Subject: Re: Graphical Sysinst in 2.0
To: None <>
From: Bill Studenmund <>
List: current-users
Date: 09/07/2004 14:08:47
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On Sat, Sep 04, 2004 at 10:37:45PM +0800, wrote:
> Quoting Richard Rauch <>:=20
> >    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 w=
> might be sufficient.  But anyway...

Something along the lines of either what Fedora does (the boot loader=20
says, "type this to start a graphical install" and "type this to start a=20
text-based install") or a text-based one that has an option to start a=20
graphical install.

> >  * 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 sa=
> 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.)

That's fair. You might speak with dsl as I think he's been fussing with=20
sysinst quite a lot of late.

> 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,=
> tried every system under the Sun in the past 10 years and left disillusio=
> every time.  I have finally found a cozy little home with NetBSD.

I hope things work out. I did NOT enjoy my unemployment stint.

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

I think the above requirement is true of any installer. :-)

> >       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 everyt=
> written in portable C, and maybe a juicy, fancy curses sysinst for i386 a=
> PowerPC?  Maybe.

We have a curses interface for every port right now, so I think you can=20
assume that as a baseline. I think a plain-old-text interface might=20
actually be less useful; both curses and X can cope with multiple lists of=
choices at once while plain-old-text might not do that so well.

> I really don't think it matters (graphical vs. text).  It's how intuitive=
> easy it is to use, how quick it is, and how

I agree with the above, and I think for some folks graphical is better=20
than text, and for some text is better.

> what-you-expect-to-get-is-what-you-get that counts.  When I install just =
> base sets, I want just the base sets.  No KDE thanks.  No games, no usele=
> garbage.  No illogical dependencies like Palm Pilot or PCMCIA stuff when =
I have
> no Palm Pilot nor do I use a laptop.

Well, you've now wandered into system configuration and syspkg and an=20
integrated OS + pkgsrc install. I think there are a number of choices we'd=
need to make before we get there. :-)

> >    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 =3D=3D easy".
> I agree.  Graphical is not necessarily easy.
> =20
> >       Maybe I've missed it, but what is the real gain from a
> >       graphical install?
> It's more impressive than a text based interface.=20

And for some folks, it may work better. :-)

Take care,


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