View Full Version : [ubuntu] 9.10 installation without internet access

November 1st, 2009, 01:23 PM
Hi guys!

This is my first post to UbuntuForums and it's going to be a long one so don't beat me please ;) !

I'd like to ask for a suggestion on how to do this install (9.10 Karmic) while my target machine have no internet access. This is for exercise basically, so I took my Asus EeePC 901 as a playground. Here's where I'm now in the middle of the way.
What I have is:

netboot.tar.gz file for 9.10 taken from http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/netboot/ .

Useful article on this topic can be found at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/Netboot. I came that way except using xinetd -- it didn't want to start tftpd server so I avoided xinetd and run tftpd-hpa directly. dhcp server run well. All this was done on my another Acer notebook which had to be a server for "internetless" and diskless Eee. It has an internet access.

I set my Asus to boot from network in BIOS and after a few attempts did that: DHCP served appropriate IP and TFTP allowed EeePC to get all the files to present me with nice Ubuntu starting page. All well.

After all the choices the installation gave me it attempted to download packages from one of Ubuntu mirrors I chose (it was ru.archive.ubuntu.com as I'm from Russia). It didn't work 'cause packet forwarding on Acer "server" didn't allow it to happen, but after I typed a few commands it obeyed. All mirrors are overloaded now as 9.10 in all its rage so there were various errors during download of various packets, plus 404 errors preventing me finish installation successfully even when I tried us.archive.ubuntu.com instead of RU.

But it isn't in line with my aim to not to use internet at all. I have the installation disk (ISO image) so it struck me that I can simply trick installation process into thinking that it works with ru.archive.ubuntu.com when it really accesses Acer "server". One line in /etc/hosts + dnsmasq restart and voila (Apache setup was already almost done on Acer).

This is where another problem appeared which I can't solve. Installation says that it can't get "a file" from the mirror. It doesn't say exactly which. Switching from 1st console to 4th (Ctrl-Alt-F4) on EeePC I see the log with several warnings and one error. Most suspicious warning is: "WARNING **: bad d-i Packages file", and error: "cat: can't open '/tmp/net-retriever-5016-deduplicate/*': No such file or directory". Obviously it can't get Packages file from... don't know exactly.

These files exist in ISO:


Not plain ones but compressed with gzip. But according to apache access log the installation on Eee doesn't request them at all! Instead it tries to get Packages from somewhere inside itself. And I've found this Package file on Eee in /var/cache/anna directory. This file is live, 'cause if I delete it and retry to start installation (and fail again), it is created here again. What's bad with it is its size: zero. If I wget Packages from Acer into this directory (22510 bytes to be correct), then after installation retry it truncates to 0 again. Also I've found "Packages" substring in /bin/anna binary.

Although I'm not 100% sure, my fake "ru.archive.ubuntu.com" server directory structure is correct, 'cause I did it after US analog.

I told you that it's an exercise of mine, but if I would really want to install 9.10 onto EeePC without CD drive, I'll have to find somewhere an external CD drive with USB connectivity.

Does anybody have a thought what can be done in this situation? Is this a bug in installer or not?

September 16th, 2010, 03:22 PM
I have my own mirror from Ubuntu and I had the same problem.
I'm still looking for where is the problem but I found in my APACHE ERROR LOG that the request is to

File does not exist: /home/mirror/ubuntu/dists/lucid/restricted/debian-installer

see, is looking for the "debian-installer" folder and in my case I don't have it. Now I'll execute "debmirror" to mirror those folder. I'll tell you tomorrow if I could solve it.

May 26th, 2011, 05:06 PM
Did you get a solution to this, pal???