Ubuntu’s live CD installer, Ubiquity, needs to suppress desktop automounting while it’s doing partitioning and generally messing about with mount points, otherwise its temporary mount points end up busy on unmount due to some smart-arse desktop component that decides to open a window for it.

To date, it employs the following methods, each of which was sufficient at the time:

  • Set the /desktop/gnome/volume_manager/automount_drives and /desktop/gnome/volume_manager/automount_media gconf keys to false.
  • Tell kded to unload its medianotifier module, and load it again just before the installer exits.
  • Set the /apps/nautilus/desktop/volumes_visible gconf key to false.
  • Set the AutomountDrives and AutomountMedia keys in $HOME/.config/Thunar/volmanrc to FALSE.
  • Set the /apps/nautilus/preferences/media_automount and /apps/nautilus/preferences/media_automount_open gconf keys to false.
  • The entire installer is run under hal-lock --interface org.freedesktop.Hal.Device.Storage --exclusive.
  • Set the /apps/nautilus/preferences/media_autorun_never gconf key to true (experimental, but apparently now required since nautilus uses the gio volume monitor).

This is getting ridiculous. Dear desktop implementors: please pick a configuration mechanism and stick to it, and provide backward compatibility if you can’t. This is not a rocket-science concept.

I rather liked the hal-lock mechanism; it was simple and involved minimal fuss. I had hoped that it might end up as a standard, but I guess that would be too easy.