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Knoppix CD/DVD as Debian installer (next generation)

Hello everyone,

Sorry about the subject change, I thought it's easier to find in
archives that way. ;-)

On Wed, Jan 11, 2006 at 09:28:31PM +0000, Manolis Mathioudakis wrote:
> Klaus Knopper <debian-knoppix@knopper.net> ??????:  On Tue, Jan 10, 2006 at 02:45:18PM -0600, Shane Geiger wrote:
> > At this point, on a Debian system, I might try dist-upgrade at this
> > point. However, that's always riskier than doing "apt-get install
> > 
> " to install only those packages that you have to
> > install/upgrade. That is especially true for Knoppix. So, don't do
> > apt-get dist-upgrade.
> > 
> > Knoppix is a wonderful tool. It has limitations, though. I wish there
> > were a Debian LiveCD project or that Knoppix were more Debian-like.
> Btw, I'm working on this. ;-)

And we may be able to replace some knoppix-patched Debian-packages (like
sysvinit) by the original ones using some script-based "evil hacks"
instead, in order to make them behave like the earlier live-cd versions.

> Regards
> -Klaus Knopper
> That's very nice.   Do you need any help? Just let us know. 
>   Can't wait for the new version

Actually, I'm a little unsure whether or not to put everything that's
new and exciting in a very new version 5.0, or continue with a 4.1
version first. Since I already changed a lot of things including
hardware detection (possibly adding udev, too), and Kernel 2.6.15 is
kind of a major upgrade anyways (for example, plaintext descriptions in
/proc/pci are gone), plus a completely unionfs-based filesystem layout
redesign, we'll probably end up having big changes ahead that would
justify a change in the major version number. 

So, maybe a "Beta-Beta" release like 4.99 would make sense right now,
and issuing 5.0 on Cebit 2006.

Anyways. Since you asked, indeed, I could need some help.

The most urgent an probably a big breakthrough also for other
Debian-installers would be the following:

For the planned "hd-install and update from CD or DVD" feature
(especially "update" could be exciting), I would need an extension for
dpkg and apt-get that allows a /etc/apt/sources.list entry like this:

deb installed:/UNIONFS

that doesn't use .deb packages, but a preinstalled system including the
dpkg database in /var/lib/dpkg. This is supposed to make it possible to
install debian packages that are already unpacked and preinstalled (with
the existing and probably modified corresponding /etc/ configuration
files) from a root directory tree, in this example /UNIONFS.

A not-so-advanced workaround would be dpkg-repack'ing every single
package from the live system, put all the .deb files into a temporary
directory, create a database with apt-ftparchive, and the use this as
file:/ resource in sources.list. But why go through all this effort and
waste space and CPU time when all packages are already installed on the
medium and a database including all dependencies already exists?

With a feature like the above, we could easily make a Live CD or DVD
that can be installed and updated the standard Debian way, without
having to use a deb package file repository.

Plus, updating an existing harddisk installation using just the live CD
or DVD would be possible.

Any comments/ideas/code recommendations for his?

-Klaus Knopper

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