User friendly HDinstall

Forum: DSL Ideas and Suggestions
Topic: User friendly HDinstall
started by: friedgold

Posted by friedgold on June 05 2005,21:55
For my DSL remaster I felt the hdinstall script (/usr/sbin/dsl-hdinstall) wasn't particularly user friendly and so altered it to use dialog for user interaction. While it is still text based all questions are asked in the form of dialog boxes, menu choices etc and I feel this makes the hdinstall process clearer and easier to use.

I'd happily apply the same treatment to the DSL hdinstall script and post it here/send it to the developers if there is an interest in something like this for DSL.

Posted by cbagger01 on June 06 2005,03:14

DSL does not come with the dialog program.  Instead, it comes with an equivalent program called "whiptail".  Whiptail syntax is very similar to dialog, so it shouldn't be hard to convert it over from dialog.

Even if the developers are unsure to add it to the distro, you should post it here so that others may get some good ideas from the code.

Posted by friedgold on June 06 2005,15:09
Looks like I'm actually using whiptail already without realising it

ls -l /usr/bin/dialog
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root            8 May  9 09:09 /usr/bin/dialog -> whiptail

I'll try to post my script later today in the hope that its useful. I'll need to revert some changes I made specific to my remaster and give it a test.

Posted by friedgold on June 08 2005,14:15
As promised

Code Sample
# dsl-hdinstall
# stripped down - only en language version - based on:
#    knx-hdinstall 0.37 - 01/2003 Christian Perle <>
# Added mirror selection and ext3 by J.P Nimmo, aka SaidinUnleashed 1/2005
# Added dialog menus by Richard Osborne Jun 2005

export PATH


. /etc/init.d/dsl-functions

rm -f "$TMP"
exit 1


MESSAGE1="DSL hard drive installation. No responsibility for \
data loss or hardware damage! This script installs DSL onto your \
hard disk."
MESSAGE2="Enter the target partition (Example: hda2):"
MESSAGE3="There are two options for hard drive installation.
1. Standard install is to uncompress the existing system thereby \
retaining its small size.
2. Enhanced uses Standard plus expands the system by restoring \
orginal binaries and libraries. This option requires a working \
internet connecion."
MESSAGE4="Choose your install method:"
MESSAGE5="Choose your mirror"
MESSAGE6="Do you currently have a working internet connection?"
MESSAGE7="Do you wish to enable multi-user logins? If you say \
no here DSL will boot directly into X as the user dsl"
MESSAGE8="Choose your filesystem. Ext2 is recommended on slower machines"
MESSAGE9="Last change to exit before writing any changes to your hard drive. \
Do you wish to continue?"
MESSAGE10="Could not fetch the required files for the extended install at this \
time. Do you wish to continue with the standard install?"
MESSAGE11="Do you want to run mkliloboot in order to setup your bootloader?"
SUCCESS="DSL successfully installed"

if [ $UID != 0 ]; then
 echo "This script requires root privileges."

# Check if running from an already installed DSL

[ -e /KNOPPIX/bin/ash ] || { echo "Error: Can't find /KNOPPIX directory" 1>&2; bailout; }

umask 022
killall dhcpcd >/dev/null 2>&1
killall -9 pump >/dev/null 2>&1
killall automount >/dev/null 2>&1
swapoff -a >/dev/null 2>&1
while read x mnt x
 case "$mnt" in
      umount $mnt >/dev/null 2>&1
done < /proc/mounts

$DIALOG --msgbox "$MESSAGE1" 10 45

$DIALOG --inputbox "$MESSAGE2" 10 45 2>"$TMP" || bailout
FSCHOICE=$(cat "$TMP")
[ -z "$FSCHOICE" ] && { echo "No target chosen. The script will be terminated." 1>&2; bailout; }

DISK="$(echo $FSCHOICE | tr -d [0-9])"

$DIALOG --msgbox "$MESSAGE3" 15 45
$DIALOG --menu "$MESSAGE4" 10 45 0 "s" "Standard" "e" "Enhanced" 2>"$TMP" || bailout
if [ "$INSTALLTYPE" == "e" ]; then
 echo "${YELLOW}Proceeding with Enhanced installation...${NORMAL}"
 while read no mirror; do
   MIRRORS="$MIRRORS $no $mirror"
1 Belnet_HTTP_(Belgium)
2 Belnet_FTP_(Belgium)
3 Ibiblio_FTP_(USA)
4 Ibiblio_HTTP_(USA)
5 The_Geekery_HTTP
6 Tuwein_HTTP_(Austria)
7 Gulus_(Quebec,Canada)

 $DIALOG --menu "$MESSAGE5" 15 45 0 $MIRRORS 2>"$TMP" || bailout

 case "$MIRRORCHOICE" in
     MIRRORNAME="Belnet HTTP (Belgium)"
     MIRRORNAME="Belnet FTP (Belgium)"
     MIRRORNAME="Ibiblio FTP (USA)"
     MIRRORNAME="Ibiblio HTTP (USA)"
     MIRRORNAME="The Geekery HTTP"
     MIRRORNAME="Tuwein HTTP (Austria)"
     MIRRORNAME="Gulus (Quebec, Canada)"

