[Sugar-devel] easier installation of soas

Sascha Silbe sascha-ml-ui-sugar-devel at silbe.org
Sun Mar 1 16:21:05 EST 2009

On Sun, Mar 01, 2009 at 03:30:00PM -0500, Eben Eliason wrote:

> 1) Download the SoaS file for [windows] [linux] or [mac]
> 2) Plug in a USB drive that's 1GB or larger
> 3) Click the thing that's named/looks-like 'X' to make your Sugarstick

Part 3 is the interesting one. To make a USB stick bootable, raw disk 
access is required. Unfortunately, under Linux (*) regular users don't 
have that access, only root.

Option 1: Start the installer as root
Requires the user either to login as root (discouraged) or to start a 
shell and use sudo/su/whatever. Even if some desktop systems have the 
ability to do it graphically (don't know), not all do, so we cannot rely 
on that.

Option 2: Acquire root privileges within the installer
Requires the user to enter the root password into a prompt (TUI or GUI) 
provided by (a process started by) the installer. Very bad from a 
security education perspective.

The underlying problem is that on Linux, users normally don't have 
direct access to removable media, only indirectly via mount (which is 
setuid). Other operating systems (e.g. FreeBSD) handle this better. 
Unfortunately, we can't fix it and have to cope with it.

(*) I'm only talking about Linux (or most POSIX systems) because I don't 
know enough about Windows.

CU Sascha

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