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Bug#505773: debian-installer: Bootable netboot image for USB stick patch

On Monday 17 November 2008, Otavio Salvador wrote:
> I'm not in the position to decide about the inclusion of that into the
> Installation Guide but I believe it would be a problem due the
> translation. I think we should keep two patches in a queue to be
> commited as soon as we open svn to squeeze work.

Agreed this is post-lenny. I can review and commit the patch for the 
manual at that point. Just remind me.

> Do anyone disagrees with me?

I have a few minor, mostly practical, reservations against this.

1) netboot is heavily used for quick test builds. This increases build 
time for a regular netboot image by a LOT because we'll now also always 
build the gtk target. This in turn reduces development efficiency.

I'd very much like to keep the option (or add it rather) to only build the 
plain netboot image or the mini.iso.

2) Problem with these small USB images and the way they are written is 
that anything already on the USB stick gets deleted and that - given that 
most USB sticks nowadays are significantly larger in size - makes most of 
the stick completely unusable. Same goes for hd-media.

If someone could come up with some solution to these problems, that would 
be great.

One alternative option for the second issue could be to instead create a 
tarball with everything in it, including syslinux config and a script the 
user can run manually to make the stick bootable (with appropriate 
warnings if required commands, possibly checking for availability of 
alternative commands, are not available). I would expect such a script to 
become "smarter" with time as users provide feedback.

Note that I did recently improve the instructions for manually placing 
netboot images on a USB-stick somewhat in the installation guide.


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