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

"Frans Pop" <elendil@planet.nl> wrote in message 

>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
>most USB sticks nowadays are significantly larger in size - makes most
>the stick completely unusable. Same goes for hd-media.
>If someone could come up with some solution to these problems, that
>be great.
My suggestion is to separate the concept of making the USB stick
from the concept of providing a d-i to boot. Any USB stick only needs to
made bootable once, by installing GRUB or similar. Once it is bootable,
user can add as many boot images as s/he likes, and may want to 
change/update them frequently - e.g. if testing new d-i releases.

So provide a set of instructions (and a GRUB download, if you like) for 
helping people make their USB sticks bootable. (Remind them that some
systems only boot if the stick is in the "superfloppy" format, rather
formatted as a hard disk.)
Separately, provide d-i releases for USB sticks *on the assumption that
stick is bootable*. This should save everyone lots of trouble.
Ideally, a d-i for USB boot should give the user a choice between
for an ISO on the stick, and connecting directly to a repository
It seems silly to have to keep two d-i images on the stick to achieve
>One alternative option for the second issue could be to instead create
>tarball with everything in it, including syslinux config and a script
>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
>become "smarter" with time as users provide feedback.
Yes - there is no reason that the instructions and download for making
stick bootable cannot be bundled with the d-i download. Just make it
that they can be safely ignored by those whose stick is already

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