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Re: isorecorder

On Sun, 2021-01-10 at 18:13 +0100, Thomas Schmitt wrote:
> Hi,
> Lou Poppler wrote:
> > If you want to recommend rufus, please do so ONLY with a prominent, 
> > un-ignoreable warning explaining that the user MUST select rufus'
> > "DD mode" at the prompt immediately before writing the media.
> I understand that manual selection of this mode has been removed in
> favor of automatic detection of dd candidates:
>   https://github.com/pbatard/rufus/issues/1148#issuecomment-395562137
> I don't use Rufus myself but it is my answer to users of MS-Windows when
> they ask what to do with an ISO that is bootable from USB-stick.
> Have a nice day :)
> Thomas
Hi Thomas,

Your github link references changes made in 2018.
In September 2020, I tested the latest rufus on a windows system,
and found that the ISO mode was still default, DD mode only an option.
I corresponded with rufus's author Pete Batard, including some logs from #debian
discussing my testing of rufus, and he  kindly returned a lengthy response to my

Everything below are excerpts from his email:

On Thu, 1 Oct 2020, Pete Batard <pete@akeo.ie> wrote:
Unfortunately, the Syslinux people have made their modules 
incompatible from one version to another, and you can't get a core 
USB/HDD Syslinux bootloader, that is compatible with the Isolinux 
El-Torito core bootloader, from the ISO itself, so, if the version of 
Isolinux used by the ISO is different from the one of the USB/HDD 
Syslinux that Rufus embeds, we need to download it. We will therefore 
prompt a dialog to do so, to let users know that Rufus is planning to 
download extra components from the internet. But this is a standard 
prompt, not an error.

Now the one thing that might have thrown this user off is that Rufus 
always prompts to download these components BEFORE it asks to choose 
between ISO and DD mode, even as these components are only used for ISO 
mode, on account that I find it better for users to have the extra 
Syslinux or GRUB components needed to write in ISO mode available on 
their machine for subsequent runs. But I can understand how some people 
may *WRONGLY* assume that, if Rufus asks them to download these, then 
it's not going to ask them between DD and ISO mode, which is incorrect, 
as this is really the very next prompt.
Finally, I'm not sure why that user is so hell bent on using DD vs ISO. 
Rufus does actually recommend ISO mode over DD (which is part of the 
reason why I want to nudge users into downloading the extra remote 
Syslinux/GRUB components they need) because, if you pay attention to 
user reports from the internet, especially on social media sites like 
reddit, you will find that DD-mode image writing does often throw 
Windows people off, as they think that their drive has been reduced in 
size to just the ESP since Windows will not mount the main, larger 
installation partition. This, I'm afraid, is not something that Linux 
distro maintainers and power-users tend to see, who, I will assert, see 
ISOHybrid as some kind of panacea, whereas they need to realise that 
there really exist a lot of Windows users, who are trying to install 
Linux for the first time and are not familiar with file systems and 
partitioning that assume, when seeing that the Linux USB they just wrote 
has apparently been "reduced" to a 16 or 32 MB ESP, that there is an 
issue with their boot media and do not proceed to attempt installation 
as a result (a bit like the user below assuming that if they are 
prompted for files that apply for ISO mode, then it must mean that Rufus 
will not prompt them for DD mode, which is incorrect).

And since I believe that this is ultimately damaging with regards to 
helping people try Debian or other Linux distros, this is why Rufus 
tends to recommend ISO mode over DD mode. I therefore have to stress out 
that distros that are concerned about helping Windows users try or 
install Linux in the best conditions not put all their eggs in the 
ISOHybrid "DD" basket, but also ensure that their live or installer 
system can function with a single FAT32 partition (which, thankfully, 
the Debian and Ubuntu maintainers seem to readily understand, as far as 
I can see).

So, to summarise:
- The DD vs ISO prompt is there. But it only appears after the download 
Syslinux component prompt, and will obviously not show if you cancel the 
whole operation on the first prompt. So far, I've had very few reports 
of users being thrown off by this.

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