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Re: Installing Stretch/Testing with absolute minimal bandwith useage

On 06/16/2017 10:16 AM, David Wright wrote:
On Thu 15 Jun 2017 at 13:34:56 (-0500), Richard Owlett wrote:
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
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).

If you don't recall all of what you chose,

I have a personal standard minimal install that is always present.
What I did not recall which "extras" I used on that install.
But makes no difference as I'll only wish to duplicate "a personal standard minimal install".

"task-desktop", a package without any executable code but serves only to pull in a specified set of other packages apparently does not appear in the cache.

then I can't explain
any absences from the cache. But this is partly why I introduced
the method below, so that you can preserve cache contents at the
earliest opportunity.

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.

Assuming you haven't done the step below, you would do the above
now, before you start doing things that might cause you to
accidently lose them. Let's call the process above "xyzzy".

We think along same lines. I had done so.

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.

Let's call the latter process "plugh".

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

If you are holding the stick at the end of process "xyzzy", then
you're free to insert it and add more packages to it with "plugh".
(All the packages have unique names.) The only penalty is that
when you eventually copy *from* the stick, the expanded collection
will take longer to copy and might even be too much to fit
(doubtful nowadays with disks as large as they are).

OTOH if you have never carried out process "xyzzy" (and that
includes others apart from your good self who might read this
thread by accident), you can *start* with process "plugh".

Have I made myself perfectly clear? It was meant to be a
simple workaround.

We are on same page.

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

I'm extrapolating from comments made by Thomas Schmitt and others in
and around

What I've described is a workaround for restricting your
bandwidth usage. What you seem to be describing is expanding
the netinst ISO to make it more like a customised DVD1 ISO.

Yes to both ;)
The motivation of this thread was to run some tests before physical DVDs were available.

I a way I'm pursuing something whose initial phase might be thought of as a "customized DVD1 ISO". But this is a personal project that goes back to Stretch.

I can't see why anyone would follow you down this path
because they would first have to discover for themselves what
their own minimum package requirements were.

I've been pursuing that for years. It's a multi-pronged idea whose results others may find useful. I've quit trying to state my goals as I keep being told I don't want to do such-n-such. The loudest objections are to ideas that are highest on MY priority list ;/

It's much easier
to assume that a rational choice of packages for DVD1 has already
been made by the Debian team, and take the bandwidth hit.

The purpose of this is to test the _installation process_ itself.

What insights have your test results shown?

Haven't run them yet. Life intervenes even in retirement.