Friday, February 28, 2014

Installing Ubuntu via the Internet using a small USB stick

I needed to install Ubuntu on a new computer that had no operating system on it, and my older, available Windows system does not have a reliable DVD burner. Further, the only USB stick I could find in the house is small - 512MB. No problem, I thought - I used to do network installs of Linux all the time. How hard could it be?

WOW - really hard! These days there seems to be an assumption that everyone is able to download a 2GB iso and burn it to either a DVD or a largish USB stick.

Eventually, though,  I found what I needed:

  • A "mini ISO" for Ubuntu. This is a very small bootable image with just enough bits to be able to run a network install, and...
  • The "LinuxLive" USB creator (aka "lili"), which creates a bootable image of an ISO on a USB stick.
Once I had these, all I had to do was run lili, "burn" the mini ISO to the USB stick, and boot the sucker. I was now in what felt like a late-1990s-era text-mode Linux installer. Hooray!