Fedora netboot images improvements

“Withdrew” means, it is no longer part of the Fedora documentation.
You still get it, if you select a no longer supported release. Some
of the docs team proposed to deleted it completely. I was in favor to
keep it for historical reason. But maybe it is better, indeed, to
remove it completely. The installation guide you find for release 36
is actually already completely outdated for that release, as well as
for even older releases.

I did not select any release. When the linked documentation[1] didn’t
contain the information regarding partitioning scheme, I did a simple
search and the sites I linked came up.

If it’s all that outdated and no longer relevant, then, yes, I would
suggest deleting it. I’d rather not find that information and ask in the
appropriate channels, than search turning up outdated, irrelevant docs.

And regarding the Workstation docs: It is the decision of Workstation
WG to keep it that way. If I remember the discussion correctly, the
idea is that this is quite sufficient for a graphical OS. I don’t
know if anyone is working on extending the doc. You should ask
Workstation WG on their channel and maybe suggest what you think is
missing.

Well, I think it leaves a lot to be desired. For instance it doesn’t
take you through the installation process. And, no, that’s not self
explanatory. Certainly not for new users coming to Fedora. Maybe the
online documentation in the installer has that information. I haven’t
used that.

But I understand this is not the right place to discuss this further.

[quote=“Penguinpee, post:14, topic:82283, username:gui1ty”] As I
mentioned already, the Server netinstall ISO has everything on board
to configure and install Fedora to one’s liking. Users need only be
made aware of the fact that if they desire the default Workstation
partition scheme, they have to configure that using custom
partitioning. [/quote]

“only”, nicely put. There is a lot to do and even more to know. And
the idea with edition-specific ISOs is to make the process as quick
and straightforward as possible for the system administrator. In this
respect, you can technically install anything with the server ISO,
but that is exactly not the objective at all. And in this sense it is
“wrong”

Can you elaborate on “a lot to do and even more to know”, please?

A system administrator in my vocabulary, is an advanced and
knowledgeable user. One who doesn’t faint from going into custom
partitioning and selecting a different scheme. From a system
administrator I would expect some knowledge about partitioning and being
able to make a suitable choice, Especially if that choice is well
documented/explained.

If you want a simple, straightforward installation, grab the Live ISO of
the flavor of your choice. There you get everything pre-cooked. Pop it
in the microwave, heat it up and enjoy your plat du jour of Fedora.
:plate_with_cutlery:


  1. linked from the download/info pages of Server ↩︎

I agree wholeheartedly. I had argued for this in the discussion at the time and also offered to write such a guidance. And also something like “Looking around – First steps with Fedora”. I worry that with the current situation, some people will abandon the installation in frustration and silently turn to something else. It would be helpful if you could share your opinion with the Working Group.

Practically, however, prior knowledge is very different. And we also want to provide the best possible support for those who want to concentrate more on
use of the system and who tend to do system administration on the side because there is no specialist available. And it is also helpful for the specialist if they have to edit as little as possible themselves. Therefore, I think the plan to replace the server ISO on the alt.fp.o page with everything is the best solution.

I agree wholeheartedly. I had argued for this in the discussion at
the time and also offered to write such a guidance. And also
something like “Looking around – First steps with Fedora”. I worry
that with the current situation, some people will abandon the
installation in frustration and silently turn to something else. It
would be helpful if you could share your opinion with the Working
Group.

Right. And this where Matt Discourse Moderator (@mattdm
:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) comes in with his pair of wire cutters
and splits this discussion into a new topic.

Practically, however, prior knowledge is very different. And we also
want to provide the best possible support for those who want to
concentrate more on use of the system and who tend to do system
administration on the side because there is no specialist available.
And it is also helpful for the specialist if they have to edit as
little as possible themselves.

I see your point and I think we are on the same page. And, as I
mentioned several times now, for these types of users I’d recommend
using a Live ISO.

Using a netinstall ISO is for advanced users. I wouldn’t label it
experts only as is done now for Everything.

Therefore, I think the plan to replace the server ISO on the alt.fp.o page with everything is the best solution.

It’s a band-aid solution. It will stop the bleeding, which is good. But
if we keep cutting ourselves, we should look at why do we keep cutting
ourselves and take measures there instead of applying more band-aid.

