a comprehensive guide
to iso building

This guide aims to be complete.
This guide will point you to the information you need.
This guide will become gradually more difficult as the numbering increases.
This guide will point you to the tutorials from the CARLI project.
This guide will point you to the tutorials from the ALCI project.
This guide will point you to the tutorials from the ARISER project.

Put them all together and all questions will be answered.

To reach your goals it may not be necessary to start building a personal iso.

There are many alternatives.

This video will provide you with guidance on selecting the option that you now comprehend. What other choices do you have?

Step 1

The vision of ArcoLinux in regards to building is simple:

If we can build ISOs so can our users

So follow any of the tutorials on the https://arcolinuxb.com website in the menu BYOI.

It is simple.

It is easy.

We add a ‘#’ before packages we do not want.

We remove a ‘#’ before packages we do want.

We add a seperate line for packages that are not in the list.

Your packages need to come from these repos

  • Arch Linux
  • ArcoLinux

If you want to learn about the scripts, you read this article.


Step 2

Your packages need to come from these repos

  • Arch Linux
  • ArcoLinux
  • Chaotic AUR
  • Nemesis

You can add 4.000+ packages from Chaotics AUR

Add the packages to the packages list and build.

How to add packages from Chaotics AUR to any ArcoLinux ISO?

How to add packages from Chaotics AUR to the ArcoLinuxS ISO?

How to add packages from nemesis-repo and Chaotics AUR?

Several articles were written in this regard.


I want better driver support for my hardware

You may have discovered that your hardware is better off having a certain driver (consider taking -dkms drivers).
Build and add it to your iso. Add the package name to the packages list.

We have a tutorial to create an iso with a different driver.


Step 3

I want the smallest possible iso

Often people want to know what packages they can leave out and still have something “usable”.

So a bare or a minimal version of one of our isos.

We have a tutorial to create an Xfce iso that is bare.

We have a tutorial to create a bare ArcoLinuxB iso.

We have a tutorial to create your own ArcoLinuxB minimal iso – workflow.

Combine the information shared and know more about all the building blocks (often called lego-blocks in the videos).

In the ALCI project we start with archiso and put Calamares on the iso. That is as minimal as it gets. Check out those articles too.

Step 4

I want the biggest gaming iso

Here we do not mind creating a 5 GB iso.

the kids will love it

We have a tutorial to create the biggest gaming iso.

I want a development ISO with android studio and flutter

Any package from Chaotic AUR can go on the ISO – 1.5 GB size of development software

Check out this video.

Step 5

In step 1 we have added packages or removed packages.

Often people want their look and design on the future OS. The power project explains that too.

I want my own configuration, my own look, my own settings, …

These are defined often in two folders

  • .config
  • .local

If you can determine what files and folders you need then you are set.

We have explained to you in the menu “personal” on arcolinuxb.com how you define that.

In this step we keep it still very simple and basic.

We give you a folder called “Personal”. You will find it when starting to build the iso.

Put any of the files you deem necessary in there.

Build the iso.

Install the iso.


Type the alias “personal” in your terminal and all your configurations will go on your future system.

We do NOT recommend you dump the whole content of your .config or .local on your future system.

Later we can make this more complex by making a package and putting it on a repo.

Read all articles about the Personal folder and aliases.

Step 6

I want to combine desktops

With the right tool to compare aka meld that is super easy.

We have a tutorial to create an iso with Xfce4 and Plasma.

We have a tutorial to create an iso with Gnome and I3.

We have a tutorial to create an iso with Openbox, Awesome, Bspwm, I3, Herbstluftwm,Qtile and Xmonad.

We have a tutorial to create an iso with Plasma, Chadwm and a personal Plasma design – power project

Adding Dk tiling window manager to the ArcoLinuxB Xtended ISO


I want only my desktop

Creating an ISO just with one desktop – Chadwm as example


Step 7

We can now add or remove packages

  • Arch Linux
  • ArcoLinux
  • Chaotic AUR

and we can add our configurations via the personal folder.

But sometimes that is just not enough. We want our own repo and our own packages.

Later this can be done via your repo.

the packages I want are not on the repo

You can NEVER add packages to your isos that are not available with a “sudo pacman -S”.
A package has the extension TAR.ZST.

Packages can come from all kinds of sources on the internet.

  1. official
  2. unofficial
  3. your own repo

We have the official repositories – they are defined in your standard /etc/pacman.conf.

  • core
  • extra
  • community
  • multilib

and its testing repos. Testing repos are there to experiment with the packages. Betas if you will.

We have the unofficial repositories – you can find a list of those here. Chaotic AUR is one example.

We have the repositories that you create. You find a package that is not on the previous repos. You find the pkgbuild on the AUR.
In order to use that package you will have to gather the knowledge how to build a package and how to put the package in your repo.

You can use the repo locally or put it online. You can find information about repos and how to create and sign them on alci or carli.

At this time we recommend you use just the official repositories and your own.

Leave the unofficial ones out for now.

Step 8

Until now you have used our Calamares and our archiso folder and its building scripts.

At some time you want more control.

Archiso is delivered and updated by the Arch Linux team.

Calamares is delivered and updated by the Calamares team.

Read anything you can put your hands on about these two projects.

You need to be able to configure both.

You can find resources about calamares on alci and on carli.

You can find resources about archiso on alci and on carli.

Learn about Calamares by reading configs of other Linux distributions example here is Lubuntu.

Learn by comparing githubs with each other. Search for “calamares github” “calamares gitlab”.

Learn from the tutorials of the Ariser project.

Learn about changing kernels – you need to adapt your Calamares configs. Rt tutorialRt-lts tutorial


Step 9

Step 10

You can create packages and put them unsigned on your repos.

using unsigned packages will work just fine

If you want to sign packages so pacman knows the origin and the validity of the package you need to learn about signing the packages.

This is by far (for me) the hardest part I had to figure out on my own.

You can learn on the Carli project how it is done.

More information about signing on the Carli project.

More technical knowledge about signing.

Learn about masterkeys in Arch Linux. Learn via the wiki page.
Pacman Package signing 1  2  3  4