Why not a livecd-debian-installer

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Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Héctor Rivas Gándara
Hi,

I think that is a good idea to incorporate debian-installer in the
live-cd as an alternate installation method. The usuario
cdrom-retriever.udeb that performs an debootstrap can be sustituted by
an live-retriever.udeb that simply copies the content of the .squashfs
file.

Later, if a good gtk-frontend for debconf is developted, it can be used
as graphical installer.

I think that is a good alternative to ubiquity, allows install the
system with only the livecd without load all the graphical system, and
its the way to join efforts with the d-i development.

And it's not so dificult to do that, I recently created my own
installer that uncompress an .tgz with a preinstalled/configured debian
and configures the network and a pair of propietary packets. (But now
I'm really busy, so I'll only comment the idea)

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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Michiel Sikma-2

Op 19-jun-2006, om 19:12 heeft Héctor Rivas Gándara het volgende  
geschreven:

> Hi,
>
> I think that is a good idea to incorporate debian-installer in the  
> live-cd as an alternate installation method. The usuario cdrom-
> retriever.udeb that performs an debootstrap can be sustituted by an  
> live-retriever.udeb that simply copies the content of the .squashfs  
> file.
>
> Later, if a good gtk-frontend for debconf is developted, it can be  
> used as graphical installer.
>
> I think that is a good alternative to ubiquity, allows install the  
> system with only the livecd without load all the graphical system,  
> and its the way to join efforts with the d-i development.
>
> And it's not so dificult to do that, I recently created my own  
> installer that uncompress an .tgz with a preinstalled/configured  
> debian and configures the network and a pair of propietary packets.  
> (But now I'm really busy, so I'll only comment the idea)
>
> --
> Atentamente,
> Héctor Rivas

While we're on the discussion of installation, I'd like to mention  
that I find it impractical to force people to boot into the Live  
system before they can install (unless you get the "alternate" CD).  
Why shouldn't it be possible to install from the CD menu? It's a huge  
strain on my 400 MHz laptop to boot into a Live system as large as  
Ubuntu. It's solely a waste of time from my point of view; obviously  
you'd want people to be able to boot into the Live system right away  
without doing anything to their system, but in case of a (re)install  
by people who know what they're doing, it's just annoying.

I'm not sure how difficult it would be to add an "install" option in  
the CD menu, but I think that it would be a good idea to obsolete the  
"alternate" CD completely.

Michiel
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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Ante Karamatic-2
On Tue, 20 Jun 2006 09:51:42 +0200
Michiel Sikma <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm not sure how difficult it would be to add an "install" option in  
> the CD menu, but I think that it would be a good idea to obsolete
> the "alternate" CD completely.

Alternate CD is used for upgrades too, not only for installations.

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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Ivan Krstić-3
In reply to this post by Michiel Sikma-2
Michiel Sikma wrote:
> I'm not sure how difficult it would be to add an "install" option in the
> CD menu, but I think that it would be a good idea to obsolete the
> "alternate" CD completely.

The reason we traditionally had separate live and (d-i) install media is
because unifying them is highly impractical. 400 MHz laptops aren't the
use case for which it's reasonable to optimize the installation these
days; it's not just the installation, either -- you might want to try
Xubuntu or investigate similar lightweight environments.

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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Michiel Sikma-2

Op 20-jun-2006, om 10:06 heeft Ivan Krstic het volgende geschreven:

> Michiel Sikma wrote:
>> I'm not sure how difficult it would be to add an "install" option  
>> in the
>> CD menu, but I think that it would be a good idea to obsolete the
>> "alternate" CD completely.
>
> The reason we traditionally had separate live and (d-i) install  
> media is
> because unifying them is highly impractical. 400 MHz laptops aren't  
> the
> use case for which it's reasonable to optimize the installation these
> days; it's not just the installation, either -- you might want to try
> Xubuntu or investigate similar lightweight environments.
>
> --
> Ivan Krstic <[hidden email]> | GPG: 0x147C722D
>

That's true, but do people really need to boot into a Live system  
when they want to reinstall on any given computer? It would seem like  
a logical shortcut to be able to skip the Live booting.

Michiel

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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Ivan Krstić-3
Michiel Sikma wrote:
> That's true, but do people really need to boot into a Live system when
> they want to reinstall on any given computer? It would seem like a
> logical shortcut to be able to skip the Live booting.

I'm not sure I understand. You were talking about installing, not
reinstalling, in your original message. A reinstallation from scratch is
functionally equivalent to a first installation, so I think what you're
asking is why we don't provide a short-circuit to the "serious,"
console-based installer for people who already know the ropes. Is that
correct?

If so, see my point about the impracticality of uniting the live and
install CDs. The curses-based installer doesn't exist on the live CD, so
we can't provide a shortcut to it.

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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Michiel Sikma-2

Op 20-jun-2006, om 10:46 heeft Ivan Krstic het volgende geschreven:

> I'm not sure I understand. You were talking about installing, not
> reinstalling, in your original message. A reinstallation from  
> scratch is
> functionally equivalent to a first installation, so I think what  
> you're
> asking is why we don't provide a short-circuit to the "serious,"
> console-based installer for people who already know the ropes. Is that
> correct?

I'm sorry that I wasn't very clear in my original message. My main  
point was that people might want to get right to the installation  
process rather than booting into the actual system first and then  
installing it. Perhaps there should be a possibility of booting into  
a stripped down version of the system that doesn't load any window  
manager but directly loads the installer on an otherwise empty  
screen, simply for speed purposes; it simply seems a little  
unnecessary to load the entire system in case the person installing  
it doesn't need to evaluate Ubuntu before deciding to do so.

