View Poll Results: Should we allow installation within windows on a loopmounted ntfs partition?

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  • Yes, make this an official ubuntu installation method!

    171 43.07%
  • Yes, but make this some unofficial third party project

    162 40.81%
  • Yes, but do it differently (post any suggestions)

    12 3.02%
  • No! Keep everything the way it is!

    77 19.40%
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Thread: Windows-based Ubuntu Installer Development Thread (merged parts 1 and 2)

  1. #1
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    Windows-based Ubuntu Installer Development Thread (merged parts 1 and 2)

    THIS THREAD, FORMERLY TITLED " Idea: Install via windows on loopmounted ntfs?" HAS BEEN MERGED TOGETHER WITH ITS CONTINUATION THREAD, FORMERLY TITLED "Windows based installer - testers and developers wanted", FOR EASIER TRACKING/READABILITY PURPOSES. THE BEGINNING OF THE SECOND PART OF THE THREAD IS HERE: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.p...71#post2011371

    THIS THREAD IS OUTDATED. THE ORIGINAL WINDOWS-BASED UBUNTU INSTALLER SITE IS AT http://cutlersoftware.com/ubuntusetu...site/original/, THE SPECIFICATION IS AT https://wiki.ubuntu.com/install.exe, THE NEW WUBI SITE IS AT http://wubi.sourceforge.net, THE LUBI/LVPM/UNETBOOTIN/BUBAKUP SITE IS AT http://lubi.sourceforge.net, AND THE FORUMS ARE AT http://ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=234

    Original Thread Begins Here:

    A PROTOTYPE IS NOW AVAILABLE! SEE https://wiki.ubuntu.com/install.exe/Prototype FOR DOWNLOADING AND INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS!

    A major barrier for entry into the ubuntu world is the installation process. Not too many people know how to burn an iso, set the BIOS to boot from a cd, and format a hard drive, and few are patient enough to read documentation how to figure out how to do so, so they just give up on ubuntu. A way to fix this problem is to let people download ubuntu in the form of a setup.exe installer, which will install ubuntu in a loopmounted partition, as a file in the ntfs partition, and install a bootloader which will allow booting from ubuntu or windows, like topologilinux http://www.topologilinux.com/ does. Think of what this would mean:

    1. Much simpler installation: just download setup.exe, double click, next-next-next, reboot, welcome to ubuntu.

    2. No need to partition; no chance of data loss.

    3. No need to burn a cd for those with no cd writers, or no spare cds.

    4. No need to reboot into the live cd to install; just download and install in windows.

    5. Lowered risk of someone doing something wrong; no chance of screwup while burning the iso, booting from the cd, or partitioning.

    6. Quicker installation; it'll be getting the installation files from the hard drive, not from the cd.

    7. It'll have much better performance than a live cd, and will be nearly as fast as a standard installation, so it'll be a much more realistic performance preview.

    8. We could even include an "uninstall ubuntu" option that will restore the original windows bootloader and remove the loopmounted file to reassure those people who are scared that ubuntu will destroy their system irreparably.

    9 (maybe). We might even allow people to upgrade to a full-blown ubuntu on a dedicated partition if they want to get rid of windows and get a performance boost by shrinking the ntfs partition, cloning the loopmounted file into a real filesystem in the new space freed up, then deleting the ntfs filesystem, expanding the new ubuntu one to take up the freed space, and modifying the bootloader to boot from the new ubuntu filesystem.

    /*10 (removed because of criticism). We might even detect what browser and email client is being used in windows and import the mail, addressbook, and cookies into ubuntu to make the migration easier.*/

    /*11 (removed because of criticism). We might even use windows to detect the hardware and apt-get install the necessary drivers automatically during installation so there will be no hardware issues later.*/

    For those of you who say this can't be done: Topologilinux managed to do the loopmounted installation and dual-booting on an ntfs drive; we could nab some code from them. /*(removed because of criticism) Firefox and Thunderbird already have the ability to import from IE and Outlook Express, so we could use that for the migration.*/

    For those of you who say that this isn't going to be useful for people, think of all the people it will open ubuntu up to; plenty of average computer users know how to download a file and double-click through an installer, but few know how to burn an iso, set the BIOS to boot from a cd, and format a hard drive. This way, we will expand our target audience to the average home users who want a better desktop experience, instead of ultra-nerds and their friend who they convert.

    For those of you who think this will divert resources from the ubuntu team: the ubuntu team probably isn't going to be working on this; it'll probably be done by some third-party people who know how to code windows installers, then it might later be accepted by the official ubuntu community. Also, it shouldn't be too hard, as topologilinux already has done most of the work; we only have to adapt their work to ubuntu and polish it.

    For those of you who think this will make people dependent on windows: if they can't install ubuntu, they will be using windows. It's better to have people dual-booting ubuntu than having them not use it at all. Also, if point 9 is possible to do, we could have this be a nice, step-by-step migration to ubuntu; get them used to ubuntu while having it in a loopmounted partition, then once they're ready, let them get rid of windows and give ubuntu its own dedicated partition. Besides, the live and alternate install cds will still be available for people who want to install ubuntu the normal way; this will just open up more options.

    This will NOT run ubuntu witihn windows, like vmware, andLinux, or colinux does. It just aims to make the installation of standard, directly bootable ubuntu easier.

