Suggestion: Installation Program for Windows

Mustafa Abbasi lordverminard at
Thu Jun 30 18:01:12 UTC 2005

anybody who goes through so much trouble will probably be better of with a 
live distro

On 30 Jun 2005 16:58:43 -0000, Michael <akikkeg02 at> wrote:
> For a while, I've thought that if Windows users could install Linux as 
> easily as they can install any Windows program, they might be more likely to 
> give Linux a try. When I came across 
> I realized that it 
> could be fairly simple to create such an installation program using existing 
> tools. Here's a rough sketch of how such an installer might work, taking 
> advantage of WINGRUB or GRUB4DOS ( to 
> allow a removeable media-less installation. (WINGRUB and GRUB4DOS allow a 
> computer to boot into linux on a FAT or NTFS partion.) This system need not 
> be wedded to any particular distribution, and different distributions will 
> surely have varying ideas on how best to implement it.
> intro explanation
> automatic (or guided) installation?
> determine (confirm) language
> determine time, date, timezone, keyboard layout
> guess (confirm) good amount of space for linux partition
> create installation script based on previous information
> prompt to close programs, eject media, click restart
> determine whether windows=NT or =9x
> if NT
> append WINGRUB to boot.ini, set as default boot option
> copy kernel, initrd, linux.iso, boot.lst to \boot
> if 9x
> something similar with GRUB4DOS , never done it myself
> reboot
> user selects or defaults to WINGRUB/GRUB4DOS
> linux boots and autodetects hardware (logged)
> script removes WINGRUB/GRUB4DOS from boot.ini (if installation fails, 
> computer will not keep booting into linux)
> installation program runs using install script, auto-detected hardware 
> settings, installs GRUB to MBR (all logged)
> reboot
> next boot (windows or linux)
> check installation log
> ask to send results to database
> delete \boot
> first linux boot
> set up user
> run program to copy over all windows documents, pictures, audio files, 
> maybe even some settings
> Let me explain the installation process in plain English. In the first 
> step, I imagine that the installer will give the user the choice between 
> accepting all of the installer's guesses or having a chance to modify those 
> choices. The installer would then examine the registry to determine the 
> user's language, the system time/date/timezone, and the keyboard layout. It 
> would then determine the amount of free space on the hard drive and, based 
> on the amount of space needed for an installation and the amount of free 
> space remaining, make a guess as to the proper amount of space to partition 
> away for linux. Based on all this information, the installer would then 
> create an installation sript for anaconda or the debian-installer or 
> whatever the distro uses. It would place this script, the kernel, initrd, 
> and installation program, the distro's base installation packages, and 
> either WINGRUB or GRUB4DOS (depending on what version of Windows the user is 
> running) in the \boot directory, and modify the user's startup files to boot 
> into linux. On reboot, the computer would start up into linux and run the 
> installation program using the installation script. In case something goes 
> wrong and the installation cannot finish, the installer should set the 
> computer to boot into Windows on the next boot as soon as possible. The 
> installer would then partition the disk, install the base packages, install 
> GRUB to the master boot record, and reboot. At startup, GRUB would greet the 
> user and ask whether to boot into Windows or linux. Regardless of which OS 
> the user boots, a program would run that would check the installation log to 
> see if everything went well with the installation. With the user's 
> permission, it would send a copy of the log to a database that would allow 
> the distro to better assess it's installer. The program would then delete 
> the installation program and the supporting files (like the kernel, initrd, 
> and packages that were still on the windows partition). On the first linux 
> boot, the user would be prompted to create a user. At this point, the user 
> would have a workable linux distribution that would dual-boot with windows, 
> all without having to so much as burn a CD. In an ideal world, a linux 
> program would offer to copy over the user's files (and possibly some 
> settings) from the windows partition.
> Unfortunately, although I am computer literate, I have only the most basic 
> programming skills and do not have the knowledge necessary to create this 
> system. Obviously a lot of the work is already done: WINGRUB and GRUB4DOS 
> can facilitate a diskless installation, the Nullsoft Scriptable Install 
> System could serve as the base for the Windows part of the installer, and 
> debian-installer and anaconda could serve as the linux part of the 
> installer. The only thing left to do is to put these pieces together. If 
> anybody actually reads this far, what do you think? Is this even a good 
> idea? Would you be willing to work on this? Do you have any suggestions on 
> other places to post this message (so far, I've only posted it to the Ubuntu 
> users list and the Fedora Core desktop list)? Thank you for taking the time 
> to read and consider this idea.
> Best, Michael
> --
> ubuntu-users mailing list
> ubuntu-users at
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