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Re: System installation from a USB stick

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Re: System installation from a USB stick
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2014 00:22:31 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.130009 (Ma Gnus v0.9) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)


I’ve uploaded a USB installation image for x86_64 for testing:
  SHA1: d36e70d25b81b734fa9558a5446fabb96489ec3b
  (100 MiB)

It works like this:

  1. Run ‘xz -d gnu-usb-install-20140629.x86_64.xz’.

  2. Copy it as is to a USB stick that of 1GiB or more:
       dd if=gnu-usb-install-20140629.x86_64 of=/dev/sdX
     where sdX is the device corresponding to the USB stick.

Then you can boot on the USB stick.  There’s a bit of documentation on
tty2, but it lacks what follows.  ;-)

To install the system, you would:

  1. Configure the network, by running ‘dhclient eth0’ for instance.
     Normally udev automatically loads device drivers (e.g., my laptop
     uses e1000e for Ethernet), but since it’s a small config kernel, it
     may miss drivers for your system, in which case you’re screwed.

  2. Partition, format etc. the target drive; the image includes Parted,
     fdisk, and e2fsprogs.

  3. Write an OS configuration file, say, config.scm (the image only has
     GNU Zile as the editor.)  A minimal config looks like this:

       (use-modules (gnu) (gnu system grub))

         (host-name "foo")
         (timezone "Europe/Paris")
         (locale "en_US.UTF-8")
         (bootloader (grub-configuration (device "/dev/sdX")))
           (list (file-system
                   (device "/dev/sdX1")
                   (mount-point "/")
                   (type "ext4")))))

   4. Mount the target root file system as /mnt, say.

   5. Run ‘guix system init config.scm /mnt’ (add ‘--no-grub’ if you
      don’t want to install GRUB.)

   6. Unmount /mnt, reboot, and cross fingers.

There are various limitations, so be indulgent.  Notably, the kernel has
few drivers.  The image is insanely big due to
<>.  Swap partitions, dm-crypt’d devices aren’t
supported yet.

Still, I would very much like feedback about actual attempts to use
that, about the general procedure, or anything else.

The image was built with

  guix system disk-image gnu/system/install.scm --image-size=800MiB

as of commit 1ddbd9f.


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