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Re: Debian iso installation incorrectly sets sources.list

On 2018-01-09 at 22:54, John Hosack wrote:

> Hello,
> This is a bug report. I tried to use the reporting system, but it did not
> seem to be appropriate. So, I will give a narrative:

Bug reports need to be filed in the Debian bug tracker, on
bugs.debian.org, not mailed to debian-user. You can do that either by
E-mailing submit@bugs.debian.org with an appropriately-formatted E-mail,
or with the 'reportbug' program (which in fact generates and attempts to
send such an E-mail).

In the case of bugs in the installer, the correct (pseudo-)package to
file the bug against is probably 'installation-report'.

> This is what happened.
> I decided to install Debian on my small machine (Asus eeePC 900A, 1GB
> ram, 4GB storage).  So I selected debian-9.3.0-i386-xfce-CD-1.iso and
> put it onto a flash memory stick.  Installation went ok, but
> later on when I did "apt install gcc", the installation program
> requested the insertion of the installation disk in the drive
> /media/cdrom. Why?
> Examination.
> The /etc/apt/sources.list file had "deb: cdrom:[<installation>..." as
> the first entry, and was not commented out. My installation medium
> was wrong!
> Solution.
> Comment out "deb: cdrom:[<installation>..." in sources.list.
> Discussion.
> There are 2 problems:
> (1) Installation should not put the installation medium in the
> sources.list, at least not without asking the user,
> since the medium may be reused.

The installation medium has to be present in sources.list during the
install process, in order for apt to be able to find the repository
contained on that medium.

In some cases, the user may decide after the initial OS install to
install additional packages which were available on the install medium.
To facilitate doing that (rather than downloading the packages over the
network, which may be expensive or impossible in some cases), the
sources.list entry is retained post-install, but commented out.

If the entry was not changed to be commented out during the conclusion
of the initial OS install procedure, that sounds like an issue indeed,
although a relatively minor one. But the inclusion of the entry in
sources.list is not an error, and ceasing to include such entries there
at all would be problematic.

> (2) Installation should keep track of the installation medium;
> if necessary by asking the user.

How? What information should it record, and how would this information
be useful?

> 	(2) reflects a wider problem: Debian has a legacy of
> assuming CD or DVD installation. But much is now done by
> flash memory sticks. Debian should change to reflect this.
> For example, the iso file names might be "large" (or "full")
> or "small" (or "base"), not "DVD" or "CD". References
> to "CD" or "DVD" should be replaced by  reference to the
> "installation medium", unless "CD" is actually necessary. Etc.

If I understand matters correctly, there is a not-purely-historical
reason for these names: the sizes of the images, particularly in the
case of multi-image sets, are determined based on what is expected to be
able to fit on a DVD or a CD.

Which is not to say that it would necessarily not be worth attempting to
modernize things here, as such optical media become more and more a
historical irrelevancy - just that it's not as trivial as you may think.

   The Wanderer

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all
progress depends on the unreasonable man.         -- George Bernard Shaw

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