Call for suggestions to build unity7.ISO

Now that I have a license to distribute we need to find a sound way to build a stable and workable .ISO This does not have to be done right away but I would like it done the right way :slight_smile:

Pinguybuilder is really coughing up problems with 18.04. It will boot on some and not others so we need a secure and workable .ISO and so this thread is looking for suggestions .

Since ubuntu-unity is not an official flavor we may only be able to do a build , say , once every two weeks for experimental. We do not want to take away too much resource in maintaining unity-session in 18.04 so we can take our time. PeopleUbuntuCom may possibly host an ISO so we should keep it down to about 1.2GB


Explain this “license to distribute” and “We do not want to take away too much resource in maintaining unity-session in 18.04…”

It is generally permission to state that a remix ISO of Unity7 DE is based on Ubuntu and that I have a license to keep the Ubuntu name and logo in the product and that I can distribute that product. So we now have CL’s blessing to do so but it does not mean we can claim that the ISO is an official flavor. I can’t disclose any other part of the document as it is confidential and will void the license. The ISO has to be built starightforward and all IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) have to be respected and the logos cannot be altered etc…

So if we (the team) build a remix, I view it and approve it, I can legally upload it to PeopleUbuntuCom or elsewhere for distribution and testing.

So where it stands now is we can build:

and we can use “Unity 7 Desktop Experience” and state that it is based on Ubuntu .

There is a small core of developers (some from Canonical) on the unity7 maintainers team and their efforts are focused on maintaining unity-session 18.04 in the universe. I had already discussed this two pronged approach in another thread, the second being that unity-session is stable for release in 18.04 so that when current users of 16.04 unity-default will have the option of still having unity7DE although not supported officially by Canonical. Unless there is another plan, ie; getting seconded to the unity facsimile gnome3 dash2dock I am not privy and I think it is way to early to speculate on this but the team is vigilant to be prepared.

In summary , there are certain devs who had been and are currently taking care of unity7 stack but they may spend more time on default gnome3+wayland. That would mean the ubuntu-unity-amd64.iso build may depend entirely on the community so we need to figure a simple and stock way to stack unity-session on a headless server or we can build a remix using an app. If unity-session gets forked then we can add new artwork, etc… Actually we can do that now but it will take some work. So I am open to discussion. the good , the bad and the ugly.


I had some success using cubic in past. Not sure how well it is maintained.

You can check here:


Reading package lists... Done                                                  
E: The repository ' bionic Release' does not have a Release file.
N: Updating from such a repository can't be done securely, and is therefore disabled by default.
N: See apt-secure(8) manpage for repository creation and user configuration details.
ventrical@ventrical-MS-7850:~$ sudo apt install cubic
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
E: Unable to locate package cubic

Thank you for the explanation.

One way of creating the distro is by making a meta package, which would pull in all that’s needed, add ubiquity to that, change whatever that’s necessary and make a squashfs file off it, create standard additions for the live iso, that is, what you’d see, when you unarchive the ubuntu.iso you download. This is what the remastersys script does, but from an installed system.

You can find an inspiration from here too, and

If you look at Unity7N.iso, all I did was to unarchive the then downloaded Ubuntu 17.10 iso, took away the filesystem.squashfs to a separate edit folder, unsquashed it, went into chroot and installed unity-session, lightdm, and uninstalled gnome-shell, gdm etc, and cleaned it up, squashed it back, put it back in casper and create the iso. That’s in a nutshell.

You can find the complete information here,

That Unity7N.iso can be upgraded to today’s 17.10 or change repos to bionic and upgraded to up to date18.04. I did that few days ago and everything worked well.

There’s no bionic file for cubic yet, but for artful. If you go here,, you’d see that.

There’s a comment from the creator of the app.

Note: Due to Wayland’s security restriction on running graphical applications using root privileges, Cubic will only work in an Xorg session. – PJ Singh

Yes … I seen that. I have to build it from a 17.10 system. So I have to fresh install 17.10 and then download the 18.04 ISO. I’ll try this , then the other.

super tool :slight_smile:

just had to edit in repo universe with nano. Ok all built . will test. If it works ok I’ll upload it. We can do just about anything with that tool.

