setup.exe - un-attended installation support

Duane Ellis
Tue Dec 13 17:19:00 GMT 2005

Christopher Faylor <> wrote on 
12/13/2005 10:40:24 AM:

> assuming that it was more than just frustrated venting about possible
> cockpit problems, in a perfect world, people who report bugs would also
> provide details about the bugs rather than just making assertions of
> problems:

Thanks for responding.

I think I worded my problem poorly.

I'm not reporting a bug. I'm asking for suggestions on how to solve 
a problem I have. My problems are simular to these SETUP wish list items:

*       Incremental/recoverable download capability.

*       Downloading from the internet should be _able_ to list 
        based on what is present in the cache, as opposed to what 
        is installed. (To help building a complete install set for
        a different machine).

*       Save all options.

If needed, I might be able to spend some time and may be able
to contribute a fix/enhancment to the setup.exe program that 
would help with these issues, and my issues. I don't know.

I build internal SDKs for people here to use [I support multiple 
development sites world wide], it is my responsiblity to make sure 
these developers can use the packages that I produce with little 
error or problems.

The SDKs I produce are non-trivial - the Binary releases tend to be
around 200MEG to 300MEG, they include multiple scripts, source code
cross compilers, debuggers, etc.

The problem is I support the "pilots with cockpit problems" and I'm 
trying to make it easier for them *not* to crash their development 
airplanes. These pilots of course like to say it another way:
My instructions are lacking :-)

> - What packages were missing?
> - What was the "wrong version" installed and what was the mechanism via
> which a wrong version was installed?  Was it specifically selected?
> - What newer versions caused problems and what were the problems?
> - What package was not present on a mirror?

It's more of this:
   By default - CYGWIN installs some "core" set of features.

In order to use the SDKS that I produce, our developers need to 
install the CYGWIN CORE - that part is easy!

But - I also need "the pilots with cockpit problems" to install 
around 20 to 30 additional CYGWIN packages that my SDK packages 
require in addition to the core set.

I don't know of a reliable way to get CYGWIN installed the way
I need it installed {on other machines} for these reasons:

a) Cockpit Error - Clicking on the wrong thing - etc.
        I wish "setup.exe" would read a script I could supply.
        This way the development sites I support don't have
        cockpit problems.

b) External Network Connections Go Down - in mid setup.
        Sometimes - the mirror you started with times out.
        Sometimes - there are too many connections.
        Sometimes - your connection to the internet has problems.

        Like it or not, I have to deal with this issues.

        The solution I have always found that always works is 
        to supply either a CD image with all the files on it
        or host the data on a local internal mirror server.

c) At some point - if you must stop and restart the installation 
        Network stopped responding.

        Laptop battery died

        You picked too much stuff to install
                your hard disk is full.

        You have to go home, and setup is only 25% complete 
                after 3 hours.

        I found this setup WISH LIST item sort of funny:
                "Some way to download *all* the source."
                I have people who do that by accident.

d) Sometimes - not always - a new CYGWIN package is introduced
        and I have to fix my stuff. And I don't have the time
        to right now... but due to various other package 
        dependancies I am pushed into a corner.

There is no way to tell SETUP.EXE to re-use the same set of 
options I choose last time - and continue where it left off.

It is at times, an iterative process :-( with mixed results.

CYGWIN is like the Debian network install. Works great, if that
is what you want.

If you compare this process to a Linux (from CD install) Linux 
is very simple - (a) get a big enough hard disk, (b) select 
install everything and (c) feed it CD-ROMS until it is done.

It's not easy to do that with CYGWIN. Or perhaps its not clear
to me how to do exactly that with CYGWIN.


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