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Re: feedback wanted alternative Debian installation system

On Thu, Feb 28, 2002 at 06:05:57PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 28, 2002 at 07:25:12PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > You unpack rescue.bin onto an NFS server, boot LILO and load the kernel
> > telling it to NFS mount / from wherever you put rescue.bin. AFAIK,
> > AIUI, anyway.
> This is pretty much how the NFS live filesystem support works in PGI, as
> well.

Aha. Pity. This might be something to see about changing in udebs &
PGI post woody, then.

> > I'm just not seeing what's different about PGI's approach here that means
> > you're not limited to the feature set that PGI supports, I guess.
> If the concept behind PGI bores you to tears, 

Hardly. Bdale was quite enthusiastic about it at linux.conf.au, and your
feature list certainly backs that up.

> PGI is presented as an alternative Debian installation system, not as a
> boot-floppies killer.  

boot-floppies is already on its death bed. It needs an heir, not someone
to twist the knife.

Well, at any rate, that's what I'm interested in. Using it as an
alternative woody installer is interesting to some people, obviously.

On Thu, Feb 28, 2002 at 06:19:10PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 28, 2002 at 07:25:12PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > 	Debian uses PGI as it's installer for the Debian 4.2 release. A
> > 	bug is found in the partitioning tool the day after release that
> > 	corrupts some people's machines. Is it possible for Debian to
> > 	just rebuild parted, put that on the mirrors, and have almost
> > 	everyone get access to it even if they're installing from CDs?
> > 	If so, how does this work?
> You run pgi-build --no-post-clean, put misc/live at the NFS export
> location, and tell your users to use it.
> E.g., at the syslinux prompt:
> install nfs=my.nifty.host:/export/live

It's not really reasonable for Debian to do this over the Internet,
though, is it? (scalability issues with too many people doing it and few
mirrors, and security issues where it's hard to validate an NFS site is
what you expect in advance and "easy" to hijack them once they exist)

> The only things you are "locked into" are the kernel and the initrd
> contents (though even the latter can be overriden for most purposes).
> Supporting PXEboot is something a couple of us at Progeny are pretty
> interested in.

So this feature is basically targeted at media-less installs at a
particular site, right? Load up a server, turn on all the machines, and
have them all just automatically install without having to do anything,
more or less.

> > It doesn't much matter if PGI doesn't already do this; there's no real
> > reason why it couldn't be udeb'ed, but some of the things you've said
> > seem to indicate that it might already manage this, or something like it.
> Well, not everything you might need to have on the live filesystem
> (e.g., XFree86, GTK+, Glade) may be udeb'ed.

Well, debootstrap still isn't udeb'ed atm, so that goes without saying,
for now.

How're you choosing what bits of XFree86/GTK+/Glade get put on the
installation media? Are you just going with "everything in the .deb",
or do you have special exclusion lists or something?


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
We came. We Saw. We Conferenced. http://linux.conf.au/

  ``Debian: giving you the power to shoot yourself in each 
       toe individually.'' -- with kudos to Greg Lehey

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