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First off, no Windows is involved, and no, it's not UEFI.
I have 6 different flavors of Linux running on this old laptop, one of those distros is the only one I trust to manage the bootloader, I don't need a new bootloader I'll go in an add Ubuntu manually after install.

Calamares is an awesome installer that gives you the choice to not install a bootloader, that appears to be absent in the Ubuntu installer, I looked everywhere, but I couldn't find it. Surely you can install Ubuntu without a bootloader. No, I'm not going to back up the MBR and reinstall it etc.

So my questions are:

  1. Is there a proper linux way to start the installer with a command line that does this?
  2. Or, until a fix is available, should I just install the darn thing in the Ubuntu partition?
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    Lubuntu uses Calamares (after 18.04 anyway), and uses more than just ubiquity & calamares too. Ubuntu allows the use of lilo as a boot-loader, and yes installing without grub; though which release/ISO/version you are using does influence what options are available and how presented. You haven't said which release, which version (server, desktop, alternate ...) etc. help.ubuntu.com/lts/installation-guide/amd64/ch05s01.html (I've assumed amd64) – guiverc Sep 1 at 23:14
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    @guiverc Would you be willing to post that (or something like it) as an answer? – Eliah Kagan Sep 2 at 2:31
  • See: askubuntu.com/questions/838450/… you can install without grub with just sudo ubiquity -b from live installer in live mode. – oldfred Sep 2 at 3:35
  • That's helpful. Yes its amd64, installing the plain 19.04 desktop. That link does have some suggestions such as installing the bootloader in a different location I think I'll try putting it on the same partition as Ubuntu, that will be handy if I have to cut and paste grub configs for booting Ubuntu into the other grub.cfg. If that doesn't work I'll try Lubuntu. – Garrett Sep 2 at 3:41
  • code ubiquity --no-bootloader Worked. No bootloader pull down menu was offered, and it didn't install a bootloader anywhere. Posting this from the new install now. – Garrett Sep 2 at 11:39
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Ubuntu is available in many forms (including flavors), and does include ISOs that use as the main installer

  • Ubiquity
  • Calamares
  • Subiquity

and more (eg. netboot), but which release you are using, plus ISO you download will dictate which installer is included. Most common is Ubiquity, however as you mention Calamares; it's used by Lubuntu since 18.10. You didn't specify a release or ISO tried.

Ubuntu can also install

  • using grub
  • using lilo
  • without boot loader

but your architecture also influences the best option for you. You specified neither release nor architecture, so I'll assume amd64 & provide a link to one of the installation guides (there are many such guides to, suited for different needs)

https://help.ubuntu.com/lts/installation-guide/amd64/

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