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Debian Software Linux

Debian Gets Win32 Installer 232

Posted by kdawson
from the no-CD-no-USB-no-problem dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Debian hacker Robert Millan has just announced the availability of a Debian-Installer Loader for win32. The program, inspired by Ubuntu's similar project, features 64-bit CPU auto-detection, download of linux/initrd netboot images, and chainloading into Debian-Installer via grub4dos. The frontend site goodbye-microsoft.com/ has been set up for advocacy purposes. Here are some screenshots."
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Debian Gets Win32 Installer

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  • Re:IE exploit? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joebert (946227) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @03:30AM (#17788314) Homepage
    Funny maybe, but it would kill PR for Debian.
    If there's one thing people hate more than holes in Windows, it's the software that exploits thoose holes.
  • by exley (221867) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @03:39AM (#17788352) Homepage
    From the announcement:

    This has a few interesting applications:
    ...
    - Migrating to Debian for users who have no idea how to burn an ISO and/or how to configure their BIOS for CD boot.


    Uhhhh, if someone doesn't know how to burn an ISO or tinker with their BIOS, is this installer really something they should be screwing around with?
  • by mark-t (151149) <[markt] [at] [lynx.bc.ca]> on Sunday January 28, 2007 @04:04AM (#17788384) Journal
    I'm not sure that'd be so funny... people would actually blame linux for it, you know. The PR for debian would probably tank. Even, as I mentioned elsewhere, if a windows fanboy might do this with that very agenda in mind, I strongly suspect the outcome would be the same, regardless of who did it.
  • by chris_sawtell (10326) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @04:06AM (#17788388) Journal
    Your patch would, I'm sure be very welcome.

    You have sent it in havn't you?

  • by twitter (104583) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @04:08AM (#17788392) Homepage Journal

    Uhhhh, if someone doesn't know how to burn an ISO or tinker with their BIOS, is this installer really something they should be screwing around with?

    I understand that it's dangerous to "screw around" with your computer when it's running Windows, but I did not know that writing a file was one of those dangerous things now.

    You would be amazed at how difficult some vendors make it to do what should be very easy. Though burning an ISO image should be the easiest thing a program could do with a blank CD, most burning programs either lack the option or hide it. Telling your computer what device to boot off should also be easy, but the larger vendors don't display the keystroke required to get into the BIOS configuration utility. What should take five minutes can easily take hours and could take a trip to the store to buy burning software. People are usually put off but these types of guessing game, especially when the results are uncertain.

    All of it backfires eventually. A user who's insulted enough will do something about it. Sooner or later, they all learn.

  • Just in time! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@@@gmail...com> on Sunday January 28, 2007 @04:40AM (#17788474) Homepage

    For the release of Vista in two days, which will make this installer break! Vista no longer uses boot.ini or the NTLDR loader.

    In fact, I'm using the Vista RC2 bootloader to boot Windows XP. The Debian installer would fail horribly because the boot process would not be altered atall.

  • Re:questions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Incidence (923443) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @04:51AM (#17788506)
    If the installers are able to create a functional dual boot system without affecting Windows then this could be really good for Linux adoption, assuming my situation is even semi-common outside my group of friends.

    I've worked with live-CD's in the past and would like to install Linux, but the problem has always been the threat of lost data and system downtime getting the OS to work. Between school and my job I can't afford to be without a functional computer for any real length of time, so even the small chance of something going wrong and the natural learning curve of a new OS have made switching impossible. If this option is able to do what Ubuntu plans then switching would be a very easy decision.

    A few hours and an over-night download giving a fully functional Windows OS for work and school and a Linux OS for learning the system would be just what I've wanted.
  • Re:questions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scum-e-bag (211846) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @04:53AM (#17788512) Homepage Journal

    I mean, you're running Windows and you paid for the right to use them... RIGHT? RIGHT? ;)
    No. You paid Microsoft to tell you how to use them.
  • Re:Because... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrjb (547783) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @05:52AM (#17788632)
    You will be surprised just how noob some users are.

    I have written a cross-platform application that consists of just an executable and a shared library (DLL/.so, respectively).

    Even with the email-assistance I give them, regularly it proves too difficult for users to copy the library file to the default library directory (c:\windows\system32 or /usr/local/lib, respectively). Especially Mac users have trouble because they have to do this as root user, which often is a concept unknown to them.

    This happens so often that I'm working on an installer now. End users just can't be bothered with technicalities and procedures.
  • by massysett (910130) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @08:49AM (#17789164) Homepage
    I think it's better to promote Linux because of what it does well, rather than promoting Linux by saying MS is no good.
  • by robosmurf (33876) * on Sunday January 28, 2007 @10:35AM (#17789602)
    The windows based installer is an interesting idea, and the Ubuntu version looks pretty good.

    However, the goodbye-microsoft.com front end site is a complete disaster.

    It just contains a link to an executable file. The 'More details about it link' says NOTHING about what it does. It doesn't say what it will install, what it is for, or what it will do to your existing OS.

