iso-localize: Produce official ISOs in your language

A new command line utility called “iso-localize” is now available. With this tool, users, magazines and communities from various parts of the World can now produce official Linux Mint ISO images in their language and distribute them as such.

From a technical point of view, the utility reads from an existing ISO file, downloads the language packs for the selected language, sets that language as defaults and asks the user to translate the labels found in the liveCD/DVD menu. It then creates a new ISO file, which behaves in every way like the original  and boots directly, with full support, in your language.

The branding aspect is important. As you probably know, we’re strict on quality and testing and we only release images when we thing they’re ready. Thanks to the open-source nature of our project, anybody can remaster our releases and modify them in many ways. These modifications result in custom systems which quality and features we’re not able to assess and for this reason we’re reluctant to see them distributed under our name. Sharing and opening software for others to modify is great, as long as modified versions aren’t distributed as if they officially came from us. We recently faced a problem with the Russian community where someone produced ISOs of extremely poor quality and the Russian community’s website was distributing them as “Linux Mint” ISOs. This is unfair to us and although people are free to modify our images, they should at least do so using their own name and their own branding. Many communities expressed the need for localized ISOs and this branding issue was a concern to us. This new utility solves both problems by allowing communities to create custom ISO images while restricting the scope of this customization to localization.

Of course, we still provide mintconstructor for people who are interested in remastering our images. Images produced manually or using remastering tools (mintconstructor, reconstructor or remastersys, etc…) should be considered unofficial and should not be publicly distributed with our name and branding. Our policy in that regard is to ask distributors of these custom images to create their own name and branding.

Images created with iso-localize can be considered official and distributed as such, using our name and branding.

To know more about iso-localize and how to use it, please read the dedicated tutorial.


  1. Very cool! I personally don’t think I’d ever using this for anything, but it’s a great idea, and may be fun to play with regardless.

    Linux Mint global domination is at hand! 🙂

  2. if I understand well then Mint will now only use english.
    people who wants to use mint in their language will have to use iso-localize to create the same iso in their language. and install like before

    If so then the team can focus on improving mint, and we wont have to wait for translation
    it will be great ^^

  3. Can’t you just register the brand name or something to stop others from branding their versions as Linux Mint?

  4. i don’t think that’s what this means ace, mint will still come with all the languages available, it’s just possible to make an ISO to install that has your language as the default from the start (instead of pressing a button to switch the language at installation or however it goes). basically people will have an easier time installing mint if they don’t speak English and someone was kind enough to make an ISO with their language as default.

    1. @Andre Santos: I made some changes for pt_PT and pt_BR in a new version (1.0.1). You can try it from Romeo or from here:
      Apparently, it’s the same language packs for both variants of Portuguese, only the locale changes. Let me know if v1.0.1 works well for you. It’s quite late here so I didn’t have time to test it enough for it to make its way into the stable branch of the repository…

      @Dupo: You’re welcome, I know you were waiting for it for a while. Also, the team at was anxious to get this done. Let me know if you find issues. I’ll be using this tool myself to get two French versions of Mint 9 for an upcoming magazine 😉

    2. @Andre Santos: Sorry, I forgot to mention. Using v1.0.1, select “pt” first, then when it asks for the variant: “pt_BR”.

  5. This is fantastic! I was very sad when you removed the universal version [:(], but now I’m very happy!

  6. @Ace: Not necessarily, what I understand is that now we can create ISOs in a language different to english… before this feature, we always downloaded the ISO in english.

    But if you want to install Linux Mint in a different language, like me (in spanish), you don’t have to do this… you just have to download the original ISO, install it as you have been done, and choose the language you want in the specific step (step 1, I guess).

  7. Hi,

    @Clem: Can we translate these messages in the iso file with iso-localize for the livecd ? :

    “Automatic boot in x seconds” and “Press [tab] to edit options”.

    because I found how to translate these ones. Normally, in menu.cfg, you must have a line like that : MENU AUTOBOOT Automatic boot in # seconds

    Then you can change the message like that (in french for example) : MENU AUTOBOOT Demarrage automatique dans # seconde(s)

    For “Press [tab] to edit options” message, it’s the same thing. You must have a line like that : MENU TABMSG Press [tab] to edit options

    You can change also in french (for example), like that : MENU TABMSG Appuyer sur [tab] pour editer les options.

    But I don’t know if it possible with grub2 ?

    I give you a link with these informations :


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  9. Lovely! 😀 But I ran into some issues – yes, the unmount and non-ascii characters stuff you told us to ignore but something else as well.

    perl: warning: Setting locale failed.
    perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings:
    LANGUAGE = (unset),
    LC_ALL = (unset),
    LANG = “ro_RO.utf8”
    are supported and installed on your system.
    perl: warning: Falling back to the standard locale (“C”).
    locale: Cannot set LC_CTYPE to default locale: No such file or directory
    locale: Cannot set LC_MESSAGES to default locale: No such file or directory
    locale: Cannot set LC_ALL to default locale: No such file or directory

    The following NEW packages will be installed:
    language-pack-kde-ro language-pack-kde-ro-base
    (I used iso-localize on the Gnome edition so this is useless)

    Can not write log, openpty() failed (/dev/pts not mounted?)

    The ISO was created successfully but there are two strings that are not translated:
    – Install Linux Mint (the Desktop shortcut)
    – Menu (the Mint Menu button)

    1. Can iso-localize use non-ascii characters in the future? Proper language would be better, if possible.
    2. Could iso-localize try to auto-detect the ISO and if it cannot at least ask the user what edition is it about so it won’t have to integrate unneeded language packs by default?
    3. Are we missing something from the translations if those two strings got displayed in English? I know I made sure every string got translated for Isadora but for some reason the menu button is also English even after I boot the official disk and install Mint in my own language.

    Minor stuff, I know. 🙂 I can hardly wait to see this improved. Maybe as a GUI sometime in the future. 🙂

  10. Oh… the boot loader still displays “Automatic boot in X seconds” and “Press [Tab] to edit options”. Can these strings be localized?

    Many thanks for this tool so far! 😀

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