Ubuntu multi-faced network install. . . metabuntu?

John Richard Moser nigelenki at comcast.net
Fri Sep 9 18:03:31 CDT 2005

Hash: SHA1

Debian has a network install CD minimalized to the point that the basics
for the install system are even downloaded.  IIRC there's something like
a 3.5 or 8 megabyte minimal net-install CD, followed by a 20 meg one
with the base system packed on it.

It's a fantasy of many to fit a full Live system on a 50 meg business
card; it's entirely possible to put something reasonable on a 180 meg
mini-CD; it's awesome that mini-DVDs are showing up able to store almost
a gig in the size of a 180 meg min-CD.  But looking beyond what we can
cram onto a live system, what about network installers?

In 50 megabytes you can shove an 8 megabyte installer.  You might be
able to put in a minimalistic X like kdrive with Vesa support and fit in
a graphical installer.  You would of course need to do full network
downloading, because a full installer doesn't fit there; but there's an
advantage to that.

Look at Ubuntu now.  There are two main desktop branches, and a server
branch has been talked about; Ubuntu for Small Businesses was touched on
in the list as a potential meta-package; and it's possible to stick with
ubuntu-minimal as well.  Just pulling out of mid air:

 - Ubuntu (Gnome, Desktop)
 - Kubuntu (KDE, Desktop)
 - Ubuntu Server (Server)
 - Minimal Ubuntu (minimal)
 - Ubuntu for Small Businesses (potential desktop/server hybrid)

Let's for the sake of argument say all these exist and are useful.
Obviously Ubuntu and Kubuntu don't fit on the same CD; and of course you
wouldn't want to sacrifice extra space on the CD for Ubuntu Server or
Ubuntu for Small Businesses and try to figure out how exactly to squeeze
this all in.  A DVD would work, but it'd be a big download.  What else
would work?

Network install.  Imagine entering Ubuntu's installer and . . .

Select your language:  English
Select your keymap:    Dvorak
Detecting network:     OK
Select install type:
  -> Ubuntu   (GNOME Desktop)
     Kubuntu  (KDE Desktop)
     Advanced options...
 *Highlight an entry and press ? for help on that entry*
 *Chose "Ubuntu" if you're not sure*

And so the user may press "Advanced options..." and:

Select install type:
  -> Ubuntu    (GNOME Desktop)
     Kubuntu   (KDE Desktop)
     Xubuntu   (XFCE4 Desktop)
     Flubuntu  (Fluxbox Desktop)
     Ubuntu Server
     Rubuntu   (Router/Firewall/IDS/IPS)
     Schubuntu (Ubuntu for Schools)
     Ubuntu for Small Businesses
 *Highlight an entry and press ? for help on that entry*
 *Chose "Ubuntu" if you're not sure*

On a network installer, everything would be downloaded; however, we can
even beat that.  On a normal installer, the default option would be
whatever's on the CD; while the advanced options would combine what's on
the CD with updates and packages that need to be downloaded.  So for
example, an Ubuntu CD could be used to install Kubuntu, and only the
added KDE stuff would be brought down while the core would be installed
from CD.

I think it'd be a neat idea to be able to use one CD for multiple types
of installations.  One CD, everything.
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