Alternative methods for inserting preseed files

Worth, Kevin kevin.worth at
Mon Nov 12 18:34:01 GMT 2007

Josh, If you want it to be the analogue of the Windows installation, how does Vmware Fusion handle installing windows with a given key, username, and password? I suspect it involves a script-generated floppy disk image with an Unattend.txt containing the entered username/password/key.

Colin/list, Does the installer support preseeding using a floppy disk? Seems like it would have been a worthwhile feature that would have been added at some point for those who don't want to run an http server and don't want to burn a lot of disks. If so, that seems like it could be a clean solution that allows users to boot from their original Ubuntu iso and still have a customized distro.


-----Original Message-----
From: ubuntu-installer-bounces at [mailto:ubuntu-installer-bounces at] On Behalf Of Colin Watson
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 8:53 AM
To: Joshua Kwan
Cc: ubuntu-installer at
Subject: Re: Alternative methods for inserting preseed files

On Fri, Nov 09, 2007 at 12:45:43PM -0800, Joshua Kwan wrote:
> 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.

OK. Since you're copying the ramdisk out anyway, have you considered remastering just the ramdisk? If you insert a /preseed.cfg file there, that should be loaded right at the start of the installation.

The ramdisk is built using 'find . | cpio --quiet -o -H newc | gzip -9'.
Remastering it won't be instant or anything, but it should be a lot quicker than remastering the whole CD.


Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at]

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