Install Ubuntu with access to GRUB only

在 BIOS 被鎖住、沒有光碟機也無法從 USB 開機的情況下安裝 Ubuntu Linux 的方法。


The following method is what I work out when installing Ubuntu on a computer with following constraint:

  • BIOS is locked, so no booting from CD-ROM nor external USB drives, or
  • the CD-ROM drive itself is absent, and you don’t have a USB drive at hand.


  • Network access.
  • Target computer need to have GRUB already on board with access to it (It’s possible to install it from Windows/DOS but please have the files ready before you reboot.)
  • Access to boot partition (try recovery mode, i.e. append the word “single” after current kernel; if successful you can work directly from there)

In short, we would like to drop two files into the boot partition, and ask GRUB to boot it. After that the partition itself can be safely wipe out since files is used only in booting process.


  1. Boot the machine
  2. Grab (wget) Miniual CD and Alternative Installer CD iso images
  3. Mount each of them, i.e. mount -o loop blah.iso /tmp/iso
  4. Copy /tmp/iso/initrd.gz from mini.iso to /boot/mini
  5. Copy /tmp/iso/installer/vmlinuz from alternative.iso to /boot/mini
  6. Reboot the machine, press Esc to enter grub boot menu.
  7. Press e to edit one of the entries
  8. Press e to edit the line begin with the word “kernel”. Change the kernel to /boot/mini/vmlinuz. Remove all kernel options.
  9. Press e to edit the line begin with the word “initrd”. Change the initrd image path to /boot/mini/initrd.gz
  10. Press b to boot.
  11. You should see Minimal Installer shows up. Minimal Installer will ask you what favor of Ubuntu you would like.

Why it works?

  • We need GRUB because BIOS is locked.
  • We need vmlinuz kernel from alternative installer because GRUB cannot access iso directly and minimal iso image doesn’t comes with a kernel.
  • We need initrd.gz from minimal installer because the alternative installer one checks existance of alternative installer CD-ROM (and data integrity of it)

On the security aspect, if you don’t want people tempering with your Linux box, lock BIOS, lock GRUB boot list, remove pre-installed single user boot menu entries, and attach an actual lock on the machine case. But then you are solely responsible to remember all the passwords you have set; no one can save you (without breaking anything) if you forget the password.

That’s all. Have fun with it.

Rigged Game

“Of course the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you — if you don’t play, you can’t win.”

— Robert Heinlein

I don’t actually like this quote, yet I’d put this quote on my Facebook profile ever since I created it. It reminds me not to walk away even how painfully to me “the game” goes. It reminds me all the games I’d lost just because I refuse to participate.

Indeed, all the games are rigged in some way, because none of the rule implied, nor explicitly stated, are true. Rule of life is never defined as clearly as RFC,  Programming Specs, or W3C recommendations, so why bother implement them.

By the way, this post has a sequel, but I’d decided to keep it to myself (Ask me in person if you really want to know, and you don’t mind me whining).

這篇文章也有續集,但是不是我又有學長姐離開了。I don’t want to write it down since I will keep myself in the mood if I do. 可能寫個英文版吧。

Just suck it up. I’ll try. And maybe I would play these games well, someday.


Stellarium 0.10.1 與其他

Stellarium 出 0.10.1 了!這次把 0.10.0 beta 版的一堆 bug 修好,另外加上了很重要的兩個功能:

  • 全新的腳本 (script) 語言引擎,自動化控制 Stellarium 秀星空。
  • 單鍵自動下載安裝額外星表,快速將程式升級成最多兩億顆星星的星圖程式(當然,電腦的記憶體要足夠,但是已經有改善了。)

中文增強包的部份,剛剛也把對應的版本放上去了,版號設為 0.1.7。

來 review 一下這篇文章寫的事情後來做了多少:

  • 第一項:無效了,因為新功能。
  • 第二項:有輾轉聯絡到鹿林天文台林宏欽台長(感謝陳文屏老師),他很慷慨的把他以前做過的地景給了我,並囑咐非商業用途可以自由應用。全景是用首頁有貼的那些全景做的,所以沒有地平面以下的資訊。我有空會再放上來。
  • 第六項:業餘天文研討會我有去亂入一下,滿有趣的呢說。

就這樣囉,enjoy 閃亮亮的 Stellarium 新版吧~