    I really hope that few people would be stupid enough to run the executable. Getting people to run random files from sites with names that suggest that they will trash your OS is not something to be encouraged.
  • by Rufty (37223) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:15AM (#17789800) Homepage
    Because it's already too fat with all the AOL crap Dell and the rest preload? Because it's useful?? Because customers want it???
    Just tried to download. Didn't work. Just how dows M$ break a site so it doesn't even render in safari????
    Firefox is OK, though ;=)
    Now, will this run under parallels?
  • I RTFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frAme57 (145879) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `teefekans'> on Sunday January 28, 2007 @12:19PM (#17790176) Homepage
    and I have one question. Now, I am all for expanding the GNU/Linux/FOSS/BSD userbase, and I am certainly no l33t user but is this

    - Migrating to Debian for users who have no idea how to burn an ISO
    and/or how to configure their BIOS for CD boot.

    really the people we want to invite to the party?

  • by heroofhyr (777687) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @12:19PM (#17790186)

    If Linux evangelists want people to move to a Linux OS then you don't want a MS Windows installer you really want a proper Linux installer other wise you are just saying that Linux is a poor cousin to MS Windows and I can assure you that the majority of potential users who do this will eventually go back to MS Windows and usually with a bad feeling to Linux.

    I disagree and think this is good news. My father-in-law only uses his computer for his mail, his music, and for the various PCB/schematic applications he needs. I've attempted to convince him numerous times to use something other than Windows, mainly because his computer has such limited resources and the software he uses is nothing that isn't available freely and just as high-quality in the FLOSS universe. It also runs like a tortoise with XP Pro. He seems nervous about trying something he's unfamiliar with, so I finally got an Ubuntu LiveCD from Ship-It. As anyone who has tried this service knows, it can be quite awhile before it arrives. The point of the CD is for him to try it out and see how it is without actually changing anything in his hard drive. The reason I had to get a CD rather than just download/burn it is because these days I'm only burning to DVD-Rs and a) I don't feel like buying a single blank CD and b) he has no DVD drive. Had I known about this installer I would've just pointed him to it and saved myself a lot of time.
    While I agree that a high-quality installer is a worthwhile goal (I remember when I first installed FreeBSD back in 1999 or so and it was so bare-bones that I had no idea what the hell I was doing for about 90% of the installation) and things are moving in that direction, there are a lot of people who lack the hardware to burn LiveCDs, aren't going to take the risk of paying for one for an OS they're just mildly curious in and have never used, and/or have no knowledge of configuring their operating system. These people also probably have an OEM copy of Windows and don't know how to use anything else. Making the act of trying something new as simple as running a program using the Windows Installer dialogs they're used to is, to me, a good idea, and rather reminiscient of the old BeOS 5 Personal Edition. Whether anyone switches or not, it's a safe way for them to check it out.

    In fact dual booting is not a real solution either because users will eventually fall back to MS Windows because it is too easy to backslide. It is very important if you are trying to convince friends that if they are serious they must switch to a Linux only PC although let them play with a few distros before that and they need to get educated in basic security and System Admin practices.

    That's a rather harsh suggestion. Unless it's an issue of HD space, I wouldn't ever recommend to a newbie that they toss Windows overboard completely and forego dual-booting. When I first started out in the non-Windows/DOS world it was around early 1998, and one of the first problems I came across was getting PPP working. If I hadn't had the foresight to dual-boot, what would you have suggested I do to find an answer to how to set it up? I certainly couldn't go online to find help--after all going online was the problem. So how did I fix it? I booted into Windows, found some websites with example scripts, printed them out, and booted back. At the time I wasn't aware of Lynx so I had to do the same thing (reboot, print out, reboot) to get XF86 configured and running. If Windows is too easy to backslide towards, that in itself speaks volumes about the learning curve and potential for frustration of non-Windows systems to people weaned on it. I don't know too many people who buy a Mac, try it for an hour, and take it back to the store (e.g. backslide) because it's too different, their menus aren't in the same place, common system applications have different names, etc. If someone doesn't like Linux, BSD, or whatever, that's their business. There may be a stupid reason for it, and one can try and correct that misinformed

  • by The Spoonman (634311) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @12:33PM (#17790254) Homepage
    some DVD/CD burner program (believe it or not, WindowsXP does *not* do this out of the box!)

    I forget the current Slashdot stance: do we want Windows to do everything out of the box, or do we want to chastise them for doing anything out of the box because that drives away competition? I mean, if they're going to be chastised for including a web browser (an absolute essential for everyone these days), but then complain that they don't include burning software (still only needed by a subset of everyone) isn't that a little hypocritical? If they did include burning software, wouldn't that drive Roxio and Nero out of business like IE did Netscape?

  • Re:I RTFA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kooglebot (597765) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @05:52PM (#17792394)
    No, they're not.

    I've used Linux for nearly ten years now. I switched to Debian from Red Hat a few years ago and like it very much. Installation (for me, anyway) was a piece of cake.

    But what I don't hear much about -- in these comments or elsewhere -- is CONFIGURATION. A chimpanzee can now install Debian on a PC, but how about configuring exim? Or setting up a printer? I had problems with both of these things -- which I eventually solved, of course, but how many naive users could? There are plenty of useful guides, books, etc., but very little written at the NOVICE level for Debian (probably because it isn't really possible).
  • by chromatic (9471) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @06:17PM (#17792618) Homepage

    Assumption that because someone is willing to take a few seconds to be helpful by pointing out a mistake that is trivial to fix....

    Reporting bugs on Slashdot is helpful?

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