Anyone else who's done a lot of debugging discovered that they've nearly memorized the OS install routine?

Over the past four or five days, I’ve installed Lubuntu so many times that it’s gotten to the point that I can speedrun through the installer to set up a new system. Double-click installer, press Next, Next, Next, Erase Disk, Next, User, Tab, Tab, z, check autologin, Next, Next, Install now, wait ten or fifteen minutes, Done. The whole process probably takes less than 17 minutes all told when you take into account ISO bootup time and hammering through the installer. Used to be I was scared of messing something up and would carefully progress through each step, taking a deep breath and double- or triple-checking everything before confirming that I really wanted to install my OS of choice. Now deploying a new installation is easier than installing an Android app.

I’m not sure memorizing the keystrokes is great for QA.

I don’t think those who do it regularly, can prevent themselves from learning it though, and if I’m going to knock off a few installs on our testing checklist in a day, it’s pretty much guaranteed I’ll be in ‘automatic’ mode on most installs, but I try and ensure I’m slow & careful on at least one.

I see a lot of support posts (askubu, UF, etc) with users bring tripped up regularly on installs, and I generally try and pretend I’m that user (or my interpretation of the skill level I read in their support post) during a QA-test install maybe once a week (when I’m doing QA; ie. closer to release time). It’s how you can discover some ditherer types of bugs, which seem to exist in all installers (it’s well known in ubiquity), and even if the bugs are never fully prevented, those bug reports come in handy so I can recognize when I see a user reporting issues in support, or in a filed bug.

I have systems that contain some of my own data (focal & jammy now) that I don’t perform upgrades on, but will re-install the OS as part of QA (install using existing partition type of install) ~weekly which achieves a system package upgrade, and validates the installer & daily is all good for what will now be 20.04.5 & 22.04.1 daily ISOs currently. My manually installed packages I’ll check get auto-reinstalled, my data remains etc. As those are installs I’m doing regularly, it’s hard not to flip into automatic mode for them, but they are on systems I value, and contain data I don’t wish to lose (unlike other boxes I only use in QA where I can be less careful) which can help, but yeah being automatic is harder to prevent.


That makes sense. 98% of my installs were into VMs for doing BTRFS debugging and trying out random junk to see if it worked or not, so I couldn’t care less about the data on those “machines”. But yeah, on a machine I really care about, it would be important to be slow and careful.

You’re thing about “dithering” makes good sense. The other day, I got Calamares to crash by starting in American English, getting to the Partitions screen, telling it “No swap”, leaving it for a long time doing something else, then going back several steps to change to German, selected a German keyboard layout, then on the Partitions screen, changed the setting to create a swapfile. Boom, window vanished. I never could replicate the error, but it was interesting the one time it happened.

I’ll definitely use your advice. If I’m going to be doing alpha and beta testing, it’s going to be important that I do it right. Thank you!


When testing, I try extra hard to not be on autopilot. It’s a meticulous thing and you need to notice even the slightest difference. It may not be important, but you need to notice it.