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Re: Debian images for Google Compute Engine

On Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 9:17 PM, Charles Plessy <plessy@debian.org> wrote:
first, let me thank Anders again for his work on debian-build-cloud
(ex-ec2debian-build-ami), that gave us the momentum which is essential
to get started.

Yes, Anders deserves much thanks! Slight correction - he actually renamed it to build-debian-cloud, not debian-build-cloud, despite the email typo.

One almost tautological advantage of using Debian-Installer is that the
resulting system will be the same as any other Debian system installed
following the instructions on the Debian website.
One of the largest difference is that Debian-Installer is booted as an
operating system, and debian-build-cloud is executed as a program from a
running system.  In the case of preparing cloud images, the impact of this
difference is reduced.  On the Amazon cloud for instance, I prepared machine
images of the Debian installer.  When booted and provided a preseed file, they
install a Debian system on a target volume.  What blocks me from producing a
usable image is that Debian-Installer does not seem to support making
partition-less systems (and maybe it is not even a problem if it is possible to
boot partitionned volumes on the Amazon cloud).  Once this is solved, I think
that we should seriously consider using Debian-Installer.

While I'm not sure how that model would apply to the common cloud pattern of using one image for multiple machines with varying hostnames and runtime configurations, there are probably ways to enhance Debian-Installer to be usable on both Amazon's cloud and Google's cloud for those users who prefer the "installer in the cloud" model. I agree any shift from build-debian-cloud to Debian-Installer, if Debian decides that's desired, would be over the longer term.

With my Googler hat on, the important goal is a reproducible method that gives an image Debian and Google feel comfortable supporting and which works for the ways cloud customers use images. With my Debian developer hat on, I hope that any system which pays sufficient heed to Appendix D.3. of the Installation Manual will be sufficiently standard Debian to be supportable, and any deficiencies there should be fixed in the manual as well as in implementations of that appendix.

- Jimmy

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