OK… right away there are problems. Live mode works just fine. It boots into unity. After hard install I get login screen with two Gnome on Xorg, Gnome and Unity Default. Whas was there from my last install. I used format option in something else. I did not remove gnome-shell, just gdm3 and ubuntu-desktop, installed lightdm and unity-session on the ISO. If you remove gnome-shell it will rip out a lot of components. It this recommended?

I’ll try a fresh machine.

Ok … ISO is just fine . However I have to remove gnome-shell and rebuild it.

I have built an ubuntu-unity-amd64.iso that is stock Unity7. The md5sum checked OK. There are no problems except near the end , the cursor will blink in upper left hand corner - but - if you wait it will tell you to remove system and press Enter to restart. So be patient :slight_smile:

Also, try to do all that manually.
Unarchive the downloaded Ubuntu 18.04 iso to a ‘work’ folder. Move only the filesystem.squashfs file away from casper somewhere and unsquash it to an ‘edit’ folder. Chroot into that ‘edit’ folder and do all the customisations, such as uninstalling gnome-shell, gdm etc. Once, everything is finished squash it back and put the the resulting filesystem.squashfs back in to casper in the ‘work’ folder and do the mkiso. You can find all the info here,

When you do this manually, you’d see what goes right/wrong.

Removing gnome-shell also removes ubuntu-session and ubuntu-desktop. But after removing you can install ubuntu-desktop again without gnome-shell. No? If not we need to fix that in debian/control.

There is also a minimal cd. We could try to build from that (I don’t have Ethernet so I can’t do that atm).

Dale, could you also list all the steps you took (just the very short description), so I can replicate that in my machine and check what’s wrong?


Hi Khurshid,

Above is the ISO.

I removed gnome-shell and it took ubuntu-session with it but that was fixed in 17.10 so now we have a pure ubuntu-unity-amd.iso. 18.04. Cubic worked just great and I can do all the work in the terminal using nano We don’t need gnome-shell … just gnome-session I think and that is already in there. Looks like Will and Martin are suggesting our plan should be towards official unity flavor and they are behind this project with support and advice - so things are moving quickly.


I was about to write the steps for manually remastering the ubuntu-bionic.iso to unity-bionic.iso for you and anyone else, I saw Dale’s post about uploading the ubuntu-unity-amd.iso. I’d, of course, check it out.

I wrote in posts above how to do that manually, but not in detail. I’ll write the step-by-step way in another thread, if it is still desired.

Hi Khurshid,

  1. Used Cubic ISO app on fresh install of 17.10 gnome-shell on xorg
  2. downloaded daily/current 18.04 bionic-desktop-amd64.iso
  3. selected that file (bionic-desktop-amd64.iso) in Cubic
  4. use nano in the root terminal provided by cubic to add the /universe/ repos.
  5. apt update
  6. removed ubuntu-desktop, gdm3, gnome-shell
  7. installed lightdm, unity-session
    8.apt update
    9.apt upgrade

It does not matter if ubuntu-session goes. It works just fine. I will keep refining it and testing.

@dale-f-beaudoin @khurshid-alam

  • What are the plans for ubuntu-unity when the time comes in April?
  • Would a live iso be released? Would that be official or semi-official, or unofficial?
  • Where would it be hosted? At or with the other derivatives?
  • Would it be announced through the usual channels as the other Ubuntu derivatives?
  • Or are the users to be satisfied with just ubuntu-unity–desktop as a DE? Would it have Ubuntu-Unity at login screen with Lightdm?

I have had no word from Technical Board nor have I scheduled a review. From what I understand, most of the framework is in place to build an ISO on the cdimage ubuntu servers that can be tested in the q/a tracker. As it stands now we are still in a holding pattern as to how to proceed with the next steps from our Canonical Team Advisors members of the unity7 maintainers team. There are still SRU works that are in progress so a lot of time is being spent there.

It’s too early to say .

I can’t answer this question either. Maybe @khurshid-alam has some input here?

What is known for sure is that the unity7 meta will use ubuntu-unity-desktop which will pull in unity-session which are both in the universe. I will still build current remixes as long as ubuntu-people still allow me to use their hosting site. The ISO builds I have recently created use unity7 desktop and lightdm. Future builds will use the meta package that @khurshid-alam had developed which include unity7 and lightdm logon.

edit: The most recent build at ubuntu-people uses the unity_meta ubuntu-unity-desktop.