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Re: Re: Re: di-netboot-assistant - toward version 1.0


I would like to fire-up a brainstorming for netboot images in Squeeze.

As far as I can say, there are two typical architecture:
* Move to .deb images
* Generalize and structure the .tar.gz files

Moving toward .deb images
Probably raises some problems:
* Are the image "BYHAND"?
* Images must be arch "all" (So any netboot server can netboot any arch)
* Would in imply extra delays, when we want to switch to a new kernel
  revision during the release freeze?
* What about the daily builds: which repository? How to sign/upload?
* Turn di-netboot-installer into a debconf helper.

At the same time it has some advantages:
* Rely on dpkg to install.
* All the images are referenced in debian repository. There is no need
  no maintain other repositories manually.
* Images are signed

Generalize and structure the .tar.gz files
(If we don't switch to .deb, I wish all arch could provide a .tar.gz
with some meta-data).
* The opposite of .deb advantages :)
* Everyone knows how to un-tar a file, what ever the host.
* Less work/No migration (i.e keep using di-netboot-assistant
  or a similar tool).

I have embedded below my previous email on this topic, which could seems
to advocate for .tar.gz  (but I have no opinion yet).

Your feedback is welcome.


On Wed, 2008-06-18 at 00:42 +0200, Franklin PIAT wrote:
> Hello,
> On Tuesday 03 June 2008, Franklin PIAT wrote:
> > I had a small home-made script to retrieve and untar Debian Installer
> > netboot images.
> I've had a few though toward a di-netboot-assistant version 1.0 (read:
> more robust with less heuristics). The problem is that today, di-n-a is
> doing some black-magic to detect the bootloader, and determine which
> files should be "patched" to rewrite the menu files according to the
> location where the files got extracted.
> What about the following two ideas (which should be done on the
> debian-installer side, not on di-netboot-assistant side ;)
> *** Pack D-I netboot images in a consistent way, for all archs.
> Currently, some arch like arm and mips provide multiple individual
> files, but no .tar.gz file, that's harder to fetch.
> Also, some architectures (like sparc, alpha and hppa) provide a single
> boot.img, but nothing else.
> Providing consistent "pack" of files would help unpacking them.
> Actually, I've fount the way the i386/ia64/amd64 tar.gz files are
> arranged to be very convenient :
> - It's a tar.gz, so it can be expanded on any [tftp server] system.
> - It contains a common "top" directory (debian-installer/$arch), so 
>   it's easy to rewrite the included configuration files, in case the
>   file is extracted in a different directory
>   ('s/debian-installer\/$arch/foobar/').
> This layout also has two nice side effects :
> 1.It's possible to provide a meta-data file, to describe the 
>   content of the tar file (currently, it's "version.info", but it 
>   could be enhanced to contain arch, dist, bootloader type, 
>   arch-variant, d-i variant... Also, another file could
>   contain individual files check-sums, etc
> 2.It's possible to *not* extract the meta-data file when the 
>   netboot files are extracted.
>   (thanks to "tar -zxf foo.tar.gz --strip=2")
> *** Provide .Package and .Release like files
> It would be great to have file that lists all the available
> netboot for a given distribution, very similar to .Release and 
> .Packages files that are referenced in /etc/apt/sources.list.
> Benefits :
> - It would be possible to list all netboot images in a single place.
> - It would be possible to provide checksum of those files.
> - It would be possible to sign all those files.
> What do you think about it ?
> I don't think this could be achieved by Lenny, but it would be great to
> have it in Lenny+1.
> Franklin

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