Wubi developer would be interested in helping with developing the installer tool in Gutsy

Geza Kovacs geza0kovacs at gmail.com
Thu Aug 23 21:04:13 BST 2007

As I recall, the migration path we had planned on was updating
> migration-assistant to be loop-mounted install aware, though I did not
> have the time this release cycle to implement that.  I'm sure the option
> of migrating the actual partition is a route we can consider as well,
> however I am confused as to where you would like to insert this in the
> install process, and also believe that other developers may take issue
> with this method, though I may be wrong on that, so I invite you to
> elaborate on your goals and others to step forward and voice their
> concerns.

Thanks for the reply. The functionality of my tool (LVPM, or Loopmounted
Virtual Partition Manager at https://launchpad.net/lvpm) is that it
provides a seamless "upgrade" path from a loopmounted install to a real,
dedicated partition install. Since there are many problems associated
with a loopmounted install, like the inability to suspend, decreased
hard drive performance, and an increased susceptibility to hard reboots,
then the user should be encouraged to upgrade to a real, dedicated
partition install after trying out Ubuntu on a loopmounted install.
Normally, the only way to do this would be to back up everything and
reinstall from scratch, but with my tool, they can just select a free
partition to install to, and the tool will automatically copy the
contents of the loop-install to a dedicated partition, install and
configure grub, fix the fstab, remove the loop-installing patches, and
re-enable suspend so that the user ends up with a dedicated-partition
install, just as if they had installed normally using the CD on a
dedicated partition, only their settings, applications, and data from
their loopmounted install are all retained.

So, my vision is, a new user can simply choose to create a loopmounted
install, then as the installer finishes, it will download and install
the loopmounted-partition-to-dedicated-partition upgrade tool if the
user has chosen to create a loopmounted install as part of the
post-install process (right before it reboots), and when the user boots
up their new loopmounted install, they can be notified that if they have
grown accustomed to Ubuntu and are willing to commit to a full,
dedicated-partition install, they should simply click the icon and start
the tool to transfer their loopmounted install to a dedicated partition,
so that after it completes, the user can simply reboot into their new
dedicated-partition install with everything from their previous
loopmounted install intact. I already have the tool complete and working
for Wubi/Lubi-generated loopmounted installs, and could adapt it to the
version in Gutsy; I was simply wondering if there is any way I could
integrate it into the loopmount-install creation utility for Gutsy, or
if someone has already begun working on a tool like mine.

Also, another suggestion that I have was that instead of directly using
the loopmounted partitions as an ext3 filesystem in the Gutsy version
like the current Wubi does, LVM or EVMS could be used, so that that way,
new loopmounted partitions are created and added to the pool when the
disk space begins running out, so that the loopmounted install size can
seamlessly resized on the go. That way, the installation process for a
loopmounted install could be even further simplified; rather than
forcing the user to choose a size for the loopmounted filesystems, the
installer could create an initial 4 GB loopmounted disk (4 GB since
that's the approximate size of an Ubuntu install, and the file size
limit in FAT32), add that to an LVM pool, and as the user creates new
files and the disk space in the loopmounted install begins running out,
a daemon can monitor the disk space for the loopmounted install, and
once it runs low, like less than 512 MB left, then it can automatically
create a new loopmounted partition using dd, format it as an LVM pool,
and add it to the LVM pool in the background, so that the available disk
space in the loopmounted install will then grow, so that that way, the
install size will grow and resize itself when needed without needing the
user's interaction or any rebooting. Of course, there will be a slight
overhead from having a daemon automatically creating new loopmounted
partitions in the background every 4 GB as disk space runs out, as well
as a slight performance overhead from the usage of LVM, but the added
convenience of having the loopmounted-install expand itself when
necessary without needing the user's interaction will likely outweigh
the slight performance cost.

Also, I was wondering, which bazaar branch contains the current
development code for the loopmount-installer tool for Gutsy? I couldn't
find any code related to loopmounting within the Ubuntu-installer-team's
Ubiquity development branch, so I'd appreciate if anybody could point me
to where the Gusty loop-installation code is.

-Geza Kovacs

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