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Re: Using loop devices in Debian

On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 08:04:53AM -0600, Richard Owlett wrote:
> Having read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loop_device, I suspect
> using a loop device will alleviate some of my problems.

It should do. 

Install methods for Debian on machines supporting a CD/DVD:

1. Boot from a physical CD / DVD.

This can be CD/DVD 1 / the multiarch CD / netinst CD.

Without internet access, this should still produce a working very small
base system. 

[Adding non-free firmware]

You may need to add non-free firmware to cope with network
devices / wifi devices / graphics card drivers. Non-free firmware can be 
added from a USB stick as part of the install or added at any point 

e.g. apt-get install firmware-linux-nonfree firmware-realtek

[Adding additional packages]

Additional packages beyond CD/DVD1 can be added from other physical CDs
by using the apt-cdrom command to list the package files from each CD and
keep a record of which files come from which CD.

Insert CD2: run apt-cdrom add ; apt-get update ... [and repeat for CD 3-40 
(DVD2-10) ]

Add a package in the normal way e.g. apt-get install elinks. 

You will be prompted to insert the appropriate physical CD for any package.
If there are multiple dependencies, you'll be aaked to insert disks in the 
appropriate order to satisfy most dependencies - so you might need CD 1,3,4,5
- or whatever.


Loop mounting CDs - should not be necessary if you have the physical CDs / DVDs.


Doing the above with loop mounted .iso files. [I have done this on a macine that 
was then network-isolated and would only be network connected some time later]

Install using a physical copy of DVD1. Use dd to write all DVDs/other .iso files to a 
temporary directory.

dd if=/dev/cdrom of=/isofiles/debian-7.3.0-amd64-DVD-1.iso

Loop mount each .iso to /media/cdrom in turn

mount - o loop -t iso9660 /isofiles/debian-7.3.0-amd64-DVD-1.iso /media/cdrom

Then run apt-cdrom add ; apt-get update as above.


If you have an Debian machine and an internet connection, you can short circuit a lot of 
this at the cost of a significant download, 16 / 32GB of disk space and using jigdo.

The Blu-Ray disks are .iso files internally and include all the software from each CD/DVD.

Jigdo download the Blu-Ray .iso ; loop mount it, run apt-cdrom add ; apt-get update and 
you're away. All files are in one manifest file so you shouldn't need to do more than one
apt-cdrom add.


Myself, I'd probably do it with one USB stick with the netinst iso and one with the Blu-Ray .iso 
as above - and have done so to prove the Blu-Ray worked to install a virtual machine.

All the best,


> I'm doing a series of installs to find an optimum configuration for
> my personal needs.
> As I DO NOT have high speed internet available I have purchased a
> set of Squeeze DVD's.
> My impression is that I should be able to copy the set of DVD's to a
> flash drive and access as loop device to save physically handling
> DVD's when using apt-get etc.
> Could I mount it as a loop device and do installs from the flash
> drive. I've already have created several versions of preseed.cfg to
> address various issues.
> My Google attempts have turned either articles that are too broad
> and general (such as the Wikipedia reference) or if are dealing with
> Debian are posts to mailing list focusing on a specific detail.
> Could some one point to good reference so that I might ask good
> questions.
> -- 
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