6.1. The Debian Installer

Although Debian Live is mostly concerned with avoiding permanent installation, integrating some form of installer to your image is possible. There are number of different "types" of installation, varying in what and how to install the image.

The "Debian Installer"

Please note the careful use of capital letters when referring to the "Debian Installer" in this section - when used like this we refer explicitly to the official installer for the Debian system, not anything else. It is often seen abbreviated to "d-i".

The three main types of installer are:

"Normal" Debian Installer

This is a normal Debian Live image with a seperate kernel and initrd which (when selected from the appropriate bootloader) launches into a standard Debian Installer instance, just as if you had downloaded a CD image of Debian and booted it.

This means that Debian is installed by fetching and installing .deb packages using debootstrap or cdebootstrap, from the local media or some network-base network, resulting in a standard Debian system being installed to the hard disk.

This whole process can be preseeded and customised in a number of ways; see the relevant "DebianInstaller" wiki page and installation guide for more. This is operational now withing live-helper.

"Live" Debian Installer

This is a Debian Live image with a seperate kernel and initrd which (when selected from the appropriate bootloader) launches into an instance of the Debian Installer.

Installation will proceed in an identical fashion to the "Normal" installation described above, but at the actual package installation stage, instead of using debootstrap to fetch and install packages, the "live" filesystem image is copied to the target. After this stage, the Debian Installer continues as normal, installing and configuring items such as bootloaders and local users, etc.

This is working now.

"Ubuntu"-style installer

This is where you boot into a graphical Debian Live system and run a wizard-based program which installs and configures the live system, all the time remaining inside the live graphical environment.

This is currently NOT possible with Debian Live.

By default, no installar will be included in the Debian Live image. You can enable it by using lh_config :

$ lh_config --help
  ...
  [--debian-installer enabled|cdrom|netinst|netboot|businesscard|live|disabled]
  [--debian-installer-distribution CODENAME|daily]
  [--debian-installer-preseedfile FILE|URL]
  ...
 

You can also use the appropriate variables in the config/binary file:

$ cat config/binary | grep DEBIAN_INTALLER
set debian-installer
LH_DEBIAN_INSTALLER="disabled"
# $LH_DEBIAN_INSTALLER_DISTRIBUTION: set debian-installer suite
LH_DEBIAN_INSTALLER_DISTRIBUTION="lenny"
# $LH_DEBIAN_INSTALLER_PRESEEDFILE: set debian-installer preseed filename/url
LH_DEBIAN_INSTALLER_PRESEEDFILE=""
 

The values "Normal", "Live" and "Ubuntu" are not valid values for <term>LH_BINARY_DEBIAN_INSTALLER</term>. Refer to the output of lh_config cited above to choose the appropriate values.