 $DIALOG --yesno "$MESSAGE6" 10 45
 if [ "$?" != 0 ]; then
   echo "${RED}A working internet connection is required. The script will be terminated.${NORMAL}"
 echo "${YELLOW}Proceeding with Standard installation...${NORMAL}"

$DIALOG --yesno "$MESSAGE7" 10 45
if [ "$?" == 0 ]; then
 echo "${YELLOW}The system will boot directly into X as the user dsl.${NORMAL}"  

$DIALOG --menu "$MESSAGE8" 10 45 0 "ext2" "" "ext3" "" 2>"$TMP" || bailout
FSTYPE=$(cat $TMP)

$DIALOG --yesno "$MESSAGE9" 10 45
if [ "$?" != 0 ]; then
 echo "Aborted.."

echo "${BLUE}Creating filesystem $FSTYPE on $FSCHOICE...${NORMAL}"
sleep 2
dd if=/dev/zero of=$FSCHOICE bs=1k count=16 >/dev/null 2>&1
case "$FSTYPE" in
   mke2fs -F $FSCHOICE 2> "$TMP"
   mke2fs -Fj $FSCHOICE 2> "$TMP"
   mke2fs -Fj $FSCHOICE 2> "$TMP"

if [ "$?" != 0 ]; then
 echo "${RED}An error occurred while creating the filesystem.${NORMAL}"
 echo "Some messages from mkfs:"
 tail -8 "$TMP"

echo " ${BLUE}Copying files...${NORMAL}"
echo "Now copying system files from the CD to hard disk."
echo "This will take 2 to 10 minutes, depending on the hardware."

mkdir -p $TR >/dev/null 2>&1
mount -t "$FSTYPE" "$FSCHOICE" "$TR" 2> "$TMP"
if [ "$?" != 0 ]; then
 echo "${RED}An error occurred while mounting the root partition $FSCHOICE.${NORMAL}"
 echo "Some messages from mount:"
 tail -8 "$TMP"

echo "${BLUE}Now the root filesystem is filled with data...${NORMAL}"

tar -C /KNOPPIX -cf - . | tar -C $TR -xf -

if [ "$INSTALLTYPE" == "e" ]; then

 echo "${CYAN}Using mirror at ${GREEN}$MIRRORNAME${CYAN}.${NORMAL}"
 cd $TR
 wget $SELMIR
 if [ $? != 0 ]; then
   $DIALOG --yesno "$MESSAGE10" 10 45
   if [ "$?" != 0 ]; then
     echo  "Script aborted by user. Please try again later."
   tar -zxf gnu-utils.dsl
   rm -f gnu-utils.dsl

echo -ne "\007" >/dev/tty1; usleep 500000
echo -ne "\007" >/dev/tty1; usleep 500000
echo "${GREEN}The copying of system files has been completed.${NORMAL}"

if [ -f /etc/sysconfig/mouse ]; then
 x="`grep DEVICE= /etc/sysconfig/mouse`"
[ -z "$MOUSEDEV" ] && MOUSEDEV="psaux"
(cd $TR/dev; ln -sf $MOUSEDEV mouse; ln -sf sr0 cdrom)

cat <<\EOF >$TMP
cat /proc/modules | tac | grep -v '\[.*\]' |
while read mod x
 if [ $mod = apm ]; then
   echo "apm power_off=1" >>$TMP
   echo $mod >>$TMP
cp -f $TMP $TR/etc/modules

cat <<EOF >$TR/etc/fstab


case "$FSTYPE" in
 echo "$MOUNTPOINT  /  $FSTYPE  defaults  0  1" >>$TR/etc/fstab
 echo "$MOUNTPOINT  /  $FSTYPE  defaults,errors=remount-ro  0  1" >>$TR/etc/fstab
cat <<EOF >>$TR/etc/fstab
proc  /proc  proc  defaults  0  0
/dev/fd0  /floppy  vfat  defaults,user,noauto,showexec,umask=022  0  0
/dev/cdrom  /cdrom  iso9660  defaults,ro,user,noexec,noauto  0  0
rm -rf $TR/mnt
mkdir -p $TR/mnt
echo "# partitions found by dsl " >>$TR/etc/fstab
grep "^/dev/[hs]d.*/mnt/" /etc/fstab |
while read dev mnt x
 echo "#"$dev $mnt $x >>$TR/etc/fstab
 mkdir $TR/$mnt

echo "# remove comment(s) to enable DMA" >>$TR/etc/init.d/
if [ -f /proc/partitions ]; then
 while read x x x p x
   case "$p" in
       if [ "`cat /proc/ide/$p/media`" = "disk" ]; then
         echo "#/sbin/hdparm -qd1 /dev/$p" >>$TR/etc/init.d/
 done < /proc/partitions

