Discussion:
Towards a custom personalized Debian installer
(too old to reply)
Richard Owlett
2020-09-16 11:30:01 UTC
Permalink
The default of copying an ISO file to a device is inconvenient for my
peculiar goals.
I want an executable installer resident on an ext4 formatted partition.
It must be possible. A testable installer preceded ISO format.
I'm working thru https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/amd64/ch04s03,
in particular extracting steps for "Manually copying files to the USB
stick — the flexible way".

What reference am I missing?

TIA
David
2020-09-17 02:10:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Owlett
I want an executable installer resident on an ext4 formatted partition.
What reference am I missing?
https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/amd64/ch04s04.en.html
Anssi Saari
2020-09-17 08:10:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Owlett
The default of copying an ISO file to a device is inconvenient for my
peculiar goals.
I want an executable installer resident on an ext4 formatted partition.
It must be possible. A testable installer preceded ISO format.
I'm working thru https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/amd64/ch04s03,
in particular extracting steps for "Manually copying files to the USB
stick — the flexible way".
What reference am I missing?
I've installed Debian a couple of times with debootstrap. Or actually
grml-debootstrap since I had grml on a USB stick for rescue use
anyways. It does need some kind of Linux environment to run in, not
necessarily Debian though.
Richard Owlett
2020-09-17 09:30:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anssi Saari
Post by Richard Owlett
The default of copying an ISO file to a device is inconvenient for my
peculiar goals.
I want an executable installer resident on an ext4 formatted partition.
It must be possible. A testable installer preceded ISO format.
I'm working thru https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/amd64/ch04s03,
in particular extracting steps for "Manually copying files to the USB
stick — the flexible way".
What reference am I missing?
I've installed Debian a couple of times with debootstrap. Or actually
grml-debootstrap since I had grml on a USB stick for rescue use
anyways. It does need some kind of Linux environment to run in, not
necessarily Debian though.
I unsuccessfully tried to us use debootstrap several years ago.
Right now I specifically want to use the normal Debian installer on an
editable file system.
r***@gmail.com
2020-09-17 11:50:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Anssi Saari
Post by Richard Owlett
The default of copying an ISO file to a device is inconvenient for my
peculiar goals.
I want an executable installer resident on an ext4 formatted partition.
It must be possible. A testable installer preceded ISO format.
I'm working thru https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/amd64/ch04s03,
in particular extracting steps for "Manually copying files to the USB
stick — the flexible way".
What reference am I missing?
I've installed Debian a couple of times with debootstrap. Or actually
grml-debootstrap since I had grml on a USB stick for rescue use
anyways. It does need some kind of Linux environment to run in, not
necessarily Debian though.
I unsuccessfully tried to us use debootstrap several years ago.
Right now I specifically want to use the normal Debian installer on an
editable file system.
I'm probably missing something, but that doesn't sound very difficult. IIRC,
there are two ways of "copying" an ISO -- I won't describe them exactly
correctly, but, aiui, one way makes a copy of the ISO, and the other way sort
of "unpacks" the iso so that files / executable within the iso are distinct and
usable (I forget which is which, but, again, iirc, one way is using dd,
another way could use a variety of approaches including cp).

It seems to me, simply choosing the way that unpacks an ISO, and doing that
with an ext4 filesystem as the target, should do the job you want.
Felix Miata
2020-09-17 22:20:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Anssi Saari
Post by Richard Owlett
The default of copying an ISO file to a device is inconvenient for my
peculiar goals.
I want an executable installer resident on an ext4 formatted partition.
It must be possible. A testable installer preceded ISO format.
I'm working thru https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/amd64/ch04s03,
in particular extracting steps for "Manually copying files to the USB
stick — the flexible way".
What reference am I missing?
I've installed Debian a couple of times with debootstrap. Or actually
grml-debootstrap since I had grml on a USB stick for rescue use
anyways. It does need some kind of Linux environment to run in, not
necessarily Debian though.
I unsuccessfully tried to us use debootstrap several years ago.
Right now I specifically want to use the normal Debian installer on an
editable file system.
Did you happen to notice what I wrote in
<https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2020/09/msg00441.html>?

As long has you can have internet access for the process, all you need is a
bootloader able to load two files from a mountable partition, installation kernel
and installation initrd, which starts a net install, downloading the latest
versions of only what is actually needed for your installation. Substantial
pre-configuration is possible via the installation kernel's command line, some of
which is evident in that list post.

IIRC, these two files can also be used to start an installation from .iso or
installation sources located locally. Details I don't know, as I've not tried this
process in much too long ago to remember, but the latter sounds like a match for
what you are looking for.
--
Evolution as taught in public schools, like religion,
is based on faith, not on science.

Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409 ** a11y rocks!

