Re: Explicit mention of normal CD for netinst images (Was: Modification du texte de netinst)
Justin B Rye wrote:
> Look at that heading again: "Tiny CDs, USB sticks, etc." If "Tiny
> CDs" is referring to an ISO file, what does it mean by "USB sticks"?
> The page persistently confuses hardware and software, making it sound
> as if you can't do netinsts off a DVD.
Ok, let's start from scratch. Here are the facts as I understand them
(which is not well --- hopefully someone else can chime in and correct me!).
This page lists two kinds of installer images:
* images which need a connection to a Debian mirror when installing
anything more than a bare-bones system
* data files for network booting ("netboot"), which can be used to
install over a network without having to insert any physical
media on the target machine.
In other words, this page describes all d-i images except for the
familiar enormous many-disc sets (the full "official images"), upgrade
images, and Debian Live.
Some images are described at </usr/share/debian-cd/README.easy-build>
in the debian-cd package:
- A _netinst_ image contains the Debian installer and all packages
needed to install the Debian base system (packages with priority
"important" or higher).
- A _businesscard_ image contains the Debian installer but relies on
a Debian mirror for the base system and remaining packages it
The contents of these images are listed at .
There is another family of images which are even more stripped down,
described in the file build/README from the debian-installer source
- A _netboot_ image ("small bootable CD image for network install")
contains only the Debian installer components needed to boot up,
connect to the network, and acquire the rest of the installer from
a Debian mirror. This is usable for non-netboot setups, too!
- A (larger) graphical variant of the netboot image.
- Another variant of the netboot image for Xen guests.
- The _hd-media_ image, which seems to be a variant of the netboot
image that uses the media it is on instead of a Debian mirror to
grab basic components (usually one would put this on a USB stick
along with a businesscard or netinst image containing the packages
it wants). I guess this might be useful if someone wants to put
multiple d-i images on a single thumb drive (I haven't tried it),
but generally it doesn't sound very useful.
- Separate kernels, initrds, and tarballs of PXE boot directories for
the above, when someone wants an actual netboot setup.
I don't know of any of these images that is not usable for writing a
bootable CD or USB stick.
If I were writing it, the advice would be:
If you are on this page, you probably want one of three
1. A netinst image, which will at least set up a basic
non-graphical Debian system if the installer is not able to
connect to the network. It fits on a Mini CD (at least for
i386) today, and hopefully it will continue to tomorrow.
2. One of the three variants of the oddly named netboot image,
which is tiny and works very nicely for installing Debian
as long as you can connect to a Debian mirror. This fits
on a typical USB stick or a "business card" CD with plenty
of room to spare.
3. The PXE/TFTP boot stuff, when you are trying to set up PXE
boot (for example at a computer lab, or to work around
trouble reading removable media, or to avoid wasting a CD-R).
Everything else on this page is a red herring.
Elsewhere one can find material for other installation
methods: the complete "official" CD, DVD, and Blueray image
sets, which are useful when network connectivity is not so
great, Debian Live installer images that can be used to test
Debian before installing it, the Windows-based installer,
and the netinst image with non-free firmware included which is
not on this page for some unknown reason.
Ok, tag, you're it. Corrections? Suggested wording?
Thanks and hope that helps,
 list of images here: