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d-i CDs

I think that the names of the images are confusing at the moment, and
hide the goals of the various images.

I think "net" should be renamed "net-floppy", as it is primarily
designed to retrieve udebs from the _net_ and constrained to 
fit a _floppy). (1440)

"netboot" would be "net", or "net-2880"; designed to retrieve from the
net, but _not_ constrained to fit 1.4 MiB, etc. Useful for pxe boots,

A similar scheme for the cdroms; designed to retrieve necessary udebs
from cdrom, with size limits of 2880 and 1440.

The images should contain _only_ what they need to contain. While for
development we run with debconf priority = medium or low, when finished 
most users will probably use "high", autodetection will work and users
will not see the limitations of the initial initrd. Nevertheless, any
unnecessary elements added to the initrd take up memory and limit the
ability to install on low-resource systems. (I'd like to reinvestigate
the low-memory cases once we've got a workable solution for sarge), not
just for old PCs but also embedded systems.

the "netinst" CD is misleading to my mind; we're not really installing
from the net, the CD should contain all debs to create a working system.
Once the target system is booting, it downloads optional debs from the
net, or even a CD set. It doesn't necessarily involve _any_ net use.

We shouldn't produce multiple boot CDs; we should simplify and have just
one: the 2880 CD. With the d-i architecture this doesn't lose us any

In fact I'd go further; following discussions on IRC with the other
ports people it occured to me that the "netinst" or boot CD could not
just be the only necessary boot CD for Debian GNU/Linux, but also the
other Debian OS ports: at its current size, it has space for the base
debs for Hurd, GNU/NetBSD and GNU/FreeBSD. We could put up a
(low-priority) question "Which OS do you wish to install?" with default
Linux. Many of the "all" arch debs overlap; it would take < 500 MB in
total. (I've been thinking about what we would need to do to support
this; its not much; further details in a follow-up email).

As to USB memory sticks, I've investigated it in principle but don't
have one yet. It should be straightforward: Just a 2.8 MB initrd, treat
the stick as a disk, partition it and set a boot record to boot the


On Sat, 2003-05-24 at 10:44, Martin Sjögren wrote:
> I have two things I want to discuss.
> 1)
> We're using isolinux on CD#1. This means that for the bioses that
> support it, we get a nice boot prompt and we're able to pick kernel
> initrd at boot time instead of at build time. It also means we're
> considerably less restrained in size of the initrd.
> Since this doesn't work on all hardware, the cdrom-2880.img is used
> booting CD#2.
> This leads us to two things:
> a) The images (or in case of CD#1, the initrd) can be different, we
> put more stuff on the initrd for CD#1.
> b) The images *should* be different! The image that boots from CD#2
> should inform the user that after they've booted, they need to
> CD#1 before continuing, since we don't want to put the udebs and base
> debs on every CD in the set. (right?)
> Should we, then invent new targets? Instead of just 'cdrom', should we
> have 'cdrom-initrd' and 'cdrom2880'? Should 'cdrom2880' contain a
> insert-cd-no-1-udeb? ;)
> 2)
> Netinst CDs. The way they work right now is kind of cumbersome, since
> they, too, use the 2.88M cdrom image. I'm pondering, since it's much
> more common that CDs can boot from 2.88M images than floppy drives,
> can't we just take the 1.44M net image, expand it to 2.88M and put
> on a CD? We could fit all the NIC drivers and other goodies, perhaps
> even i18n, on it. This means that it wouldn't mount the CD at all, it
> would pull everything from the net. However, the CD would probably
> be about 25M in size, what with all the docs and tools the -cd people
> want to put on it... :) Maybe we could trim that down, though, with
> argument that this is just to emulate a larger floppy 'cause PCs
> ;)
> Comments, anyone?
> /Martin
> PS: has anyone looked into booting off USB memory sticks?

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