This isn't a console-based expert installation mode in particular.

Michiel

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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Héctor Rivas Gándara
In reply to this post by Michiel Sikma-2

El 20/06/2006, a las 9:51, Michiel Sikma escribió:

>> I think that is a good idea to incorporate debian-installer in the
>> live-cd as an alternate installation method. The usuario
>> cdrom-retriever.udeb that performs an debootstrap can be sustituted
>> by an live-retriever.udeb that simply copies the content of the
>> .squashfs file.
> I'm not sure how difficult it would be to add an "install" option in
> the CD menu, but I think that it would be a good idea to obsolete the
> "alternate" CD completely.

That's the idea. If we use debian-installer, we can add a "Text
Install" option  in the boot loader, that will launch a text mode
installer, without lauch all the live system.

>
> Michiel
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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Ivan Krstić-3
In reply to this post by Michiel Sikma-2
Michiel Sikma wrote:
> Perhaps there should be a possibility of booting into a stripped down
> version of the system that doesn't load any window manager but directly
> loads the installer on an otherwise empty screen, simply for speed
> purposes; it simply seems a little unnecessary to load the entire system
> in case the person installing it doesn't need to evaluate Ubuntu before
> deciding to do so.

Ah, okay. That's a valid point. Colin would know specifically what
session components Ubiquity depends on, but I suspect this can be done
without too much effort; I'll make sure it gets brought up at one of the
BoFs in the next few days.

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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Héctor Rivas Gándara
In reply to this post by Héctor Rivas Gándara

El 20/06/2006, a las 11:03, Ivan Krstic escribió:

> Ivan Krstic wrote:
>> If so, see my point about the impracticality of uniting the live and
>> install CDs. The curses-based installer doesn't exist on the live CD,
>> so
>> we can't provide a shortcut to it.

Sorry, I was not clear enough.

I wonder why is not possible include the curses-based installer. It's
only necesary build a new installer (the udeb package) for debian
installer that dumps the live CD content into the target fs.

In space it suposses only add a new initrd image smaller than 5MB.
About the shortcut, it can be called initrd_d-i.gz, and gfxboot can
load it setting initrd=initrd_d-i.gz in the command line.

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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Samuel Cormier-Iijima
I'm pretty sure ubiquity includes a text/curses based frontend, but I
don't think its as usable as the GTK or QT ones yet... and +1, having
only one CD would be a lot more convenient (and cost less for
Canonical?)

Samuel

On 6/20/06, Héctor Rivas Gándara <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> El 20/06/2006, a las 11:03, Ivan Krstic escribió:
>
> > Ivan Krstic wrote:
> >> If so, see my point about the impracticality of uniting the live and
> >> install CDs. The curses-based installer doesn't exist on the live CD,
> >> so
> >> we can't provide a shortcut to it.
>
> Sorry, I was not clear enough.
>
> I wonder why is not possible include the curses-based installer. It's
> only necesary build a new installer (the udeb package) for debian
> installer that dumps the live CD content into the target fs.
>
> In space it suposses only add a new initrd image smaller than 5MB.
> About the shortcut, it can be called initrd_d-i.gz, and gfxboot can
> load it setting initrd=initrd_d-i.gz in the command line.
>
> --
> Atentamente,
> Héctor Rivas
>
>
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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Ivan Krstić-3
Samuel wrote:
> only one CD would be a lot more convenient

Yes.

> (and cost less for Canonical?)

No; the alternate CD isn't available through Shipit.

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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Ivan Krstić-3
In reply to this post by Ivan Krstić-3
Ivan Krstic wrote:
> Ah, okay. That's a valid point. Colin would know specifically what
> session components Ubiquity depends on, but I suspect this can be done
> without too much effort; I'll make sure it gets brought up at one of the
> BoFs in the next few days.

I just talked to Colin, and it turns out there are valid reasons not to
do this. We both think the performance win would likely be quite small,
given the work Tollef is doing on optimizing the Live CD. There's also
the accessibility issue with just launching a fake window manager and
starting Ubiquity; we'd have to run a customized gnome-session to retain
the accessibility features, which would defeat much of any potential
performance gain.

I might toss this together as a proof of concept, but it's not a
particularly promising approach, so I wouldn't expect to see it in Edgy.

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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Aigars Mahinovs-2
On 6/21/06, Ivan Krstic <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I just talked to Colin, and it turns out there are valid reasons not to
> do this.

But a text mode installer that could use the LiveCD squashfs
filesystem as the source would make a lot of sence actually. If direct
copying can be done (without a repack, unpack cycle), then the speed
of install could be a lot higher. And at the same time the resourse
useage of such installer would be similar to regular text mode
install.

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Re: Why not a livecd-debian-installer

Matt Zimmerman-2
In reply to this post by Héctor Rivas Gándara
On Mon, Jun 19, 2006 at 07:12:13PM +0200, Héctor Rivas Gándara wrote:

> I think that is a good idea to incorporate debian-installer in the
> live-cd as an alternate installation method. The usuario
> cdrom-retriever.udeb that performs an debootstrap can be sustituted by
> an live-retriever.udeb that simply copies the content of the .squashfs
> file.
>
> Later, if a good gtk-frontend for debconf is developted, it can be used
> as graphical installer.
>
> I think that is a good alternative to ubiquity, allows install the
> system with only the livecd without load all the graphical system, and
> its the way to join efforts with the d-i development.

We'd have to crunch some numbers to be sure, but I don't think there is
space for d-i on the live CD.

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