Alternative methods for inserting preseed files

ago agostino.russo at
Fri Nov 9 21:24:16 GMT 2007

Wubi ( actually uses a custom preseed and external
override files made available on the HD. Such files are loaded by the
default initrd. The hooks are provided by the lupin project and are
already in Gutsy (casper). Lupin also make it possible to boot from an
iso on hd. Have a look if it is useful for you.

Ps: I have submitted a proposal to generalize the concept of external
hooks for hardy.


On 11/9/07, Joshua Kwan <jkwan at> wrote:
> Hi ubuntu-installer,
> I'm an intern at VMware currently working on a feature that will allow
> users to automatically install Ubuntu from CDs they have. It's kind of
> an odd feature because it specifically targets people who don't have
> ISOs lying around and just wish to install Linux from a CD that they
> have. It is the analogue of a feature in VMware Fusion that can
> automatically install Windows given a CD key, a user name and a
> password.
> We want to minimize the amount of time it takes to get the installation
> process started, so copying the contents of the CD to a local disk and
> remastering it with the proper ISOLINUX arguments and preseed files is
> undesirable, though if it's the only option to get this working with
> Gutsy it can be done.
> Currently, I'm using a hack that involves copying the kernel and the
> ramdisk from the source CD, along with its ISOLINUX configuration and a
> customized preseed file with a desired username and password. After
> modifying the ISOLINUX configuration to include the appropriate
> arguments for using the preseed file on the CD, we load it up into a
> virtual CD-ROM drive next to the pristine Ubuntu CD. The system is
> booted from our CD, but the ramdisk finds the Ubuntu CD and continues
> the boot procedure from that.
> The problem here lies in getting the Ubuntu CD to find the preseed file
> that is on the boot CD. This happens to work transparently with
> Anaconda-based installers and it's possible to install RHEL with this
> method. However, as far as I can tell, there are only two ways to
> accomplish this in Gutsy:
> 1. Remaster the Ubuntu CD with the preseed file on it.
> 2. Put it on a web server and use the hack above to specify the correct
>    URL.
> (1) is undesirable for reasons mentioned above, and (2) requires a lot
> of extra legwork and is another point of potential security concerns
> because it's a process that runs on the host machine. Additionally, I
> tried it once and there was a problem where the installer tried to
> retrieve the preseed file from the web server *before* DHCP had acquired a
> lease, so it failed. So especially if it's unreliable, I don't want to do
> it.
> So (1) seems like the only viable option, but I'm reaching out to this
> list just in case there's something I missed. Basically I just need a
> way to mount an extra device into the installer environment at a point
> during the installation before it tries to get to the preseed file.
> I'd appreciate any ideas this list might have.
> Thanks,
> Josh
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