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I have an older machine onto which I'd like to install XUbuntu 12.04 32bit desktop. I have prepared the CD, and can boot from it, but the graphical installer is slow to the point of uselessness while running from CD. I do want to install xfce, I just want to avoid the graphical installer.

Wifi coverage appears to be poor in this location and moving the machine is impractical, so I'd like to install as much as possible from CD and get a desktop up and running, see if it will be usable when running from HD, test wifi, and iron out connectivity later, which rules out the network install suggested in this answer

Is there a way to boot from the Xubuntu CD but bypass the graphical installer? If not, is there a way to improve performance of the CD installer, perhaps by creating a tmp swap partition on an HD, or by copying the CD to an HD to run from there? The target machine has two smallish (60-80GB) HDDs with no data to be retained; I can repartition as needed.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

The desktop CD doesn't come set up to use the text-based installer. The text-based installer is provided by the debian-installer package, but installing or adding that package to a desktop CD will not make it possible to install that way without substantial additional modifications.

This is because the graphical installer (Ubiquity) works primarily by copying the contents of the live CD's own squashfs image to disk, while the text-based installer works by chrooting into a bootstrapped minimal system and installing each package. These are fundamentally different approaches to designing an OS installer. (The "graphical" way requires a big squashfs image that takes up most of the CD. The "text-based" way requires lots of individual .deb package files that take up most of the CD.)

Therefore, you should use the Xubuntu 12.04 Alternate CD instead. This provides the text-based installer you want. 12.04 is the last version of Ubuntu (and its derivatives, like Xubuntu) to have an Alternate CD, so you wouldn't be able to install a later version from an Alternate CD. But this will work for 12.04 and earlier.

The current point release for 12.04 is 12.04.2; you should use that to install, or you'll install a very large number of old packages that will immediately need updating.

ISO images for Xubuntu 12.04.2 are located in:

For your convenience, here are some links:

If you prefer, these are listed on the Xubuntu download page too.

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Thank you for the detailed explanation. You anticipated several followup questions I had as well. This is exactly the kind of answer that makes the stack exchange network so useful. I'd upvote your answer again if I could. –  Jason Clark Apr 6 '13 at 18:42
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Bear in mind that 12.04.x is the last version to have an alternate install disc built. Those were not built for 12.10 and will not be built going forward. –  Stephen Michael Kellat Apr 17 '13 at 5:13

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