Subject: Installation docs (was: booting hard disk for pc164)
To: Darren Reed <>
From: Joerg Czeranski <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 08/09/1999 16:49:33
Darren Reed wrote:
> In some email I received from Ross Harvey, sie wrote:
> > > From: Darren Reed <>
> > >
> > > ok, so the install.txt file sucks, we all know that.
> > 
> > It does?  What can we do to improve it?
> I'll give you a clue.  Pretend you're a beginner and you want to
> install NetBSD.  Given that you've got the "INSTALL.txt", you've
> already retrieved the entire distribution.  Start reading.
> If you're a good reader, you might get to the instructions about
> installation within 5 minutes.  If you get fed up with the waffle
> at the start then you've realized what the first big problem is.
> Then actually try to follow the instructions given for installation,
> word by word and see just how well you do - don't do anything the
> installation document doesn't say (i.e. take in no prior knowledge
> which must of us have).

How does a human do that?  Ignore everything they already know?
I was a beginner of NetBSD when I installed 1.3.3 and it was easy.
Installing FreeBSD 2.1.5 (with the GUI tool) was _much_ more difficult
for me, but of course that was a PC, I don't expect anything to be
easy on a PC. ;-)

Maybe you should list all the things that you already knew and needed
to know for the installation, which aren't mentioned in INSTALL.txt

> btw, the above comments are necessarily specific to Alpha, I've noticed
> the same problem in other port INSTALL.txt files that I've had the
> misfortune of looking at.
> Darren

Regarding the SRM:
Maybe there should rather be a pointer to DEC's SRM documentation than
a copy of it in the INSTALL.txt.  If your box didn't ship with
documentation, complain to your vendor.  If you bought an OEM board
(I did twice), you should have read its documentation even before buying

SRMs for different boxes vary very much BTW.  Most of the newer ones
have a "help" command.

But I'm probably expecting too much for this decade. :-)

I don't mean to say that your comments are silly or that the INSTALL.txt
couldn't be improved (it certainly can).  I just don't think it makes
sense to expect that a PC dummy with only Windows experience will have
an easy time installing NetBSD/alpha.