Felix Miata *** http://fm.no-ip.com/
Richard Owlett
2020-09-18 10:10:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Felix Miata
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Anssi Saari
Post by Richard Owlett
The default of copying an ISO file to a device is inconvenient for my
peculiar goals.
I want an executable installer resident on an ext4 formatted partition.
It must be possible. A testable installer preceded ISO format.
I'm working thru https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/amd64/ch04s03,
in particular extracting steps for "Manually copying files to the USB
stick — the flexible way".
What reference am I missing?
I've installed Debian a couple of times with debootstrap. Or actually
grml-debootstrap since I had grml on a USB stick for rescue use
anyways. It does need some kind of Linux environment to run in, not
necessarily Debian though.
I unsuccessfully tried to us use debootstrap several years ago.
Right now I specifically want to use the normal Debian installer on an
editable file system.
Did you happen to notice what I wrote in
<https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2020/09/msg00441.html>?
As long has you can have internet access for the process,
An explicit goal is the ability to do an install without *ANY* internet.
The origin of this goal was when I only had dial-up connectivity.
Currently I have a low data cap and do multiple experimental installs.
Post by Felix Miata
I want an executable installer resident on an ext4 formatted partition.
[implication -> the partition is writable]
Post by Felix Miata
all you need is a
bootloader able to load two files from a mountable partition, installation kernel
and installation initrd, which starts a net install, downloading the latest
versions of only what is actually needed for your installation. Substantial
pre-configuration is possible via the installation kernel's command line, some of
which is evident in that list post.
IIRC, these two files can also be used to start an installation from .iso or
installation sources located locally. Details I don't know, as I've not tried this
process in much too long ago to remember, but the latter sounds like a match for
what you are looking for.
That is tantalizingly close.
As it is said, "The devil is in the details."
Richard Owlett
2020-09-18 10:30:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Felix Miata
Post by Richard Owlett
I unsuccessfully tried to us use debootstrap several years ago.
Right now I specifically want to use the normal Debian installer on an
editable file system.
Did you happen to notice what I wrote in
<https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2020/09/msg00441.html>?
Yes.
I think I have a counter example {haven't verified no operator error
involved} but I've been working on another fundamental issue --
understanding the installer.
Andrew Cater
2020-09-18 12:30:02 UTC
Permalink
Richard (et. al.)

If you want an install without any Internet connectivity - you have one
really good choice - but you may need someone to provide you with media
made on another Debian machine.

The jigdo file which produces a 16GB file for writing to a USB stick is,
essentially, the first three DVDs plus a bit on one medium. It's directly
bootable on a machine that supports boot from USB. it will boot in legacy
(non-UEFI) and UEFI mode. It's ideal. The one thing it doesn't contain is
firmware - but that can be written to another USB stick.One small, cheap,
old stick, one newer stick and some internet connectivity _somewhere_ and
you can do it.

That way, everything is met. I have asked Sledge if he would be prepared to
produce _another_ non-free image in 16GB size but he replied that it wasn't
particularly worth the increased bother and storage size of maintaining the
16GB file for every point release when it could readily be regenerated.

The alternatives are the BluRay media (or possibly the debian-edu media)
both of which are around the same size.

This isn't rocket science - but yours is a distinct edge case. Installs to
a partition and using the partition to bootstrap a second install are
likely to be tested by only one person - yourself - and you would probably
need to submit very detailed bug reports and a significantly compelling use
case to achieve major changes.

All the very best, as ever,

Andy C
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Felix Miata
Post by Richard Owlett
I unsuccessfully tried to us use debootstrap several years ago.
Right now I specifically want to use the normal Debian installer on an
editable file system.
Did you happen to notice what I wrote in
<https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2020/09/msg00441.html>?
Yes.
I think I have a counter example {haven't verified no operator error
involved} but I've been working on another fundamental issue --
understanding the installer.
Richard Owlett
2020-09-18 13:50:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew Cater
Richard (et. al.)
If you want an install without any Internet connectivity - you have one
really good choice - but you may need someone to provide you with media
made on another Debian machine.
My policy is to purchase at lease 1 complete DVD set of each Debian
release (typically not the initial release). I have several machines,
with one totally isolated from all others and dedicated to experiments.

