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Re: Embarrassing

On Sat, Jun 21, 2014 at 09:40:28PM +0200, John Plate wrote:
> Dear Debien people
> I want to burn a CD with netinst from a Windows machine. The
> possibilities mentioned at
>     https://www.debian.org/CD/faq/#record-unix
> is embarrassing
> It is bad for people who want to move from Windows to Linux.
> Try the tools yourself. Wasn't it possible to make just a little
> commandline tool to copy the iso file to a CD?
> Best wishes,
> John

If you want to move from Windows -> Linux, you have, essentially, three choices:

1.) Buy burned/pressed CD / DVD media.

This is a lot less common these days - we do want to save landfill. Regardless,
there are several vendors who will ship worldwide. Steve McIntyre (part of the 
debian-cd team) certainly used to offer such a service.

The likelihood is that the multi-architecture DVD would do for >80% of all possible
installs or possibly just the 300M or so of netinst CD for amd64 - since most machines
today are capable of running 64 bit and have been for about five years. People could
ask for 32 bit as an exception. One item, anyway.

2. Install Cygwin under Windows and use dd tp write an image to a USB stick

This is straightforward - if you've already installed and used Cygwin, are entirely comfortable
with it and know what you're doing. Not feasible for new users.

3. Find a Linux box - any Linux box and use the Linux tools mentioned.

If you've a machine that will boot from USB, a USB stick install is preferable to almost anything else
since optical media gets scratched, may have been sat around for months or years before you burn it etc. etc.
Goodness, if you know somewone with a Raspberry Pi, you've got a machine that will happily write the netinst 
image to a USB.

(4) MS Windows 7 Starter and Home (at least) don't come with CD and DVD buning software out of the box.
This keeps third party vendors like Roxio in business. There are lots of programs to burn CD/DVD under
Windows - all subtly different and it's far too easy for someone used to drag and drop to drop a .iso
file on the CD burning program and end up wtih a CD that won't boot with netinst.iso as the file inside it.
The documentation given on the page is not great but is an attempt to explain what to do.

Your request for a simple command line tool is understood, but:

A command line program for Windows would, at the very least, require someone to open the CMD prompt, be confronted
with a "DOS box" and type an unfamiliar command properly first time without the risk of wiping out their installed 
windows by picking the wrong drive :(

Most of us are not Windows programmers and if you were to do a nice Windows program, you'd need an installer, signatures
or approval to get it to run under 64 bit Windows 7 or 8 without throwing up warnings, trying to keep up with Windows Blue
or whatever the next yearly iteration would be....

The Ubuntu installer had, for a while, an option that would install Ubuntu on a Windows machine inside one large file: not
necessarily the best performing. There was also goodbye-microsoft.exe which essentially rebooted the machine to a Debian
installer but that was destructive if you wanted to retain dual boot. I'd recommend neither of the above if you come across 

All the best,


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