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Re: [RFC] hard drive / usb storage installs

On Sat, Oct 11, 2003 at 06:41:57PM -0400, Joey Hess wrote:
> I am working on making d-i support installs from USB storage. Booting is
> dealt with, but there's still the question of how d-i finds the install
> media to install additional udebs and/or to get debs from. 
> As I thought about this, I realized that once it's mounted, a USB
> storage device is essentially just another hard drive, so the design
> should also allow for installs where a generic hard drive is used as the
> install media. I am also leaning toward getting this to work with any
> iso image that has d-i on it, so I don't have to worry about creating my
> own isos (or other media) too.

Amen to that. Hard disk access is needed in many cases.
> The four scenarios I am envisioning are:
> 1. Download a debian iso to a partition you will not be putting Debian on.
>    "Boot" via a batch file that runs linux. May only work on more
>    antique versions of DOS.

This also works on powerpc, using yaboot manually from OpenFirmware.

> 2. Same as #1 except create a floppy image and boot from it.
> 3. Put a debian iso on a USB storage device, and boot from it[0].

Or just installer files, not in iso format.

> 4. Boot from a floppy which then detects your USB storage device.
> In all cases the d-i initrd that is loaded contains drivers for hard
> disks and usb storage, as well as a udeb (provisionally called
> hd-media-detect) that tries to mount each hard drive and partition in
> turn, and looks for iso files on them[1]. Once the d-i iso is found, it
> loop mounts it to /cdrom, and the rest of the install proceeds more or
> less as normal, using the cdrom-retreiver to pull files from it,
> possibly using a modified version of cdrom-checker to validate it first.

Sounds good.

> The only caveat during the install is that it will need to avoid letting
> the user partition the drive from which the iso is loop mounted, or
> format the partition the iso is in. This may call for some changes in
> the partitioner and formating modules.

Well, if the iso is dd'd to the partition, it is read-only and has no
space available. Not sure if that's the way you want to do it though.

Debian GNU/Linux Operating System
  By the People, For the People
Chris Tillman (a people instance)
   toff one at cox dot net

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