A link to instructions for creating that media? TIA
Post by Andrew Cater
The jigdo file which produces a 16GB file for writing to a USB stick is,
essentially, the first three DVDs plus a bit on one medium. It's directly
bootable on a machine that supports boot from USB. it will boot in legacy
(non-UEFI) and UEFI mode. It's ideal. The one thing it doesn't contain is
firmware - but that can be written to another USB stick.One small, cheap,
old stick, one newer stick and some internet connectivity _somewhere_ and
you can do it.
Sounds like it was designed for someone more on the edge than I. I
rarely need anything not on DVD1.
Post by Andrew Cater
That way, everything is met. I have asked Sledge if he would be prepared to
produce _another_ non-free image in 16GB size but he replied that it wasn't
particularly worth the increased bother and storage size of maintaining the
16GB file for every point release when it could readily be regenerated.
I *agree*. What is needed is a set of instructions suitable for a
minimally competent Linux user.
Post by Andrew Cater
The alternatives are the BluRay media (or possibly the debian-edu media)
both of which are around the same size.
This isn't rocket science - but yours is a distinct edge case.
Before I retired, several employers found that a valuable trait.
Post by Andrew Cater
Installs to
a partition and using the partition to bootstrap a second install are
likely to be tested by only one person - yourself - and you would probably
need to submit very detailed bug reports and a significantly compelling use
case to achieve major changes.
Any bug reports would likely be against documentation rather than
against the software itself.
Post by Andrew Cater
All the very best, as ever,
Andy C
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Felix Miata
Post by Richard Owlett
I unsuccessfully tried to us use debootstrap several years ago.
Right now I specifically want to use the normal Debian installer on an
editable file system.
Did you happen to notice what I wrote in
<https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2020/09/msg00441.html>?
Yes.
I think I have a counter example {haven't verified no operator error
involved} but I've been working on another fundamental issue --
understanding the installer.
Thomas Schmitt
2020-09-18 15:20:02 UTC
Permalink
Hi,
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Andrew Cater
The jigdo file which produces a 16GB file for writing to a USB stick is,
essentially, the first three DVDs plus a bit on one medium.
A link to instructions for creating that media? TIA
If you have a Debian with internet connection, hop into my description
about how to do it with a Live Debian system:
https://wiki.debian.org/JigdoOnLive#Install_package_jigdo-file
and apply it to the stuff in
https://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/current/amd64/jigdo-16G/
or in the newer directories of
https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/archive/


Have a nice day :)

Thomas
Thomas Schmitt
2020-09-20 09:30:01 UTC
Permalink
Hi,
https://packages.debian.org/buster/xorriso reports its homepage to be
http://libburnia-project.org/. That gives a 404 error.
If the situation does not get better until the next upstream release i will
change the "Homepage:" entry in the debian/control files of the packages.
I am glad to report that the redirections to
https://libburnia-project.org/
and then
https://dev.lovelyhq.com/libburnia/web/wiki
work again and the links on Debian's package pages are not dead any more.


Have a nice day :)

Thomas

David Wright
2020-09-18 15:30:01 UTC
Permalink
By way of introduction, my take on this thread is that the OP wants to
repetitively install a system without the fuss of extraneous devices
like DVDs and USB.

So I'm going to assume that the OP is prepared to make one more
conventional installation as a prequel. During this, the OP uses
tools like apt-get, or apt with the necessary options, to avoid
cleaning the cache in /var/cache/apt/archives. All the .deb files
are then copied and preserved in a partition somewhere on the drive.
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Andrew Cater
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Felix Miata
Post by Richard Owlett
I unsuccessfully tried to us use debootstrap several years ago.
Right now I specifically want to use the normal Debian installer on an
editable file system.
Did you happen to notice what I wrote in
<https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2020/09/msg00441.html>?
Yes.
I think I have a counter example {haven't verified no operator error
involved} but I've been working on another fundamental issue --
understanding the installer.
Richard (et. al.)
If you want an install without any Internet connectivity - you have one
really good choice - but you may need someone to provide you with media
made on another Debian machine.
My policy is to purchase at lease 1 complete DVD set of each Debian
release (typically not the initial release). I have several machines,
with one totally isolated from all others and dedicated to
experiments.
So there we go, that's where you conduct the prequel.
Post by Richard Owlett
A link to instructions for creating that media? TIA
Post by Andrew Cater
The jigdo file which produces a 16GB file for writing to a USB stick is,
essentially, the first three DVDs plus a bit on one medium. It's directly
bootable on a machine that supports boot from USB. it will boot in legacy
(non-UEFI) and UEFI mode. It's ideal. The one thing it doesn't contain is
firmware - but that can be written to another USB stick.One small, cheap,
old stick, one newer stick and some internet connectivity _somewhere_ and
you can do it.
Sounds like it was designed for someone more on the edge than I. I
rarely need anything not on DVD1.
Good. My method is limited to a subset of the packages you installed
during the prequel.
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Andrew Cater
That way, everything is met. I have asked Sledge if he would be prepared to
produce _another_ non-free image in 16GB size but he replied that it wasn't
particularly worth the increased bother and storage size of maintaining the
16GB file for every point release when it could readily be regenerated.
I *agree*. What is needed is a set of instructions suitable for a
minimally competent Linux user.
No, you're the one researching this.

