Subject: Re: sysinst report [was: 1.3Beta]
To: None <current-users@NetBSD.ORG, port-i386@NetBSD.ORG>
From: David Jones <>
List: port-i386
Date: 12/04/1997 22:37:02
Jonathan Stone wrote:
| >I was sort of disappointed with the sysinit interface and think that
| >it needs a bunch of work to make it friendly/useable for niave users.
| >Some of these points have been raised earlier but are not yet fixed.
| >My comments (somewhat stream of consciousness) follow:

For the average user, I think that sysinst looks a lot nicer.  It just
has bugs, whereas the older install script has been shaken out.

| >1. The program name should be something more understandable
| >   than sysinst -- howabout install or menu_install and maybe
| >   the existing install can be install.old

Ummm.. when you boot the system, the message printed immediately before
the shell prompt tells you what to do.

BTW, the existing INSTALL document is erroneous in a number of respects;
when I upgrade my firewall I will try to list these.

| >3. When you net install, you should be allowed to not specify a
| >   nameserver or gateway.  Then you would use the ip addresses to
| >   ftp or nfs to.
| I'm surprised you'd want to type more addresses than necessary, but
| whatever.  How about we make it possible to enter for the
| gateway/DNS addresses, and let you enter dotted-quads at the other
| points?  Would that work, if it was documented?

I say, let the user not enter anything, then test the data set for sanity
after taking all the info.

I thought it was unnecessary for me to enter a default router, when I
am installing from my LAN.  Same problem; different form.

| This has been a *long-standing* problem.  I'm not sure how to bash on
| curses to get around it.  Perhaps Phil can look at it this weekend.

Curses is not the issue.  Getting proper messages to the user is.

1. Using the configuration info, try to ping the FTP or NFS server.
   If no response, get user to either re-enter the parameters, or
   continue (the server may be behind a firewall that blocks ping.)
2. If NFS, try to mount the filesystem, and provide good diagnostics.
3. Validate the paths, and maybe auto-correct them, if it is possible
   to identify the directory the user pointed you to in relation to
   the entire install tree.

I'm not looking for curses pyrotechnics.  A simple error message followed
by "Press Enter to continue" may look crude, but it is at least informative.