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Bug#299059: sarge network-preseed not getting executed

Joey Hess wrote:
> Neil Franklin wrote:
> > network-preseed and file-preseed packages are only added to the install
> > system by download-installer, which is run by main-menu at
> > XB-Installer-Menu-Item: 23, but they themselves have
> > XB-Installer-Menu-Item: 21 (network-preseed) and 14 (file-preseed), and
> > so get sorted into the menu before download and are not executed any
> > more.
> Before I or anyone else reading this has a heart attack, it's important
> to note that this problem only affects floppies or any other media that
> has the preseed packages left off of it, it does not affect netboot, cd,
> etc.

OK, so it is a known bug by design :-)

> I doubt that fully preseeded installs using floppies are possible anyway
> since you at least have to let it prompt for the root and probably a
> drivers floppy.

Inserting/removing media ist unavoidable, one CD or multiple floppys,
those prompts are part of this.

Preseeding should IMHO relieve the user from baby sitting the system
after media handling is done, and prevent installation variations from
errorneously differently answered questions.

And that can be done with floppys. At least after discovering the 1.02
initrd-preseed and replacing/extending the given /preseed.cfg in the
initrd of the "current" root floppy, I have managed to get an fully
preseeded install.

Even the keyboard/language setting and dismissing the question for
drivers floppy can be preseeded (the later required removing the
(useless?) db_set line from /var/lib/dpkg/info/load-floppy.postinst to

Preseed is a nice cool mechanism, when it works. My thanks go to its

> Still the bug's valid, we should support preseeding with
> floppies to the extent possible.

Or at least document the limitation, so that people don't spend lots of
time searching for the "I  must be doing this wrong" mistake.

> > Cheap and nasty fix: Resequence these 2 packages to after 23
> That is not a fix, as it would make it impossible to preseed the mirror
> selection step anymore. In the case of file-preseed it would make it
> impossible to preseed network setup via a preseed file.

That is why I called it "Cheap and nasty" :-).

> > Better but possibly more involved fix: Include these 2 packages on the
> > root floppy initrd. As they are each only 10k and their only dependency
> > (preseed-common) is already there, this should have an acceptable space
> > usage.
> Yep, we should look at doing this post sarge, or alternatively fix
> main-menu to reorder the menu based on load order (#288053).

Perhaps it would be good to change the documentation (Sarge
Installation Manual, http://d-i.alioth.debian.org/manual/) to reflect
this limitation of the floppy media?

And ideally also add documentation about existance of /preseed.cfg in
initrd of root floppy. As this only was added with preseed 1.02 I
assume it simply did not exist wenn the currend preliminary manual was

Neil Franklin, System Programmer, Dept of Physics
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zuerich, HPR E86.1
http://www.phys.ethz.ch/~franklin/, franklin@phys.ethz.ch.remove

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