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Re: Script to Automate D-I

On Wed, Jan 11, 2006 at 05:24:08PM -0800, Michael wrote:
> Could someone tell me where to get information about how to write an
> installation script for debian-installer? I'm helping with a project
> called Instlux (sourceforge.net/projects/instlux) whose goal is to
> facilitate Windows users installing Linux. The installer will gather
> information from the Windows registry, ask the user how much space to
> give linux, and write that information to an installation script. The
> computer will restart into a linux environment running off of the
> user's FAT partition using grub4dos, and the linux installer will
> automatically partition the disk, copy the linux distribution, and
> configure the system based on the information in the installation
> script. I haven't been able to find any documentation on how to write
> such a script for d-i, though, so I would be very grateful if someone
> could point me the way. Thank you for your help.

Given how few windows machines use FAT anymore, I really wonder how
useful such a script would be.

A script that would collect hardware information, and provide a printout
the user could refer to with information about each piece on the other
hand might actually be useful, and would be independant of filesystem.

For example something listing the disk controllers, type and size of
disks, video card type, which driver it should use, and what version of
X is minimum to run it, which minimum kernel is required for each piece
of hardware, etc.  You would just about have to do all that anyhow to
actually make a valid preseed script for any installer, and providing it
to the user in a nice readable format would actually help educate the
user a bit about their system, and would be linux distribution
independant.  It would be useful no matter what the user is installing.
The number of times you can ask a user what hardware they have and get
an answer of either "I don't know" or "a dell" or 'an intel' is rather

Something like:

You system is:
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 with hyperthreading.  Should use an SMP enabled
kernel to take full advantage of your processor

Video: You have an onboard intel 945 graphics chip.  The driver to use
for this chip is the i810 X driver.

Monitor: You have a ViewSonic P95f+.  The settings for this screen are:
1600x1200 maximum resolution, horizontal scan rate: 30-110KHz, vertical
refresh rate: 50-160Hz.

Hardisk: Your have a 250GB WD SATA drive connected to an intel ICH7 SATA
controller, which should use the ata_piix driver.

CD/DVD: You have a Plextor PX-740A DVD writer connected to an intel ICH7
IDE port as secondary master.  The driver for this should be ide-cd
along with piix on kernels less than 2.6.15, and ata_piix with
atapi_enabled=1 set on 2.6.15 kernels.

Of course actually doing all this correctly is just about imposible.  I
certainly wouldn't try it.  Much less work to just try and improve the
hardware autodetection of the distributions.

Len Sorensen

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