Suggestion for Ubiquity

Evan Dandrea evand at
Mon Jul 13 12:41:36 BST 2009

I'm CC'ing the Ubuntu Installer mailing list on this for the benefit
of anyone that comes across the same problem in the future.

On Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 12:28 PM, Thomas Hailey<toe at> wrote:
> My Linux distro is Backtrack, which is based on Ubuntu.
> The current version of Backtrack is "Backtrack 4 Pre-Final". The previous
> version was "Backtrack 4 Beta".
> With Backtrack 4 Beta, the user had to manually install the operating system
> to hard disk by copying across the necessary files, setting fstab, setting
> grub and so forth.
> With Backtrack 4 Pre-Final however, Ubiquity is used for installing the
> operating system.
> Anyway, I'll tell you my little story:
> My hard disk in my PC is only 76 gigs, 20 gigs for a Windows XP partition
> and 56 gigs for a Linux partition.
> When Backtrack 4 Pre-Final came out, I deleted the Beta version off my hard
> disk, but left all my data intact. I had about 45 gigs worth of videos,
> musics, documents, still on my Linux partition.
> I wanted to use Ubiquity to install Backtrack 4 Pre-Final to my Linux
> partition without deleting all data, but Ubiquity told me it was gonna
> delete all my stuff. It didn't give me the choice of just copying the
> operating system across to the partition without deleting everything
> beforehand.
> So I downloaded the source code for Ubiquity hoping to change it, but then I
> realised it's written in Python, and I don't know any Python at all. (I do C
> and C++).
> So anyway here's my suggestion: I think it would be nice if you removed the
> necessity to wipe the target partition before installing.
> In order to get around my problem, I had to resize my Linux partition and
> create a new partition of 5 gigs at the end of my hard disk. I used Ubiquity
> to install the operating system to the new 5 gig partition, then afterwards
> I copied everything to the main Linux partition, then I deleted the 5 gig
> partition and resized the main partition back to 56 gigs. Then I edited grub
> and fstab to reflect the changes. A lot of hassle.
> Anyway that's all I have to say, it would be nice if we didn't have to wipe
> the target partition.
> Otherwise it's a might-fine application!
> Thanks for your time, and best of luck,
> Thomas

It is not necessary to completely wipe the target partition.  Select
manual partitioning and make sure the format box is not checked for
the root filesystem.  This *will* delete any directories that ubiquity
will replace (/usr, /etc, /var, and the like), but it will leave your
home directory intact and carry over the UID and GID from the username
you've inputted, if the user already existed on the system.  For the
curious, the code for this can be found here:

Hope that helps,

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