)
    #Change dependencies to remove discover1 and the extra space that follows it
    #Open the File Manager in Root
    gksudo pcmanfm
    #Copy blacklabimager folder, blacklabimager.conf and blacklabimager.conf~ file to /etc/
    #Copy the blacklabimager~, blacklabimager-skelcopy, blacklabimager-skelcopy~ and dependencies to /opt/
    cd /opt
    sudo chmod +x BlackLabImager~
    sudo chmod +x dependencies
    sudo ./dependencies
    #We are only interested in the dist option, so
    sudo ./BlackLabImager~ dist
    #If needed again, run
    sudo ./BlackLabImager~ clean
    #then again run
    sudo ./BlackLabImager~ dist

  13. Eric Bradshaw , thanks for the clear steps I followed all exactly but faced this issue at the end , hope my paste might cast some light on what is going wrong? am i trying to compress too much?

    saleem@home-pc:/opt$ sudo ./BlackLabImager~ dist

    Distribution Mode Selected
    Enabling blacklabimager-firstboot
    Adding system startup for /etc/init.d/blacklabimager-firstboot ...
    /etc/rc0.d/K20blacklabimager-firstboot -> ../init.d/blacklabimager-firstboot
    /etc/rc1.d/K20blacklabimager-firstboot -> ../init.d/blacklabimager-firstboot
    /etc/rc6.d/K20blacklabimager-firstboot -> ../init.d/blacklabimager-firstboot
    /etc/rc2.d/S20blacklabimager-firstboot -> ../init.d/blacklabimager-firstboot
    /etc/rc3.d/S20blacklabimager-firstboot -> ../init.d/blacklabimager-firstboot
    /etc/rc4.d/S20blacklabimager-firstboot -> ../init.d/blacklabimager-firstboot
    /etc/rc5.d/S20blacklabimager-firstboot -> ../init.d/blacklabimager-firstboot
    Checking filesystem type of the Working Folder
    /home/blacklabimager/remasteredsys is on a ext3 filesystem
    Making sure popularity contest is not installed
    Installing the Ubiquity KDE frontend
    Checking if the /home/blacklabimager/remasteredsys folder has been created
    Creating /home/blacklabimager/remasteredsys folder tree
    Creating /home/blacklabimager/remasteredsys/ISOTMP folder tree
    Copying /var and /etc to temp area and excluding extra files ... this will take a while so be patient
    Cleaning up files not needed for the live in /home/blacklabimager/remasteredsys/dummysys
    Cleaning up passwd, group, shadow and gshadow files for the live system
    Making sure adduser and autologin functions of casper are set properly
    Copying memtest86+ for the live system
    Creating isolinux setup for the live system
    Checking the ARCH of the system and setting the README.diskdefines file
    Creating filesystem.manifest and filesystem.manifest-desktop
    Creating the casper.conf file.
    Checking and setting user-setup-apply for the live system
    Setting up casper and ubiquity options for dist mode
    Creating a new initial ramdisk for the live system
    live-boot: core filesystems devices utils memdisk udev wget blockdev.
    Copying your kernel and initrd for the livecd
    Creating filesystem.squashfs ... this will take a while so be patient
    Parallel mksquashfs: Using 2 processors
    Creating 4.0 filesystem on /home/blacklabimager/remasteredsys/ISOTMP/casper/filesystem.squashfs, block size 1048576.
    [======/ ] 20592/194661 10%Updating the blacklabimager.log
    Removing the ubiquity frontend as it has been included and is not needed on the normal system
    ls: cannot access /home/blacklabimager/remasteredsys/ISOTMP/casper/filesystem.squashfs: No such file or directory
    ./BlackLabImager~: line 647: [: : integer expression expected
    Calculating the installed filesystem size for the installer
    Could not open /home/blacklabimager/remasteredsys/ISOTMP/casper/filesystem.squashfs, because No such file or directory
    Removing blacklabimager-firstboot from system startup
    Removing any system startup links for /etc/init.d/blacklabimager-firstboot ...
    The filesystem.squashfs filesystem is missing. Either there was a problem creating the compressed filesystem or you are trying to run sudo blacklabimager dist iso before sudo blacklabimager dist cdfs

    1. I get exactly the same error, but I'm trying to get an iso from a live USB based on Ubuntu 14.04...
      So now a basic question it possible to perform such an operation? i.e. is it possible to create an iso with BlackLabImager starting from a customized live USB (thus with persistence) ???

    2. Andrea Carlino, I wonder if you can do that because live USB would not be able to provide the temp space required for making a custom image unless you are using another partition on your hard disk as temp , this is possible on PCLinuxOS , not sure about if it works on remastersys/BlackLabImager. Hope someone from BlackLabImager developers replies to our query since im desperate to make a custom ISO from my KDE installed and custom made system.

    3. I have created the USB live drive with persistent file by means of Universal-USB-Installer. The persistence file size is 4GB.
      According to Eric Bradshaw suggestion, at least 4GB of free space should be left in order to let BLI to create the iso image...I'll verify the free space but:
      - I'm wondering why it stops after only 10% of squashfs creation for me too!
      - will it be possible to attach another USB drive and let BLI to create the iso image on the mounted device?

  14. here is more info about space i have

    saleem@home-pc:~$ sudo df
    Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
    /dev/sda11 28711676 9807828 17438724 36% /
    udev 2052604 4 2052600 1% /dev
    tmpfs 413340 1508 411832 1% /run
    none 4 0 4 0% /sys/fs/cgroup
    none 5120 0 5120 0% /run/lock
    none 2066688 84 2066604 1% /run/shm
    none 102400 12 102388 1% /run/user

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  16. There was a problem with 1.1 that was well documented and posted that there is a problem with building QT based desktops, KDE and UNITY. We are working hard to fix the problems but considering that this project is unfunded and we have no external contributers, its worked on by a "we will get to it when we can" mentality. 1.7 corrects many problems and we will be releasing it shortly.

  17. Hope I can help. I don't have anything to do with BLI officially. I'm just a long time user that's had success with this script. I also make some changes pretty consistently (like removing the live option all together), so if your error(s) have anything to do with that I wouldn't know.

    I guess first make sure you are attempting to use this on Intel or AMD processor. In other words; no PowerPC.

    I take the statement(s) at the end of your first post as my clues to what happened. " Either there was a problem creating the compressed filesystem..."

    Your block size seems rather large and the script stopped creating the squashfs file after it was only 10% complete. So I do believe there to be a problem creating the compressed file system. This *may* have something to do with the 4GB limit imposed by genisomage (used to create the ISO). The entire compressed filesystem.squashfs must be under 4GB. This also *may* have something to do with how big of a hard drive you are running this on, and/or how much free space is on it or the partition you are using. I'd make sure I had at least 4 GB of free space before running dist. If you've made lots of changes on the same system you're using to create your ISO; you may just have a lot of left over junk you'll need to get rid of. Bleach Bit is a good GUI way to get rid of that. Run as root (if it doesn't list that option in the menu, type gksu bleachbit) and check every option except free disk space, localizations and memory.

    Also what seems to be recommended by the script "...or you are trying to run sudo blacklabimager dist iso before sudo blacklabimager dist cdfs" which I would take to mean running sudo ./BlackLabImager~ cdfs before running sudo ./BlackLabImager~ dist

    Search the Web for your error(s) and the word "Remastersys" as there is much more of a history built up around it than BLI (for now anyway). I'm sure some/many before you have had similar errors. Also, you can (should?) double-check my theories before you follow my advice.

    Eric Bradshaw

  18. Also make sure you are using an EXT4 filesystem. It will not work with BTRFS or XFS.