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Porteus Installer

Posted: 10 Sep 2014, 02:13
by brokenman
The installer of an operating system is an important part. If you can't get the system installed it is game over before it starts. A forfeit. I am not really looking forward to creating a UEFI compatible installer that supports installation to USB and HDD. I have a couple of questions.

1) Can you point to a distro's installer that you really like (so I can rip off ideas)?
2) What should the linear process be?
3) Does anyone else want to tackle this task?
4) What should the boot manager be in the case of EFI?

E.g choices:
1) EFI or BIOS
2) USB or HDD
3) Single Partition, Two partitions
4) Choose filesystem
5) Install
6) Install boot manager?

Re: Porteus Installer

Posted: 10 Sep 2014, 10:43
by tome
ad 1) Something like wubi (ubuntu/mint) installer could be good option for new Windows incomers - it adds grub to Windows bootloaders, you don't need burn CD/empty_flashdrive to try, and it is very fast and secure - you don't lost your partition and current bootloader entries. It also can create container in nice way - it doesn't write many null characters like dd command but only allocate space.
For Linux "dummies" could be script that would add new entries to current bootloader.
For empty disks and pendrives current Porteus installer is very good, although I would prefer more plain files than one packed (easier to modify, choose syslinux/lilo). Or maybe someone prefer slower grub4dos, grub2?

Re: Porteus Installer

Posted: 10 Sep 2014, 22:14
by tome
There is also Lubi (like Wubi) installer for Linux but I haven't tested it.

Re: Porteus Installer

Posted: 11 Sep 2014, 06:09
by francois
Finally, we can subsume all the critics of Jesse Smith except one, to be tied to what the installer provides in debian and ubuntu installers:
Porteus does not play well with USB thumb drives, the installer really doesn't give us much flexibility, we are given one default user account, no practical security

1) The installer which is nice and sexy gui interface in debian or ubuntu or redhat-fedora provide you with a root and guest password (here you choose your guest name), there is an option for encryption, you have different options to install including the expert one (flexibility), you could install on the thumb drive if you prefer that option to the hdd. Additionnally, other options are possible choosing the keyboard and the locales, setting the time according to your locality.

The os installer version of elementary os would be the best to have as it is really clean and simple and neat. It seems to be of fedora inspiration. Please have a look at it.

debianinstaller packages an libraries:

fedora 18 installer is buggy: ... -confusing


2) We will have to build our own installer which will have to have a nice and sexy interface including the features of debian-ububtu-fedora. Here adopting grub2 should would ease the finding of windows and other linux installations. And cfdisk could be invoked. But why should we reinvent the wheel. With grub2, given the nature of porteus, I don't see why we could not offer the option to dual boot on the same partition as windows.

In one solution or the other, the final result as there are no packages installation with porteus, but two small folders /boot and /porteus, is that the installation will be lightning fast. :D

Depending on its weight, the sexy installer could be offered as an option when building the iso or better be downloaded when necessary with an installation button if the weight of that feature is too big.

Re: Porteus Installer

Posted: 11 Sep 2014, 23:32
by francois
I might have one here:
git for slack-kickstart 64 bit version only, based on fedora anaconda: ... -kickstart

After some reflexion, though I thought that using an already existing bootloader would simplify the job, it seems that it might complicate the job. Maybe the best thing is to start anew as brokenman seems to propose.

Re: Porteus Installer

Posted: 12 Sep 2014, 15:53
by francois
@brokenman: Considerations on EFI, do we want to provide EFI both for hdd and usb?

Porteus is so easy to install, no package installation needed, its already ready to use. In addition, porteus setting center includes a lot of the functions and even more that these installers include, so the installer could finish on the porteus setting center for a few additional modifications.

But what in fact are having and doing anaconda and debian installers?

1.0 A nice gui or temporarily a command line interface (utmost importance is that it works flawlessly, well worded and rapid)
1.1 The possibity to backup if you made an error, and maybe more than one step, and possibility to skip step
2.0 Ask you to install
3.0 guest account naming and passwords (guest or alias, root), encryption options and other security stuff should be minimalist or absent or deffered to porteus system settings.
4.0 language, locale, keyboard settings and time zone
5.0 Where to install hdd, usb, cd
5.1 Probing for complete install on hdd or usb: erasing all the hdd and automatic install
5.11... reformating the hdd into one partition,
5.2 Or probing for install along the other system (usually windows), but also other linux-unix filesystems
6.0 Asking for which partition for the install and or resizing a partition for providing place for the install
7.0 formatting after asking what type of filesystem. does the newbie knows what type of filesystem, if not ext4
8.0 additional packages: desktop environment, favorite browser, libreoffice, printer package, gimp
9.0 bootloader installation (grub2, seems the most universal in the linux world, should be able to identify windows and other linux, command grub-install)
10.0 Inscription of other operating systems in the menu list of the bootloader (grub2 command update-grub, and modifications to /etc/grub.d/40_custom to include porteus and to boot it automatically after 5 seconds)

Re: Porteus Installer

Posted: 18 Sep 2014, 13:46
by francois
I just tried a text-mode archlinux installer from evolution linux, it is quite interesting and quite easy to use, but could be improved. The experience of the evolution linux intaller could give us some ideas (it deals with EFI installations): ... p?f=6&t=28

Brokenman's proposition in the first post is simple nice and clear. I adopt. The leaner the installer, the faster the installation, the better you are. With its modular structure porteus is lightning fast to install, there is no comparison with these other distributions where all the packages have to be installed one by one. I am letting down the sexy look for now, lets stay kiss.

The wording of each steps is important. This why I have linked to the evolution installer.

Re: Porteus Installer

Posted: 22 Dec 2014, 03:30
by CafeRay
I would prefer the suggestion of Tome

1) Something like wubi (ubuntu/mint) installer could be good option for new Windows incomers

Using grub or grub2 can be compatible with booting multiple operating systems such as Windows and other Linux distros

Re: Porteus Installer

Posted: 22 Dec 2014, 21:41
by francois
The problem with Ubuntu installer is that it takes too much space for this lightweight distribution. However, maybe you could try grubconfig (google grubconfig grub2 porteus Francois).

See: ... -kickstart