    Further information at: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/install.exe https://wiki.ubuntu.com/install.exe/Prototype https://blueprints.launchpad.net/dis...dows-installer https://launchpad.net/setup-ubuntu/

    So, is this a good idea? Vote on the poll, and ask developers!
    Last edited by tuxcantfly; September 13th, 2007 at 10:41 PM. Reason: thread obsolete, closing

  2. #2
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    Re: Idea: Install via windows on loopmounted ntfs?

    Interesting idea, I voted it should be a third-party project though, at least initially.

  3. #3
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    Re: Idea: Install via windows on loopmounted ntfs?

    I really don't like this idea, even if it was possible. It's difficult enough to support a wide variety of hardware and software configurations, but now the Ubuntu installer should have support for every somewhat recent version of Windows too?

    It's true that everyone doesn't know how to burn an ISO file or set the BIOS to boot cds. But that's why we have the instructions on Ubuntu's download page. After installation the new users will have to learn a lot of things anyway, and read a lot of guides. If they can't do that they shouldn't even think about installing an OS. Many of the post-install stuff is way harder than burning the ISO.


    2. No need to partition; no chance of data loss.
    Linux on NTFS? What could possibly go wrong...


    3. No need to burn a cd for those with no cd writers, or no spare cds.
    There's always Shipit + various other sources of getting the cd, and pretty much everyone who has a PC capable of running Ubuntu also has a CD writer.


    6. Quicker installation; it'll be getting the installation files from the hard drive, not from the cd.
    I don't think the CD-ROM speed plays a big part in the installation. Most of the time is spent setting things up and uncompressing files.


    9 (maybe). We might even use windows to detect the hardware and apt-get install the necessary drivers automatically during installation so there will be no hardware issues later.
    Whoa! "What could possibly go wrong" #2.

  4. #4
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    Re: Idea: Install via windows on loopmounted ntfs?

    Linux on NTFS? What could possibly go wrong...
    No, ubuntu will NOT be running on NTFS. It will be running on an ext3 filesystem within a file (loopmounted) on an ntfs filesystem. The stable ntfs write kernel drivers will be used, as the filesize of the loopmounted filesystem will not be changing, nor will new files be created. I've used topologilinux for a few months, and have had no issues with this approach.

  5. #5
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    Re: Idea: Install via windows on loopmounted ntfs?

    If confused about the approach, think of it like a mounting a .iso file; it's a iso9660 filesystem contained within a file on a ext3 or whatever filesystem. It's the same here, only it's an ext3 filesystem contained within a file on an ntfs filesyste; the loopmounted ext3 filesystem is being written, not the ntfs. If confused, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topologilinux "Storage System: Topologilinux creates an hard disk image file on an NTFS or FAT partition."

  6. #6
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    Re: Idea: Install via windows on loopmounted ntfs?

    There's always Shipit + various other sources of getting the cd, and pretty much everyone who has a PC capable of running Ubuntu also has a CD writer.
    Wouldn't it be faster and more logical to just download an installer and install, instead of downloading an iso, burning it, then installing, or ordering a cd, waiting weeks for it to arrive, and then installing? Besides, this would take a big burden off of shipit; only people without internet would need it.

  7. #7
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    Talking Re: Idea: Install via windows on loopmounted ntfs?

    Quote Originally Posted by tuxcantfly View Post
    Just download setup.exe, double click, next-next-next, reboot, welcome to ubuntu.
    I think even most windows users could manage that!

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    Re: Idea: Install via windows on loopmounted ntfs?

    I agee with the idea, it's been done before, in the likes of WinLinux 2000/2001, Dragon Linux, and others. I don't think it should be a primary means of distribution of Ubuntu until it's out of a diaper more, but I think it could be made to work and I think it's a very wise and smart idea!

  9. #9
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    Re: Idea: Install via windows on loopmounted ntfs?

    methinks this would be a great idea

    especially when xorg implements a dynamic xorg.conf file so that doesn't need to be changed by the user...........


    just one question though...

    would it be possible for the installer to have an option to create a new partition for ubuntu ??

    would an actual partition (whilst maintaining the windows partition) be better off than a loopback device thingo...??

    (my common sense, and it's not backed up by much knowledge, tells me an actual partition seperate to windows would be better?? (or is this loopback thing seperate to windows anyway......i don't like being clueless ))

    .......
    if u find some of my ideas weird...look at my avatar for the reason
    http://delfick.storage.googlepages.c...ycfuserbar.png

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    Re: Idea: Install via windows on loopmounted ntfs?

    Well, I guess the idea is that the installer will create a single file in the NTFS partition that will be a few gigabytes and then mount that file as one or more partitions and then do the installation into that file.

    This is a great idea because partitioning is what puts off most novice users (especially if they want to remove the OS later). Another plus is that, with the size of hard drives now, most people still have the entire drive as a single C: windows partition. We wont mess with that and just write a single (maybe 10-20 GB) file into the partition. That file contains the entire Ubuntu filesystem (like an ISO). The boot process will be changed to boot into the file.

    Since the size of the file is fixed, the stable NTFS write drivers will work. (They may fail if the size of the file changes).
    1. Intel Core 2 Duo E4500, ASUS P5L-VM 1394, GeForce 8600GT (PCI-e), WinTV PVR-150
    2. AMD Athlon 64 3500+, ACER FC51GM/Foxconn 6150K8MA-8EKRS, NVidia GeForce 6100, Netgear WG311T

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