Scripts, tools, and assets required to build the BitCurator ISO for distribution
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This repository has been deprecated, and is no longer maintained. Details on the latest release can be found at ( The most recent Salt-based build repository can be found at (


This repository contains scripts, tools and assets required to build the BitCurator ISO for distribution. It is intended solely for use by developers and maintainers working on the BitCurator environment.

Looking for the latest release? You can find it packaged as live-boot and installation ISO and as a VirtualBox virtual machine at

Introduction to building the BitCurator distro (for developers)

The BitCurator environment is a customized respin of Ubuntu 16.04. Aside from the initial Ubuntu install, a small number of manual tweaks, and executing the respin tool, the process is fully automated by a script found in the bitcurator-distro-bootstrap repository. To get started building and testing a new release, you will need the following:

The bootstrap script found in bitcurator-distro-bootstrap will (among other tasks) automatically clone out two support repositories, bitcurator-distro-main (the repo you're looking at right now) and bitcurator-distro-tools (which includes a small set of disk image management and analysis tools with their own Python installer). You do not need to clone these repositories unless you intend to patch, modify, or maintain them.

Building (for developers)

The BitCurator environment is currently tested and maintained using Ubuntu 16.04.1LTS. Instructions on how the environment is currently prepared follow. Note: Some of these procedures could probably be automated. Automation modifications should be pushed to

Download a copy of this Ubuntu ISO from and install on a host machine or VirtualBox VM. Do not install guest additions if using a VM.

  • During the install, do not install updates or 3rd party extensions
  • During the install, set the host name to BitCurator, the user to bcadmin, the password to bcadmin, and enable auto-login (using the appropriate checkbox).

Reboot the system at the prompt.

Once rebooted to the desktop, click on the Unity launcher and type Terminal. Drag the terminal icon to the Unity bar on the left for convenient access. Open a terminal and update the system using the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

This process may take 20-30 minutes. Once the upgrade has completed, close the terminal.

Open the Ubuntu "System Settings" dialog (by clicking on the gear icon in the top right menu bar), and click on "Displays". Set the resolution to 1024x768.

Return to the main window by clicking on All Settings, click on the Theme dropdown, and select Radiance. Set the Launcher Icon Size to 44. Click on the Behavior tab and select Enable Workspaces. Select In the window's title bar from Show the menus for a window.

Return to the main window by clicking on All Settings, click on Brightness and Lock, and select Never for Turn screen off when inactive for. Disable Lock, and disable the password requirement for returning from lock.

Open Firefox and set the homepage to

In a terminal, install dkms to ensure any kernel extensions installed in the remaining tasks are automatically transferred to new kernels:

sudo apt-get install dkms

In a terminal, install git and clone out the bootstrap repo:

sudo apt-get install git
git clone

The script is used to install required dependencies, the BitCurator Python tools, and other supporting software. In the same terminal, run the following commands:

cd bitcurator-distro-bootstrap
sudo ./ -s -i -y

This process may take an hour or longer to complete. When the bootstrap script has completed, you will be prompted to reboot. Run the following commenad:

sudo reboot

The bootstrap script places installation log info in /home/bcadmin/bitcurator-boostrap.log. You may wish to scan this file manually, or refer to it if any of the installed tools fail in additional testing. (If you are building the BitCurator environment in a VM, this may be a good time to shut down, create a clone, and test each tool individually to verify operation. Some tools create additional user data that may be copied when generating the installation ISO - as the bcadmin user is copied over verbatim - so this testing should not be performed in the release-preparation copy.

Move the icons on the Desktop into the appropriate locations. The standard BitCurator release places home in the top left, followed vertically by Imaging Tools, Forensics Tools, Accession Tools, Additional Tools, and Shared Folders and Media. Documentation and Help and Network Servers are placed in the top right.

Once the system has been rebooted, click on the Unity launch icon and type Users and Groups. Click Advanced Settings, and select the User Privileges tab. Select Use floppy drives and click OK.

If you are building the release in a VM, now is a good time to shut down, create a clone, and perform the respin (next section) using that clone.


BitCurator uses Bodhibuilder (a fork and update of the Remastersys tool) to repin the environment as a Live / Installable CD. Bodhibuilder is installed automatically by the bitcurator-distro-bootstrap bootstrap script.

Click the Unity launcher and type Bodhibuilder. Click the Bodhibuilder icon and select the Settings tab. Enter bcadmin for Username, BitCurator-X.X.X (where X.X.X is the release number) for CD Label, BitCurator-X.X.X.iso for ISO Filename, "BitCurator-X-X-X" for GRUB Name, and "" for URL for ISO.

Click on the Actions tab and click Select next to Boot menu picture for the Live CD. Select the image at /usr/share/bitcurator/resources/images/BitCuratorEnv3Logo300px-invert.png. Click Open. Click OK in the popup dialog.

Click Select next to Boot menu picture for the installed environment. Select the image at /usr/share/bitcurator/resources/images/BitCuratorEnv3Logo300px-invert.png. Click Open. Click OK in the popup dialog. GRUB setting will update.

Click Select next to User, whose current settings will be used as default and select bcadmin. Click OK. Files will copy.

Click Select next to Plymouth theme and select BitCurator Logo. Click OK. The initramfs will update.

In the main window, click Backup, and then click OK. The file BitCurator-X.X.X.iso (along wth MD5 and SHA256 sum files) will be created in /home/bodhibuilder/bodhibuilder. This process may take up to an hour to complete.

The resulting ISO can be used to prepare a VirtualBox virtual machine, or copied to a USB drive for installation on another host (see for instructions on how to perform this transfer).

Preparation of the Virtual Machine

Create a new VirtualBox VM with 2048MB RAM and 2 processors assigned. Set the video memory to 128MB, enable bidirectional transfer for copy/paste and file drag-and-drop, enable USB 3.0 (XHCI) support, and create a new USB device filter called "All USB Devices". Boot the VM and select the BitCurator ISO as the installation medium. Click through the default options and allow the installation to complete. Reboot. Make any final adjustments to the look and feel of the user desktop (as required) and shut down the VM. Delete the "Logs" and ".vbox-prev" files from the VM directory. Tar and gzip the directory for distribution.

BitCurator documentation, help, and other information

User documentation and additional resources are available at

Questions and comments can also be directed to the bitcurator-users list.


The BitCurator logo, BitCurator project documentation, and other non-software products of the BitCurator team are subject to the the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic license (CC By 4.0).

Unless otherwise indicated, software items in this repository are distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, Version 3. See the text file "COPYING" for further details about the terms of this license.

In addition to software produced by the BitCurator team, BitCurator packages and modifies open source software produced by other developers. Licenses and attributions are retained here where applicable.


Files in "/scripts/bash_scripts" and "/scripts/nautilus_scripts" are based on original code developed by their respective authors and distributed under respective versions of the GNU General Public License.

The py3fpdf code is a local fork of J. Rivera's Python 3 port of the fpdf library distributed under the LGPL.

See for up-to-date project information.

Development Team and Support

The BitCurator environment is a product of the BitCurator team housed at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Funding between 2011 and 2014 was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Ongoing support for the BitCurator environment and related tools is provided by the BitCurator Consortium. Find out more at: