[Herts] Installing sidux + GRUB2 demo

Malcolm Smith lists at thesmith.org.uk
Tue Aug 10 15:43:03 UTC 2010

For this Thursday's meeting, I'm happy to present a demo I've been
planning for three months now! Each month I've been close to getting
it to work, only to have it thwart me and drain all my positivity,
leaving me too demoralised to even turn up. I've been plagued with
CDROM problems, and olde computer BIOS which won't boot USB or CDs.

Today I found the answer: the "so-new-there's-no-man-page" GRUB2 
has an awesome facility to be able to boot .ISO files which are
stored on hard disks directly. This makes installing software from
CDROMs obsolete (thankfully), and allows USB rescue sticks which
contain multiple ISOs.

So my demo will be in two parts:
1. how to set up GRUB2 to boot from an ISO file stored on hard disk
2. how to install sidux

The second part is the real story: sidux is the best thing since
sliced bread, a way of installing Debian Unstable ("sid") from 0-60
in under ten minutes :) This will hopefully put to bed the outdated
old myth that Debian is hard to install and use. What makes it even
better is that sidux devs continually monitor and try to break it;
if problems are found, they roll back to earlier versions of the
bad packages until the new sid versions work. So it is a rolling
release which always contains the latest and greatest of Linux,
which is surprisingly "stable" and without problems (usually ;)

Do bring any machines you'd like to try installing it on, although
I can't be totally sure whether my live CD-Rs will work or not.
Steev is going to bring a spare computer, just in case anything goes
horribly wrong. I take no responsibility for trashing your machines,
so backup your data, no warranty, etc!

How long this all takes is as yet undefined: I'm not sure whether
the talk will be timed in "minutes", "hours", "computer-hours" or

Below is the message I wrote just before last meeting, as I gave up
all hope of making it.

See you on Thursday...


OK, we are back with a vengeance, and a fresh new version of Sidux!
I'm once again battling with olde hardware trying to make a working
machine out of the carcasses of three old ones. Really any one will
do, just work FFS...

So if I can get a bootable PC in the next half-hour, I'll bring
it to tonight LUG meeting and give a talk demonstrating how to
install sidux. I'll bring a live CD if anyone wants to try it out.
If you have a better PC than mine (which is currently stuck unable
to even boot the CD) that you'd like a sparkling new OS installing
on, bring it along.

UPDATE: OK, I've now realised that my rubbish CD-burner seems to be
too lame to even make a working CD-R, and I'm having problems booting
anything :( So the computer demons have foxed me again and left me
for dead, unable to attend... :( Maybe next month... :/


On Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 07:16:43PM +0000, Malcolm Smith wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 10, 2010 at 12:02:38PM +0000, Malcolm Smith wrote:
> >
> > I'm hoping to bring a machine and demonstrate installing Sidux on it,
> > so long as I can get it to work today (and then nuke the install and
> > repeat it for your enjoyment :)
> > 
> > Some of you may require sunglasses or even protective visors to shield
> > you from the uberleet coolness of this state-of-the-art supercomputer I
> > have created though, culled from parts from my olde Pentium III boxes...
> > (No, it will not run Vista or Crysis...)
> > 
> > Fingers crossed that it doesn't implode.
> Bah! :( The stupid machine is not playing ball:
> - it won't boot a CDROM no matter what I try: 4 different CDROM drives
>   (two IDE, two SCSI)
> - hard disk errors
> - stupid P.O.S. thing is gonna meet my sledgehammer soon
> It's not a PICNIC error, and the Sidux CD boots fine on my two other
> Pentium 4 machines. So I give up for now with this antiquated tech,
> and will install Sidux on a newer machine instead.
> As a result, I'm now too tired and demoralised to make it tonight :/
> Hope to see you next month, with or without (bludgeoned) computer...
> See you
> -- 
> Malcolm
> http://www.thesmith.org.uk/     Personal site of unfathomable depths
> http://www.secretbass.org.uk/   Drum circle in deepest Hertfordshire
> http://www.drummingisfun.co.uk/ African drumming workshops+performances

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