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Bug#412922: please generate win32-loader.ini "manifest" file

On Fri, Jun 01, 2007 at 04:50:10PM +0200, Frans Pop wrote:
> On Thursday 31 May 2007 20:19, Robert Millan wrote:
> > Maybe this is a good time to review this?  I'm attaching a new patch,
> > with some minor changes including adapting to latest win32-loader.ini
> > syntax.
> I guess my main reservation against this is that including a Windows .ini 
> file and thus making the installer autoload within Windows

Note that the file that triggers Windows autoload is only "autorun.ini" (case
insensitive).  win32-loader.ini is ignored by Windows and only used by
win32-loader to know where each linux/initrd image can be found.  Providing
win32-loader.ini in the default builds is harmless.

> if the CD is 
> inserted, _increases_ our "responsibility" if the user should fail to 
> read (or probably more importantly: understand) any of the warnings 
> about "erasing your harddisk and losing existing data".
> The fact that actually starting an install stills involve a reboot, is not 
> a real safeguard as installing almost anything interesting on Windows 
> requires a reboot anyway.
> The fact that currently the installer needs to be booted completely 
> separately, at least makes absolutely clear to even the most clueless 
> Windows user that Debian is not some Windows proggie that can "just be 
> tried" (as running random Windows proggies is of course always "safe", 
> right?).
> I could probably be convinced to include this on CD images if the patch 
> would not start your loader, but would open a modified README.html that 
> has an extensive explanation of what Debian is and only contains a link 
> to the loader itself.
> This would however increase the need for translation of the README.html 
> (which is a worthwhile goal for debian-cd anyway).
> The same would go for USB keystick, but I am not sure if this should be 
> included in other installation methods.

I agree that these concerns are important.  Perhaps a good solution would be
to add enormous warnings (maybe even interactive warnings similar to the
well-known "Yes, do as I say!").

Anyway, at the moment I'm not yet proposing to put this in the default CD,
just to make it easy for users to build their custom CDs with win32-loader
(which is currently awkward since you have to know win32-loader.ini format
spec).  I think for the kind of user who builds her own CD, it's safe to
assume when this CD is used in a Windows box, someone who is not completely
clueless about what an OS is will be around.

> P.S. What is the status of acceptance of the loader into the archive?

I think it'll be in contrib soon.  As for moving to main, depends on #319999
which I'm not skilled to fix :/ (please someone help).

Robert Millan

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