SSH and the Ubuntu Server

Mathias Gug mathiaz at
Thu Nov 18 20:08:04 UTC 2010

Excerpts from Robbie Williamson's message of Thu Nov 18 13:34:58 -0500 2010:
> On Thu, 2010-11-18 at 16:22 +0000, Colin Watson wrote: 
> > On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 10:08:47AM -0600, Robbie Williamson wrote:
> > > On Thu, 2010-11-18 at 16:04 +0000, Colin Watson wrote: 
> > > > On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 10:49:38AM -0500, Marc Deslauriers wrote:
> > > > > I think this screen is a good idea if in fact tasksel is moved to after
> > > > > the first boot.
> > > > 
> > > > We used to have a two-stage installer and it was a nightmare to maintain
> > > > for several reasons.  Since we moved to a single-stage installer several
> > > > years back, we've burned all the necessary code with fire and enjoyed
> > > > it.  Please don't make me go back to that.
> > > 
> > > What if the Server team maintained the 2nd stage?  Then we'd be making
> > > life easier for you, right? ;)
> > 
> > Er. :-)
> > 
> > (In seriousness, any good-quality second stage would require some level
> > of cooperation from the first stage.  We tried that and it was awful.)
> So I see the 1st stage as just installing the minimal server, then we
> boot to a login prompt...user logs in and can either do his/her business
> as desired or launch the 2nd stage (which they are told about in a 1st
> boot motd-type message).

I'd add that the 2nd stage would just be tasksel.

I don't know what the 2-stage installer was like back in the old days.
The proposal discussed at UDS was:

 * to have the installer create a minimal-lean install (ie 1st
   stage - same thing as of today). It creates a basic working system
   which upon reboot can be configured for its final role (either by a
   sysadmin via a console or ssh login [1] or a configuration management
   system such as puppet, chef, cfengine, shell script, etc...).

 * Remove the tasksel step in the installer and add a note in the
   motd pointing to tasksel so that a sysadmin can finish the
   configuration of the system after reboot (as outlined in [1] above).

   This would provide a similar user experience to the one provided by
   the Ubuntu cloud images on EC2 and UEC. Once an instance is started
   the following text is displayed upon login into it via ssh:

     At the moment, only the core of the system is installed. To tune the 
     system to your needs, you can choose to install one or more          
     predefined collections of software by running the following          
        sudo tasksel --section server                                     

   A similar message would be displayed when a user logs into the
   newly-installed system (either via console or ssh).

Mathias Gug
Ubuntu Developer

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