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So I've had some thoughts floating around for a while now and it basically comes from the question of 'why is Linux not used more?'. I think one answer is the ridiculous number of distributions that are all fundamentally the same.
But personally I cherish this and love distro hopping
Setting up is always hard for me because of my wireless card so I got the idea of a mini, live distribution which comes with a partitioning program and a huge number of networking drivers and easy setup scripts for them, to give a base for installing other distro's
Well at the moment I've been looking at Aufs and unionfs as the live distro could download an image of the installer file system (similar to puppy sfs files) and then just installing with that distro's installer and files but with the wireless all set up.
It could also provide an ideal platform for installing things like gentoo and Funtoo
I hope to be able to make a proof of concept as soon as possible, but ideas please?
One of the problems of that is, a distros respective Live CD is also kind of a test environment. With your method, I might get everything working to install, but what do I do when I have issues once the install is done? I just wasted time installing an OS that doesn't support all of my hardware out of the box. Maybe it's fixable, maybe not.
I understand the purpose of wanting to do something like that, but it makes more sense to use it for some of the "start from the beginning" type Linux distros. I use a Calculate Linux Live CD to install Gentoo. Much more convenient than using a Gentoo minimal install CD. Arch can be installed in somewhat the same say with a little more effort. But if I want to install Xubuntu for example, I want to know it works ahead of time before I waste 30 minutes to install it.
Does this not already exist? look at gentoo and LFS for example they both require you have a base (live or otherwise) system to install from. Debian and ubuntu have bootstrapping which is the same thing? You can install pretty much any distrobution using pretty much any other one as a starting point right? Could be wrong hopefully someone else can chip in
The problem with you approach is the amount of RAM needed. If you download an install CD for a distribution it has to fit completely in the RAM, since you are doing this on a Live system. That may be possible if you have enough RAM and only small installer CDs, but you will not be able to install a distribution on an PC with only 512MB of RAM, when the installer CD is sized (and many are) to fit perfectly on the CD (700MB).
the way both work is they have the kernel and initrd from many netinstall isos, so they dont use the iso or mount it, but use Kexec to boot the new kernel/initrd when you make your selection.
Netbootcd simply downloads the needed items while Billix I think has them onboard their iso.
Thus, they both use very little ram and both use CLI installers. I've used both and they work good, especially combined with multicd.sh
It matters what distro you want it based on?
As far as I know I am the only person that has Linux-Live that will make live-media from a Slackware 13.1/13.37 install?
If Ubuntu/Debian based you can use Remastersys, If ARCH you can use Larch or they have others too for ARCH I think...
The Gentoo minimal install disk already provides an ideal platform for installing Gentoo. (Including the partitioning tool, et cetera.)
Frankly, if I were you I'd start with simply creating the "huge number of (wireless) networking drivers and easy setup scripts for them". If you can accomplish that you will have earned your place in the open source hall of fame. Wireless support is a complex issue; e.g., some wireless cards require certain kernel sub-systems to be enabled, while others require that they be blacklisted. (IIRC, enabling b43 stuff requires a few other kernel components to be disabled, which are used by other drivers.) Then there is the whole issue of proprietary Windows drivers that must be wrapped by NDISwrapper. Are you going to take the legal risk of distributing copy-righted Windows drivers on a CD, or are you going to force this "mini-distro" to download them off the Internet (which of course requires networking to be available in the first place).
The biggest contribution you could make would be to write more open source wireless drivers which could easily be used by all distros.