When you say Rufus can boot "any" ISO" its not true. It can boot only a very limited set of selected by you and pre-analysed & pre-processed images.
No. That's what you don't understand.
Rufus should work with any
isolinux/syslinux and bootmgr based ISOs, whether they exist now or are created tomorrow.
The ISOs I list are the ones that I personally tested. But I don't have time to test them all. And every single time I mentioned the list I said it wasn't exhaustive, which means this is just a limited subset of all the ISOs I expect to work.
The only limitations are that:
- if isolinux/syslinux based, then the installation process should be USB aware, which most current Linux and other distro processes are
- because syslinux broke compatibility of some c32 modules between 4.0.x and some earlier versions, you may find some images where the graphic menu isn't displayed. But you can still very much get to select each menu option and boot them by pressing Tab, so it's more of an inconvenience than an actual failure to boot.
Adding extra image requires all the leg work from you, as with other images.
Not at all. Right now, you should be able pretty much any Linux distro and it should boot with Rufus. Why? Because I'm not aware of a Linux distro that doesn't use isolinux, and I made sure that isolinux support in Rufus was as generic as possible (which wasn't that hard, and especially didn't require to maintain a list of known distros). The only issue I had to fix for that was the disk-by-label option, which I think should be okay now. There are probably some ISOs out there that have additional quirks, but I genuinely expect the vast majority to boot fine, including, and this is the important part, future distros (that is, unless Syslinux breaks compatibility again, but I'm pretty sure they aren't going to do so without very careful consideration).
As to bootable ISOs that aren't bootmgr/isolinux based, which I estimate to be a minority, I am working on adding generic
XP PE support. After this is done, I believe Rufus will have covered the vast majority of bootable ISOs users may want to convert to bootable USB, and done so in the most generic manner I can think of.
So basically, what you're saying is: I already learned, how to extract ISOs, no way I will learn how to use G4D - that's way too much for me. Well, this is your choice. You wanted suggestions - you get ones, now its up to you whether ignore them or follow.
Not at all. I am saying that my process is good enough if not better than the G4D one, because it doesn't require one to maintain a list of compatible ISOs (which is costly, time consuming and requires users to update on regular basis), it also ensures that maximum reading speed is achieved during boot (because there's no extra emulation layer) and as far as I could so, it also means that I can keep the size small.
I still haven't seen any
convincing argument that a G4D approach was better.
You're unhappy that I didn't pick your favourite horse. Either deal with it, or show that it can actually win the race.
You can't speak as "mass user representative", because you're not - you represent only yourself, and with the same certainty one can claim, you have no idea what mass user wants.
I can't speak for them, but I damn sure can make an educated guess
, based on factors such as my experience in software development and support, as well as the target demographics of Windows usage, which aren't difficult to estimate. Given it's worldwide reach as the dominant OS, how many users of Windows do you think are power users? Considering that I see half of Rufus users being interested in Windows installation media and the other half in Linux or recovery, and even if Rufus users are only expected to be a small minority of all Windows users out there (and probably closer to power-users than regular joes), here is my estimate: 90% or Rufus users will not give a damn about multiboot or want to be faced with anything extra during the boot process. All they will want is their USB to boot with the media they selected, so that they can run whatever that media has to offer. And yes that will be a single media. Same goes for wanting the target to be formatted using a single partition.
There is genuine interest for people who never installed Linux before to give it a try (see the overall Ubuntu success). And as regular joes get access to more computers, their need to be able to run Windows installation images increases. There's also all the people who experience a problem, and are smart enough to google around to end up with an repair/recovery utility in the form of an ISO, that they would like to run on USB rather than optical.
Do these people want to have any idea that there is more to booting than just running a small utility like Rufus? I think not. And I am very confident that these people will make the majority of Rufus users, therefore the ones I need to cater for first and foremost.
Another thing is for sure: you are offered a pathway that enables mass users to grow.
Do you seriously want to posit that most people who want ISO -> USB want to become knowledgeable about the boot process? Occam's razor tells us that is someone wants to convert an ISO to USB, it's because they want to run that ISO content in a manner that is more convenient than from an optical drive, while still getting the exact same apparent behaviour.
Else, what you suggest would be akin to a Linux distro interrupting it's boot process with something like "Hey, I know you'd like to move on to installing this distribution, but wouldn't be interested to know how you actually managed to get there? It's a very interesting story. You see, in every computer there exists a BIOS, whose role is to..."
Doing so just wouldn't make any sense.
Just because you are interested in something doesn't mean that everybody else is, or wants to be. Anything that pertains to the boot process, that users would not have to deal with if simply popping an optical media in a DVD drive, and that can be hidden, should be hidden. And that's the approach that Rufus takes.
Referring to MS studies is also float - did you try to place any suggestions on MS feedback sites and then see them implemented? Their analysis accounts for user opinion in very last place.
How do you know that Microsoft places user opinion last? Maybe that's something that only developers would be familiar with, but have you taken a look at the MSDN documentation lately? People are encouraged to comment on the articles there and Microsoft welcomes it and makes it exceedingly easy to do so. I used that feature a couple of times myself, and found that my comments were reviewed properly (even as one of them turned out to be a report for a bug that didn't actually exist, which they could easily have ignored altogether). And like most companies producing software targeted at the mass market, they are known to run user panels when deciding on major UI features. Heck, they even provide a complete preview of their future OS months in advance, to anybody who wants to try it, and encourage feedback. I also recently contacted a Microsoft employee, as a complete outsider, which I knew was working on some USB features that were of interest to me, and was pleasantly surprised that, not only Microsoft was happy to engage in communication, but also actively asked for feedback through the project manager. Since I'm far from being happy with everything Microsoft does, I was almost annoyed that, when it came to this specific feature, I didn't have anything but positive to say...
Saying a user will be confused if needs to select an ISO to boot out of 3 added earlier - is laughable.
Then have a good laugh on me. But not at the expense of all the people in the world who use computers but aren't that knowledgeable about them. Maybe it's just me, but it's the vast majority of the people I meet.
As to why Grub4DOS developers don't generalize ISO boot, you gave the answer - its too diverse, and the distro versions change frequently. And there is only ONE active developer in G4D today (surprised?) who can work in Assembler
LOL. Is that supposed to impress me? I stopped tracking count of the assembly languages I can work with years ago. And I did some extensive work in some of them too... Heck, I'd deal with assembly all day long if I could, because this is where the most fun is to be had...
and tries to add extra features to this very restricted in size and reach in features program.
And that guy has my sympathies. I know what it's like.
So lets leave it "as is" - you do what is good for you
I'm fine with leaving it as is, but you're wrong with the last part. I do what I believe is best for users at large, not for me. That is and has always been my motto, and the main reason why I will often clash with people who I feel seem to place their own interests above what I estimate to be the interests of users at large.
and users will decide if your tool is right for them.
And I couldn't be more fine with that. That's also one of the reason I release everything I do as FOSS, because if anybody wants to produce a derivative with their own improvements, they can.
The more competition, the better, especially as, as demonstrated in this thread, not everybody wants the same features.
Good luck with your project!
Thanks. And good luck with your endeavours as well.