Linked by Dedoimedo on Thu 17th Mar 2011 23:17 UTC
Debian and its clones Writing about Debian is not a simple thing. You know it's the giant that has spawned pretty much every other distro out there. It's almost like a Roman Empire, almost a taboo. Furthermore, it's not a desktop distro per se. It's more sort of a template you use to build your platform. It's also a SOHO server distro, therefore it more fits into the business category, comparable to CentOS and similar.
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RE: . - image stamp versus full installer
by jabbotts on Mon 21st Mar 2011 21:17 UTC in reply to "."
Member since:

Ubuntu's installer benefits mostly from being a simple image stamp. It just takes the liveCD's image and writes to the hard drive after asking you minimal questions like prefered language and if it should use the whole disk or part of it. All the packages and kernel modules (drivers) are already in the liveCD's image. It does not offer software from the full potential library until after the initial install; your first stage is going to be what's been chosen for you.

To use Word as an example; it's like saving a pre-written letter to your documents directory.

Debian is primarily a full install distribution so it's installer is more like classic Windows. You boot the machine off the install disk, answer questions about location, hardware, hard drive partitioning, software selection and you get your own install from several different potential end results. The installer has to setup the hard drive, detect hardware and pull your choice of software packages from the full potential library.

To use Word again, this is like first transcribing the letter by selecting a page worth of short quotes from the several pages of a book then saving the resulting letter to your hard drive.

One really can't compare and criticize a full install process for not being a liveCD stamped image install process.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Icaria Member since:

Firstly, I'm not really sure why you replied to me.

Secondly, there's no reason why Debian can't just force you to use a bunch of defaults, regardless of whether the installation media is a compressed full install, or just kernel+toolchain+apt+install scripts. There's a good number of reasons why they shouldn't but that's another discussion. Likewise, there's nothing prohibiting a live CD install from modifying just about any setting during the install, or automatically removing packages post-install.

Thirdly, a live CD still has to partition the local install media and detect your hardware.

And fourthly, the Word analogy is torturous.

Reply Parent Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:

You where talking about installers so it seemed relevant though still directed as more a generic comment.

Debian could imposed a full set of defaults on the user. There is a liveCD debian version which probably does just this. Pretty much ever liveCD does this. That's how they work; a bootable image which can also be written to hard drive.

The difference is "full installer" versus "live installer" still though. One can't compare the two. It's like comparing a Windows install with a Windows drive image; one has an install process with several required questions while the other has a pre-fab OS image that's simply being stamped onto the hard drive.

Look at Mandriva:
Mandriva One - a liveCD version with set defaults and a live installer which stamps the pre-fab image onto hard drive if desired.

Mandriva Free - a "libre" full install version. This provides the traditional bare metal cold install giving the user the most choice in system setup. One can accept the full install defaults provided where possible or change them in addition to answering various required questions.

One can't compare the two isntalls because they are completely different by design and necesity. One is essentially a drive image stamped to the system while the other is an install process dependent on user's choices.

In the case of Mandriva and Debian, one has the option of using a liveCD installer or a full disk installer. If what one wants is a default install with all but the absolute minimum decided for them; use the liveCD.. that's what it's meant to do. If one wants more choice in how the system is installed, use the full install.. that's what it's meant to do.

Reply Parent Score: 2