cat <<EOF >$TR/etc/hosts box localhost

::1     ip6-localhost ip6-loopback
fe00::0 ip6-localnet
ff00::0 ip6-mcastprefix
ff02::1 ip6-allnodes
ff02::2 ip6-allrouters
ff02::3 ip6-allhosts
sleep 1
echo box > $TR/etc/hostname
echo box > $TR/etc/mailname

if [ "$MULTI" == "y" ]; then
 mv $TR/etc/inittab.multi $TR/etc/inittab

mkdir -p $TR/etc/sysconfig
cp -af /etc/sysconfig/i18n $TR/etc/sysconfig/

rm -rf $TR/tmp
mkdir $TR/tmp
chmod 1777 $TR/tmp

rm -f $TR/etc/mtab
touch $TR/etc/mtab

echo "Setting up /root/"
tar -C /etc/skel -cf - . | tar -C $TR/root -xf -
echo "Setting up /home/dsl/"
tar -C / -cf - /home/dsl | tar -C $TR -xf - >/dev/null 2>&1

mkdir $TR/mnt/floppy
mkdir $TR/mnt/hd

touch $TR/tmp/firstboot
chgrp staff $TR/opt
chmod g+w $TR/opt
echo "/sbin/syslogd" >> $TR/opt/
mkdir $TR/boot
if [ -f /cdrom/boot/isolinux/linux24 ]; then
  cp -f /cdrom/boot/isolinux/linux24 $TR/boot/linux24
  mkdir /mnt/bootimg
  mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/bootimg -t iso9660 -o ro
  cp -f /mnt/bootimg/boot/isolinux/linux24 $TR/boot/linux24
  umount /mnt/bootimg
chmod +rx $TR/dev/cdrom

for i in 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
 losetup -d /dev/loop$i >/dev/null 2>&1
umount $TR >/dev/null 2>&1

echo "${GREEN}The installation process is finished.${NORMAL}"
rm -f "$TMP"

$DIALOG --msgbox "$SUCCESS" 8 40
rm -f $TMP

$DIALOG --yesno "$MESSAGE11" 10 45
if [ "$?" == 0 ]; then
 /usr/bin/mkliloboot $FSCHOICE

exit 0

The main changes are
-Use of whiptail to get user input
-Installation messages defined at start of script for easier editing.
-wget's output is no longer redirected to /dev/null. This means you can see the progress meter for the download of gnu-utils.dsl when using extended install.

Posted by andrewphoto on June 09 2005,14:35
Friedgold. I think your idea, to make the hdinstall process clearer and easier, is a great idea.

Booting the cd is no sweat for a novice, but I do think that the current hdinstall is perhaps dubious for a total novice.

It was no sweat for me, but I am not totally green.

I remember a few years ago it took me two days to figure out I had to insert a / (mount point) when I first ever installed a Linux. I know 2 days sounds pathetic, but 1st time round it is totally alien, and there is presumption that people can get on the net 24/7. Not everybody in this world can jump onto the net in a flash and do the research, and all you've got is a cd-r and no instructions.

I guess revising hdinstall is negligible in terms of bytes yeah.
Best Wishes, andyp.

Posted by andrewphoto on June 09 2005,16:42
Ask a novice to choose between ext & ext3 and you'll get a blank, I think. What?

I might be completely wrong, but I have a thought in my head that 'journalized ext3,' is still in a 'development' stage, so I opt for ext2.

P.s., please, if possible, give 2 minutes to look at my question, "make command," posted in HowTo's.

Posted by andrewphoto on June 09 2005,17:42
Just thought I'd mention, I downloaded sysresccd (advice from Fedora Bible,) in order to use qt_parted.
I am not knocking sysresccd, but the qt_parted did not work.

I booted Gnoppix (I added "xmodule=fbdev fb1024x768," more or less, I doubt a complete novice could do that,) and in the end, I used Knoppix live CD.

I wasn't going to blow my money, and have to install Partition Magic, on Windows (like it's a program you use often.)

I was pleased with qt_parted on Knoppix live CD.

Posted by ke4nt1 on June 09 2005,19:25
The parted.dsl extension works the same way as qtparted,
without the fancy QT-GUI interface..

It will accomplish the same thing,
without needing to bootup knoppix.

< >


Posted by andrewphoto on June 10 2005,09:38
Good morning and Best Regards,

Posted by andrewphoto on June 11 2005,10:58
I read that Reiser is technically older than ext3, yet there are still bugs in it.
Posted by cbagger01 on June 11 2005,19:51
Reiser version 3.x is rock stable for me and has been used by many people for years. I have used it since 2002, and it was already "old" back then.

Reiser version 4.x is still developmental and I would not recommend it at this time.

In addition to stability, Reiser version 3.x is faster than EXT3.  In addition to regular read and write speed, you can unplug your Reiserfs computer (while it is still active) and reboot with a stable filesystem and a quick journal recovery.

The main advantage of EXT3 is that it is backwards compatible with EXT2 filesystem tools so it can be read by third party tools in other operating systems or rescue disks.

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