Timeout for Ubuntu Server ISO bootsplash

Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre mathieu.trudel-lapierre at canonical.com
Thu Nov 23 15:01:25 UTC 2017

On Thu, Nov 23, 2017 at 4:55 AM, Christian Ehrhardt
<christian.ehrhardt at canonical.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 23, 2017 at 1:02 AM, Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre
> <mathieu.trudel-lapierre at canonical.com> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I'm revising some of the bootloader logic for the ISO images. Ubuntu Server
>> currently seems to be one of the things that just wait indefinitely at the
>> bootloader (grub or isolinux, depending on what/where you are booting).
>> Is anyone against putting a 5 second timeout in the bootloader, such that
>> the system carries on to starting the installer automatically?
> Hi Mathieu,
> not against the change, but I want to check on a Detail.
> Is it correct that today it does:
> A1. boot into bootloader
> A2. wait forever on users choice
> And you suggest:
> B1. boot into bootloader
> B2. wait 5 sec for users to choose anything special
> B3. go into the installer (and wait there on the user)
> If a user can influcence/choose anything in A2 that they can not do
> anymore in B3 (e.g. special kernel boot options I'd think).
> Then we should make the timeout on server a bit more than 5 seconds IMHO.

There is, but it's a matter of setting custom kernel options
(disabling ACPI, for instance) or adding command-line parameters such
as for preseeding (which obviously needs to happen before the
installer starts).

> The reason I point this out is the (unfortunately usual) combination
> of slow remote consoles plus 5-10 minute server initialization times.
> I'm afraid of the admin sitting on a remote server control on a crappy
> connection for 10 minutes and hitting "oh crap B2 just passed faster
> than I could see it".

It's always a possibility, but putting the timeout too high is also
just waiting for no reason. We should also expect users who preseed or
install many systems to do so via the network or other means; and the
idea behind this is to have one common timeout value everywhere rather
than having many different images behave differently.

> Not sure what the right value would be, but 30 seconds seem safer to
> me and it would still eventually reach B3.

Does it really need to be 30 seconds though? If you're looking for
things to be more or less automatic, and if you preseed via the initrd
(which you may do, and we do for automatic testing AFAIK), then you're
sitting there waiting for 30 seconds when you could have waited for
much less.

Remember, any keypress will cancel the timeout, you don't need to have
done everything within that window.

On trans-oceanic links, 5 seconds is maybe cutting it a bit short, but
I wouldn't make it past 15.


Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre <mathieu.trudel-lapierre at canonical.com>
Freenode: cyphermox, Jabber: mathieu.tl at gmail.com
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