Subject: Re: A positive comment about 1.3 Sysinst
To: Tim Rightnour <>
From: Jonathan Stone <jonathan@DSG.Stanford.EDU>
List: current-users
Date: 01/19/1998 12:36:01
[redirected from port-i386 since sysinst is used on other ports]

>I would just like to say I finally overcame (partially) My fear of upgrade and
>took the plunge on 1.3 install.  (its the plunge because I have no !@#$ backup
>devices <shiver>)

>I found the sysinst system very easy to use as far as the upgrade was
>concerned.  A few problems caused me to have to repeat things. (ran out of
>space, clean some up, try again, complain about pre-existing mounts)  But alot
>of it was easily solved by just rebooting and trying again. 


>I think there are some error conditions it could recover from nicer, and it
>could use alot of prettying up (tends to overwrite words on the screen, leave
>letters floating around, etc) but I was quite pleased with it.  

I noticed a lot of this too. Unfortunately, sysinst uses regular
commands to do much of its work (mounting filesystems, unpacking
tarsets).  Experience with sysinst during the BETA showed that many of
these utilities do quite poorly at reporting errors via exit status
(e.g, when mounting already-mounted filesystems errors or on failure
to find or unpack tarballs).

In short, these utilities seem designed for humans to use, and aren't
as friendy to being invoked by other programs.  It just wasn't posible
to change these utilities for sysinst's benefit during the BETA stage.

The best thing is if you send a separate PR for each (and every)
failure condition that sysinst doesn't handle gracefully, like
  * trying to remount already-mounted filesystems
  * not unmounting sysinst-mounted filesystems when an upgrade/install is
  * not noticing overfull filesystems,

etc, etc.  Sysinst detects and handles these as best we can, but it's
always good to have a list of more things to improve.

>Bravo to the
>sysinst team on finally coming up with a nice way to do things.  I can't
>comment yet on how it will do on an INSTALL.. but the upgrade was lovely.

Thanks on behalf of Phil Nelson (who may not read port-i386) and the
rest of us.  BTW, I don't know about i386, but on other ports
sysinst's menu-driven disklabel editing and sanity checks should make
even more of a difference to full INSTALLs than it does with upgrades.