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

Evan Dandrea evand at ubuntu.com
Tue Aug 28 15:27:07 BST 2007

On Thu, Aug 23, 2007 at 01:04:13PM -0700, Geza Kovacs wrote:
> 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.

I think this functionality would indeed be useful.

> 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),

We cannot assume that the user has Internet access, this would have to
be already present.

I noticed your script tries to fetch a new version of itself before each
run.  That's not really the "Ubuntu Way" of doing things.  We rely on
update-manager (apt, really) and the Ubuntu archive to handle all

> 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'm leery of throwing a notification in their face on first boot.  I'd
much rather add an easily discoverable option to the system menu that
says something to the effect of, "Install permanently...".  Of course,
that's just what I think.  I'd much rather leave the wording and
placement up to the usability experts.

> 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.

As Ago mentioned in his reply to this post, much of the loopmounted
install code has been reimplemented properly into our existing installer
code base and other parts of the distribution.  It is not a separate

The biggest part of this is the ability to create loopmounted filesystems
inside partman, the code for which can be found in this bzr branch:

Now that said, I think we're too late in the cycle to start integrating
the functionality produced by your tool now.  FeatureFreeze was almost
two weeks ago and the archive is locked down for bug fixes and acts of
$DEITY only.

However, this is obviously feasible for Gutsy+1, provided we can come to
some reasonable conclusion as to where we want to put it and how we will
manage the UI.  For example, if we place it outside of Ubiquity as I
have suggested, that will require duplicating quite a bit of partitioner
code, even if we only let them choose from a few recipes instead of
giving them a full blown manual partitioner.

I'd like to get Colin's thoughts on this first, and have thus CC'ed him,
but with his approval I think the best time to have such a discussion
would be at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Boston.  Don't worry if you
cannot make it out there, every conference room has a VoIP conference

> 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...

The problem with this is that Ubuntu currently doesn't support LVM out
of the box for desktop systems.  There are actually a few areas where
we'd benefit from using LVM (easy backups), but as I understand it,
there is much work that needs to be done in our infrastructure before we
can consider features that depend on LVM.

> 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.

Mentioned above.  As indicated by Ago, there are other parts of the
stack that help to support this functionality, so if there's a specific
step in the process that you're looking for the code to, just let me
know and I'll point you at the proper branch.

If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to
follow up to this on the list.


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