Anyway, the method is to boot using the two-file method already
outlined, with a paragraph inserted into the 40_custom section
of grub.cfg like:

menuentry "Install Debian via HTTP" {
search --no-floppy --label --set=root noah02
linux /boot/linux
initrd /boot/initrd.gz
}

(Note: I use LABELs here.) What isn't well covered in the docs for this
method is adding the d-i parameters that the installation devices add
for you. (Take a look at /boot/grub/grub.cfg on any installation device.)

At this point, you check your list archives for
https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2017/06/msg00542.html
but substitute drive partition for USB stick.

That thread only deals with the archives cache, as the subject then
was about merely minimising bandwidth, not eliminating it. How you
deal with /var/lib/apt/lists is left as an exercise for your research.
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Andrew Cater
The alternatives are the BluRay media (or possibly the debian-edu media)
both of which are around the same size.
This isn't rocket science - but yours is a distinct edge case.
Before I retired, several employers found that a valuable trait.
Post by Andrew Cater
Installs to
a partition and using the partition to bootstrap a second install are
likely to be tested by only one person - yourself - and you would probably
need to submit very detailed bug reports and a significantly compelling use
case to achieve major changes.
Any bug reports would likely be against documentation rather than
against the software itself.
If you're keen to submit bug reports, you'd be better off trying a
more conventional method. Read to the end of my post and you'll see
apt-cacher-ng mentioned. So, as you're installing on your dedicated
test machine, you could do all the above conventionally, by running
apt-cacher-ng on one of the other machines and conducting the prequel
there.

But looking at
https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2017/06/msg00604.html
it seems we've been here before.

Cheers,
David.
Andrew Cater
2020-09-18 18:10:02 UTC
Permalink
http://flosslinuxblog.blogspot.com/2020/07/a-quick-post-on-how-to-use-jigdo-to.html
- was a relatively quick attempt on my part to show how to use jigdo-lite,
a mirror and a USB stick. If you use a wired connection to do this, you
don't necessarily need non-free firmware.

Firmware - see
https://wiki.debian.org/Firmware#Firmware_during_the_installation

https://cloud.debian.org/images/release/current/amd64/jigdo-16G/ is the
current directory with the two files. If you download both, it's only about
50M and an internet connection to your nearest Debian mirror (and the
download can be restarted if interrupted.)

Hope this helps, as ever,

Andy C.
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Andrew Cater
Richard (et. al.)
If you want an install without any Internet connectivity - you have one
really good choice - but you may need someone to provide you with media
made on another Debian machine.
My policy is to purchase at lease 1 complete DVD set of each Debian
release (typically not the initial release). I have several machines,
with one totally isolated from all others and dedicated to experiments.
A link to instructions for creating that media? TIA
Post by Andrew Cater
The jigdo file which produces a 16GB file for writing to a USB stick is,
essentially, the first three DVDs plus a bit on one medium. It's directly
bootable on a machine that supports boot from USB. it will boot in legacy
(non-UEFI) and UEFI mode. It's ideal. The one thing it doesn't contain is
firmware - but that can be written to another USB stick.One small, cheap,
old stick, one newer stick and some internet connectivity _somewhere_ and
you can do it.
Sounds like it was designed for someone more on the edge than I. I
rarely need anything not on DVD1.
Post by Andrew Cater
That way, everything is met. I have asked Sledge if he would be prepared
to
Post by Andrew Cater
produce _another_ non-free image in 16GB size but he replied that it
wasn't
Post by Andrew Cater
particularly worth the increased bother and storage size of maintaining
the
Post by Andrew Cater
16GB file for every point release when it could readily be regenerated.
I *agree*. What is needed is a set of instructions suitable for a
minimally competent Linux user.
Post by Andrew Cater
The alternatives are the BluRay media (or possibly the debian-edu media)
both of which are around the same size.
This isn't rocket science - but yours is a distinct edge case.
Before I retired, several employers found that a valuable trait.
Post by Andrew Cater
Installs to
a partition and using the partition to bootstrap a second install are
likely to be tested by only one person - yourself - and you would
probably
Post by Andrew Cater
need to submit very detailed bug reports and a significantly compelling
use
Post by Andrew Cater
case to achieve major changes.
Any bug reports would likely be against documentation rather than
against the software itself.
Post by Andrew Cater
All the very best, as ever,
Andy C
Post by Richard Owlett
Post by Felix Miata
Post by Richard Owlett
I unsuccessfully tried to us use debootstrap several years ago.
Right now I specifically want to use the normal Debian installer on an
editable file system.
Did you happen to notice what I wrote in
<https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2020/09/msg00441.html>?
Yes.
I think I have a counter example {haven't verified no operator error
involved} but I've been working on another fundamental issue --
understanding the installer.
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