Subject: Re: Graphical Sysinst in 2.0
To: Richard Rauch <>
From: None <>
List: current-users
Date: 09/04/2004 22:37:45
Quoting Richard Rauch <>: 
>    I don't know how much that means for some archetectures.  Maybe
>    the XFree86 probing was not very portable.  (And it certainly
>    is not yet flawless.)  Still, this may be something of a background
>    issue.  Trying an automated X config, and bailing out if things go
>    bad, is one option.  It would require a user with enough knowledge
>    to kill X if X thought it was running but had screwed up something
>    in the display.

A message on the screen that says press ALT-CTRL-BACKSPACE if X gets it wrong
might be sufficient.  But anyway...
>  * To Bill, I think that developers are not voicing so many
>    opinions because those who want it know that they can work on
>    it.  Non-developers can't just vote with their development time
>    because they don't have any.  So instead, they make their opinions
>    known about what they do or don't think would make NetBSD better.

I'm already rewriting sysinst from scratch.  The only reason I haven't said
anything is because I'm a "newbie" and while I am no fsck'ing idiot, I can
appear to be sometimes, and I don't wish to be flamed or mocked.  (There's a
first time for everything.)

I've devoted myself to full time NetBSD development because I'm on the
unemployment scrap heap, no chance of affording a decent higher education,
perhaps better off dead, and may as well make the most of it.  :-)  Also, I've
tried every system under the Sun in the past 10 years and left disillusioned
every time.  I have finally found a cozy little home with NetBSD.

>    If the goal is to grow the NetBSD base rather than to serve the
>    NetBSD developers' own interests and needs, then it is also worth
>    considering the potential loss of current users (even if the loss
>    may be because some of the users are "elitist").

I've found much less elistism with NetBSD users/developers than with everything
else combined (Free/Open, Slackware Linux, etc, etc.)  Sometimes it got so bad
that I made myself look like a complete jerk by overreacting to rudeness and
elitism.  Anyway, after trashing partitions, struggling to do something as
simple as connecting to the Internet with a modem for many days and at my wit's
end, I'd just had enough...

>  * As the GNU/LINUX world partially moves to graphical installers,
>    we may see GNU/LINUX-escapees looking for graphical installers
>    as well as WIN32-escapees.  I think that some of this resentment
>    is really "I don't want a bunch of WIN32 users coming in and
>    asking why NetBSD isn't like WIN32.  Let's let GNU/LINUX be
>    their first experience with UNIX-like systems..."  But this
>    feature will relate to increasing numbers of potential GNU/LINUX
>    users.  (Maybe there are other aspects of the resentment, of
>    course.  Not to pass judgment on resentment of WIN32-escapees
>    as opposed to general new users.)

I'm an escapee of both GNU/Linux and Windows, although much more recently with
GNU/Linux than Windows.  I did not look for a graphical install, only a simple,
decent one that made sense.  After growing up on LBA and megabytes with DOS
partitions and Microsoft Windows, suddenly finding myself dealing with non-DOS
primary/ext partitions (i.e. disklabels) and heads and cylinders was NOT fun and
the weird fdisk interface made my head spin.

It just needs to be simple, understandable, and quick.  No dropping someone into
an illogical and contorted interface that sometimes has options or important
information flash past with no hope of retrieving it.  No gigabytes of useless
crap that I will never use or even know about.

>       Where would things stop?  Would we have a GUI tool for
>       configuring a kernel?  A GUI tool for adding and removing
>       users?  A GUI tool for packages?  Would these tools become
>       mainstream recommended ways to install/manage a system?
>       (Once *that* happens, I think that people stop worrying
>       so much about making it possible to get around without
>       the tools.  This is what Mandrake has done, I think.)

A sane, easy to use and quick plain-old-text console interface for everything
written in portable C, and maybe a juicy, fancy curses sysinst for i386 and
PowerPC?  Maybe.

I really don't think it matters (graphical vs. text).  It's how intuitive and
easy it is to use, how quick it is, and how
what-you-expect-to-get-is-what-you-get that counts.  When I install just the
base sets, I want just the base sets.  No KDE thanks.  No games, no useless
garbage.  No illogical dependencies like Palm Pilot or PCMCIA stuff when I have
no Palm Pilot nor do I use a laptop.
>    2) As you might infer from the above, I have reservations
>       about a graphical installer.  (^&  Aside from some of
>       the above, which may or may not happen, I do not find
>       the NetBSD sysinst hard to use (when it works correctly).
>       There seems to be some kind of presumed "graphical == easy".

I agree.  Graphical is not necessarily easy.
>       Maybe I've missed it, but what is the real gain from a
>       graphical install?

It's more impressive than a text based interface. 

Thanks for listening to a mere newbie.  :-)