Build your own *buntu distro with Novo Builder


There are many reasons why people want to create their own linux distro. It could be that they are not satisfied with all the existing distros out there and wanted to build one that can fulfill their needs, or they just want to try out something new and show off their “geekiness”.

Whatever the reasons, we all now that it is not an easy task to build your own Linux distro, unless you deem yourself an expert in the field. Well, with Novo Builder, things starting to become a whole lot easier. And I seriously mean it when I said easier.

Novo Builder is a Debian GNU/Linux tool for creating your own up to date Ubuntu variants (only Ubuntu variant for the time being) customised to include the programs, themes and customised settings that you want. You don’t have to learn all the codes or any of the technical process. With a few mouse clicks and a long waiting time, you can quickly create your very own OS (and probably boost it to your friend).

Getting started

Note: Before you start, please be forewarned that the building of the OS can take up to 40Gb of hard disk space. Make sure that you have sufficient space before you start.

Download the installer.

Extract the tar file and double click the script to run it. When prompted, select “Run in Terminal“. The installation will take quite some time, depending on your Internet speed. In some situation, the script might not works well. When this occurs, you can use the command to install Novo Builder:

sudo apt-get install novo-builder novo-preset-lastos

Running Novo Builder

Run Novo builder (Applications -> System Tools -> Novo)


There are mainly two options for you: Pick from the preset setting, or create your own based on an existing distro. The easiest way is to pick from the Preset.


Choose a base distro from the Preset field. Click the “Prepare” button. Wait for some time (you might want to go and grab a coffee).


When it is done, the first column of Edit/View button will be enabled. You can now edit the sources.list to include your custom repository, or to add in some scripts for the startup process. You can even Add/Remove/Edit the kernel, the GUI or even some of the default apps. Ignore this if you know nothing about coding.

When you are done, click the “Build Base” button. Prepare for another round of waiting.

Once the build is completed, the Post Build option will be enabled. This is where all the fun starts. From here, you can open the Synaptic to install/remove your favorite applications. Of course, the more applications you install, the bigger the final ISO file will be.


The Chroot GUI button enables you to run your custom distro in a virtual environment, much like in your Virtualbox. This is a great way to check out your distro before finalizing it.

The last step is to create the ISO file with the Build ISO button. When it is done, you should be able to find the ISO in your “/home” directory (Note: It is the “/home” directory, not “/home/username“).

To clean up the mess and free up the hard disk space, you might want to click on the “UnMount/Del” button to delete the img file. This will free up as much as 20Gb of space.

Also check out the documentation file for more help on Novo Builder.


I am a g33k, Linux blogger, developer, student and Tech Writer for My passion for all things tech drives my hunt for all the coolz. I often need a vacation after I get back from vacation....