Offline image+inclusion of boot repair

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Offline image+inclusion of boot repair

Postby Sindust on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:02 am

tl;dr version:
Mint needs an installation image that would contain all the packages required to install it properly (including boot repair, without which it was impossible to make the system run in the first place) without Internet connection, as well as a tool to organize the packages downloaded via software manager in case the system has to be brought back to it's latest state as soon as possible after a clean install.

Long version (here won't be any new suggestions, just describing, why I think it should be done; if you don't care about my reasons, the tl;dr version is enough):
0. I've installed Mint a few days ago, and after using it for a while, I feel like it's the best distribution I've tried so far. However there is something that always bothers me, and that is when a program I just downloaded and want to install wants me to connect to the Internet first, and tries to scare me that it won't work properly if I won't. Lately I feel like every other piece of (at least windows) software I find on the Internet, is only available as a downloader, and it's damn hard to find the actual program that I want. And how Mint put a big red cross telling me that it's not OK to not be connected with the Internet during installation, and after getting me scared enough to actually allow it, seeing it download stuff during OS install was like a punch in the face.

1. I know that most people do have Internet access anytime and anywhere, but there are situations, when it's not the case. For example if the network configuration isn't supported "out of the box", and additional drivers are required, which would be pointless to install while running from a live CD. In this case it would be nice to have an installer that doesn't require Internet to install the base system. Also the live CD should include the basic tools that are necessary to solve known problems during installation, like the previously mentioned boot repair tool. I actually saw hundreds of people complaining that they can't start the system after installing Mint or Ubuntu on a secondary hard drive. Even changing boot order in the BIOS wasn't helping, as if I didn't just install the system for an hour, and it wasn't there. I yet again needed Internet access to install that boot repair package while running from the live USB.

2. Another thing that bothers me, is the way the software is treated. I see how organizing it in packages has advantages, and I won't argue with that. But when I use Windows, I have an installer that goes to my software collection, and I install it, and when I need an update, I download the newer version, put the installer to the collection replacing the old one, and reinstall it. With a single file per program I can organize it myself. And I also know that if I screw something up by messing with the boot-loader, the file-system, the registry, extremely buggy software or viruses, I can completely reinstall the OS with all the software, with just the PC and my external HDD with the software collection. Which also means that I don't have to be online for the whole process, allowing me to do it on my notebook while taking a train trip to another city. But right now, I completely lost track of what packages I need for what application. /var/cache/apt/archives has become a big dump with 719 items while I installed maybe 30 applications max. And considering I deleted half of them again, I don't even want/need half of the packages in that folder. It's no fun trying to see through that mess, this screams for a tool that will do the organization automatically.

3. The image should also include some software that is often used, and allow the user to choose, which to install during the OS installation (something that was possible in mandriva back when I tried it a few years ago). Because honestly, do you think there is any home PC that is occasionally used for something other than work, that doesn't have wine on it? I'm aware that it's a long time between the releases, and the software might get outdated, but someone without an Internet connection would at least have some functionality. Those who do have a connection right away won't loose anything, they can either not choose to install the software and do it the way they do it now (to reduce the time required for the OS to install), or they could install it, and update everything by pressing 1 button when they are done with the OS setup.

Thanks for reading, sorry for such a big wall of text.
Sindust
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