My proposal still stands: With slight modifications to the
installer we can have a unified netinstall ISO that allows you to
install whatever flavor (edition) of Fedora you desire, on the crockery
(partitioning scheme) and with the ingredients (packages) you select.
All served fresh (latest updates)!

It will be for advanced users, but that’s already the case with any of
the netinst ISOs right now.

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Why is it a band-aid solution? You can install everything with it.

You can already do that, using different set of packages, but besides the different default values. But as far as I know, the latter wouldn’t be a ‘slight’ modification.

It’s a band-aid, because it hides one netinstall ISO in favor of
another, while both are suitable for installing whatever flavor. They
only differ in the preset partitioning scheme, as far as I can tell.

It’s a band-aid solution to the proposal I made. Why not have one
netinstall ISO, that is suitable for both: Server and Workstation?

No, that’s not correct. There are hidden changes as well. For example if you use inst.profile=fedora-workstation (there used to be a Workstation netinst in the past, but it’s no longer built) when booting any netinst, some installation dialogs are hidden, and your GRUB is configured to be hidden by default. See here and here.

If you want to step up and implement some improvements, you probably first want to talk to Anaconda developers and Releng. If it seems doable, and you’re able to make it happen, or you’ve found volunteers to make it happen, please propose a Fedora Change and the benefits and disadvantages will get discussed in a broad audience.

2 Likes

Thank you for the information.

I’m aware that any change proposal requires some formalities. But even
with the hidden differences, I still think it’s worth exploring the
feasibility of a unified netinstall ISO.

I will look into Anaconda and familiarize myself with how it works. From
the two config files you pointed to, it looks like there are
possibilities. Of course, I have yet to fully understand what parameters
like profile_id or default_environment do and if they can be set
dynamically.

If there’s a universal netinst (personally I think that would be great), I think it would make most sense to present one more initial Anaconda screen (probably after language selection), which would allow you to pick the defaults for your use case (Server, Workstation, KDE, generic, etc) interactively. After that you’d get into the Anaconda main hub, with all the settings updated according to your picked profile. But I guess that would be quite a lot of work. Also, Anaconda is currently being rewritten as a web app. But maybe this is also the best opportunity to suggest or help implement this change.

1 Like

That was my thinking is as well. I’m not sure how fine grained that list of choices will need to be. But we already know that we need to distinguish between at least Server and Workstation for the partitioning scheme.

Another idea, that’s floating in my my mind, is changing the settings according to chosen Base Environment. However, that probably has its own challenges, like needing to configure the network first when installing using a wifi network.

I’ll keep an open mind.

Good point. I shall float my idea among the Anaconda developers. Let’s see what they think. They probably have a good view on how much work that would involve as well.

It’s interesting to see this discussion here.

I have used the current Everything installer for Fedora 38 Workstation and it worked great, but I wasn’t planning on changing much.

I have also used the UBlue.it ISO install for trialling a customised Silverblue experience on an older laptop.

I recently tried using image builder to make a new ISO for network installs, and ran into bug with it not supplying a valid kickstart file, leading to having to manually select all the options in Anaconda anyway.
I opened a ticket for that Add support for using custom kickstart file for Anaconda · Issue #3416 · osbuild/osbuild-composer · GitHub
See also: Kickstart insufficient when booting iso · Issue #2255 · osbuild/osbuild-composer · GitHub

Whether it ends up using image builder, kickstart, or ignition file, install improvements could help a lot of use cases.

Thanks for that info. I’m planning on updating this topic as I make
progress. But I have yet to start. Any kind of input feedback is welcome.

1 Like

Please point me in the direction of the interactive TUI. I would very much like to try that route given the trouble I am having with gnome-kiosk right now.

I’ve often wondered why users desiring a headless version must battle a graphical installer first. At least, users should be able to chose between a GUI and a TUI when booting the installer. The TUI could act as a fallback when the GUI fails.

Boot with inst.text and you should get it.

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Well, my only thought is: why images size matters so much if you’re going to pull all the packages from internet? I mean, you’re doing a netinst, it’s presumable that you’re going to install in a fast stable connection. If it’s about updated package, you can use a respin. I honestly don’t think people burn CDs anymore