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Re: Installing Stretch/Testing with absolute minimal bandwith useage

[NOTE: I'm interleaving comments referring to Brian's post of 06/13/2017 11:48 AM and I'm still absorbing David's post of 06/15/2017 10:34 AM]

On 06/13/2017 04:13 PM, David Wright wrote:
On Tue 13 Jun 2017 at 12:28:41 (-0500), Richard Owlett wrote:
On 06/13/2017 11:48 AM, Brian wrote:
On Tue 13 Jun 2017 at 09:20:43 -0500, Richard Owlett wrote:

I am running Stretch that was fully updated/upgraded less than
a week ago. I have the flash drive used to do the original
install of Stretch. I have not _intentionally_ purged any files
>from cache.

The cache will contain those files the installer got for you when
you selected and installed software, plus anything else you obtained
after the first reboot. For the sake of example let us suppose you
installed the mate desktop and the standard utilities.

That is my intention. I don't recall all of what I chose during the
original install, but what I intend is guaranteed to be no more than
the original.

The cache will not contain files from the base system, but that
doesn't matter because they are in the installer image, as is GRUB.
The standard system utilities are also in the image; no bandwidth
penalty there.

There is an almost "gotcha" there. The cache does not have packages such as task-desktop whose function is to load packages containing executable code (e.g. lightdm).

I wish to install Stretch on two additional machines. I am near
my internet data cap and wish to make *ABSOLUTE MINIMAL* usage
of available bandwidth.

Then take one of those large USB sticks that you have, and copy
the contents of /var/cache/apt/archives/ (omit partial/ and lock)
onto it before you lose them.

In future, when you install from scratch, you can make this copy
before you finish the installation with the following:

When the "Select and install software" step finishes, switch to VC2
for a shell. Insert the USB stick and mount it somewhere (like /mnt
or /instmnt).
# cp /target/var/cache/apt/archives/*deb /<your USB stick>/
Unmount the stick and remove after copying has finished.
Switch back to VC1 and continue.

I take it that "/<your USB stick>/" does not refer to copy made satisfying "before you lose them".

I've not completely thought this through but you definitely would
not want to use the select and install software option, apart from
leaving standard utiliites ticked. You also would not want a
network mirror but, unless you are going to use sneakernet, you
will want networking in order to be able to connect to your primary

I generally favor sneakernet whenever possible. I neglected to
mention that I do not currently have a LAN. The time may have come.

Regardless, on the next installation, during the "Configure the
package manager" step where you are asked whether you want to use
a network mirror, switch to VC2 for a shell. Insert the USB stick and
mount it somewhere (like /mnt or /instmnt).
# cp /<your USB stick>/*deb /target/var/cache/apt/archives/
Unmount the stick and remove after copying has finished.
Switch back to VC1 and continue.

I've been looking at the directory structure of netinst.iso. I'm considering adding the *.deb files from my backup of my current cache to .../Debian stretch-DI-rc3 i386 1/pool and appropriately modifying .../Debian stretch-DI-rc3 i386 1/dists/stretch/Packages.gz.

I'm extrapolating from comments made by Thomas Schmitt and others in and around <https://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2014/03/msg00075.html>.

The purpose of this is to test the _installation process_ itself.
That eliminates anything resembling cloning. A secondary benefit
will be learning more about how Debian does things.

These two steps will get you started, and help preserve your precious
bandwidth while you get to learn about LANs, apt-cacher-ng and so on.