Change in behaviour of livecd-tools: Testing required

Ankur Sinha sanjay.ankur at
Thu Apr 19 07:21:59 UTC 2012

Hi folks,

There has been a change in the way livecd-iso-to-disk works when using a
DVD image. In the past, you had to have one bootable partition on the
USB media you chose to use, and livecd-iso-to-disk would use it to set
up the media. It would copy the required files and the ISO image to this
partition that the user specified. 

Due to some changes in anaconda in F17, anaconda can no longer read the
ISO from the same partition. Therefore, upstream has made changes to
livecd-iso-to-disk. It is now necessary to use the --format option while
creating USB media from DVD ISO images. This *formats* the *entire* USB
media (don't use a HDD you use for backups!) and creates two partitions:
"LIVE" and "LIVE-REPO". The ISO image is copied to the "LIVE-REPO"

The earlier command was:
$ livecd-iso-to-disk <path to iso> /dev/sdb1 #(the attachment point of
the *partition*)

The new command is:
$ livecd-iso-to-disk --format --reset-mbr <path to iso> /dev/sdb #(the
attachment point of the *device*)

I personally feel this is a usability failure, as it restricts the usage
of USB media for installation. One will now have to keep aside a special
USB stick for installations. One cannot use one partition from an
already in-use external HDD. I've filed a bug here[1] as a proposed

In the mean time, livecd-tools needs testing. I've updated the docs on
how to use it[2], but there are areas in there that I'm not well versed
with, such as the part about the media not being bootable, and the use
of "askmethod". I do not know if this method works for boot and netinst
ISO images either since I don't use them regularly. I'm not even sure if
--reset-mbr is necessary.

I'd be grateful if you folks could please test this method of
installation, and file relevant bugs, or update the documentation as

I'd like to stress why it is imperative to test this. Since the
documentation was not up to date, users didn't use the --format option.
This resulted in *no* DVD ISO image being copied at all (It got copied
to / instead, something upstream has fixed now). Therefore, after the
disk partitioning step in anaconda (after it wipes the drives you
select), users were completely caught off-guard when Anaconda popped up
saying, "I need network to continue installation. I can't find any
packages to install on this USB media!". Since the disks had been wiped,
no OS remained, broken system, clear usability #fail. (I was fortunate
enough to have another system to burn a DVD off of, but I personally
know folks who don't have DVD drives in their systems any more, and were
without working systems for a while.)


Ankur: "FranciscoD"

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