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[Debconf-discuss] installation report on installation failure and having net install for minimal installations .

Hi all,

Sorry, this would be a bit long -

As we are getting near to Debconf there are two workshops I would like
to see and both probably are part of Debian QA .

1. Installation report on installation failure - At times when you are
installing Debian either on too new hardware or too old, obsolete
hardware, at times the installation fails invariably/probably due to a
driver issue.

The device I usually use to do are usb disk/s as I find them to be
more convenient as well as having better shelf-life than most cheap
DVD's. Some good usb disks have lasted even four years and beyond as

When the installation is a success, I know I could just run reportbug
and put 'installation report' as the package and it would tell/share
that the installation was a success.

My query is how to save installation report and send it in the
instance when the installation is a failure. I know that details of
what worked or didn't is in the memory (RAM) but how to save it to usb
disk/usb thumbdrive ?

I had read somewhere that one way to do it is if I have say an 8 or 16
GiB usb disk/hdd I could partition it, put the iso image on one
partition and save the report on another partition . But how to do
that remains a mystery ? There also may be other ways in which the
installation report could be sent but how could that be done I'm

2. A related scenario is if some hardware is dead - AFAIK in
debian-installer there aren't any tools to check the health of the
hardware. For instance, we do have smartmontools to check the health
of ATA and SCSI disks but that is an optional tool and nothing
embedded within debian-installer. The end result is it's a binary,
either it's a successful installation or a failure with the system
administrator being none the wiser as to why the installation failed

Maybe, just maybe somebody could share how to do installation reports
when failures happen and and send it to debian and share what error
messages to look for in case hardware/some component is dead.

3. Net install for minimal installations - Doing full installations is
very time-consuming. Here the usb disks as well as ATA/IDE are both
bottlenecks and a desktop install takes at least 30-45 minutes. I
know/have heard of both usb 3.1 and SSD but both are expensive (SSD
much more so) and SSD's still have issues - an example -

There is though Intel's non-volatile memory which I'm hopeful for -


So, currently, one way to beat the installation time blues one idea is
perhaps to use debian net-install https://www.debian.org/CD/netinst/ .

I could just install that and have grub, the kernel image, terminal
interface, console prompt and apt + libapt hooks. If my thinking is
right, I could just do the minimal install and any time I want, just
edit the sources at /etc/apt/sources.list , do the sources, do an
update and have the distribution installed on system/systems over
period of time having the latest X version of software all the time.

Could we do/simulate a net install workshop and have either no net or
patchy net to see how it works or could be made to work in such
scenarios ?

Are there any volunteers who would like to take either of the above ?
I would be very much interested if somebody does make a proposal of
any of the above.

If anybody has any ideas or tips but would not want to take the
workshop but would be interested in attending, maybe share here. If I
get some guidance, I would gladly step up for 1. and 3. in case there
is interest on the above. 2. is actually something that only people in
debian-installer team might be able to take a crack at.

Sorry for the long-winded arguments. Looking forward for suggestions,
thoughts, ideas, anything.

          Shirish Agarwal  शिरीष अग्रवाल
  My quotes in this email licensed under CC 3.0
EB80 462B 08E1 A0DE A73A  2C2F 9F3D C7A4 E1C4 D2D8

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