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To: gentoo-desktop-research@g.o
From: Jeremy Maitin-Shepard <jbms@g.o>
Subject: Re: Gentoo installer project
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 01:07:48 -0500
Scott Koch <scootersmk@...> writes:

>> [snip: no all or nothing installer]

>> Also, with a good modular design we can add piece by piece what we think to be
>> necessary, and in the other places the installer would just tell the user
>> things out of the install howto or not even that. That way we avoid overdoing
>> it - writing things our audience doesn't really need.

A possible way to support this would be to separate the
single-user/``desktop user'' installer into a number of executables
which automate or help the user perform a single step.  This executables
could possibly be simple front-ends for libraries, some of which are
also used in other installer configurations, such as the enterprise
environment installer.

Then the user can simply run the program to complete a given step, and
these `helper' programs can be mentioned in the installation
documentation, as is ufed and mirrorselect (IIRC).

The primary issue that I see with this approach is that it might be
desirable for the user, even in a non-scripted (i.e. non-enterprise
environment) install, to be able to enter all information at the
beginning of the process, and then leave the machine unattended during
the remainder of the installation.  One key issue to deal with will be
avoiding problems with config file updating, since there is no easy way
to automate etc-update, but doing so is critical to automated
installation, and more importantly, maintenance of a large number of
Gentoo machines.

> This is the style of installer that would be the best match for Gentoo(quoted
> above).  I think it would be a big mistake to stray far from the current
> process.  As far as I am concerned the console/ split-screen installer is a
> must.

This is supported by screen.  (The installation documentation could
recommend the use of screen)

> Our main concern should be getting the user comfortable with the current
> install process, instead of changing the installer to better fit the user.  The
> new installer needs consist of various add-ons (to the current process) to make
> the user more comfortable ("Holding their hand and walking them through") with
> the install process.

If this is the only purpose for the single-user (``desktop user'')
installer (as opposed to enterprise-environment deployment), it seems
that the documentation serves this purpose already in fact.  A few more
tools, such as ufed, could be helpful, but I have a hard time thinking
of many which are actually needed.  (A network configuration tool could
be useful, but then again, it is quite easy to edit /etc/conf.d/net with
a text editor, and copying /etc/init.d/net.eth0, even for a novice user,
and clearly editing text files as simple as /etc/conf.d/net will be a
necessary task for any GNU/Linux system administrator, or even a
non-system-administrator user.)

> [snip: must not hide anything]

> [snip: installer deciding factor]

-- 
Jeremy Maitin-Shepard
Attachment:
pgppZkVYx0loj.pgp (PGP signature)
References:
Gentoo installer project
-- Eric Sammer
Re: Gentoo installer project
-- foser
Re: Gentoo installer project
-- Dan Armak
Re: Gentoo installer project
-- Scott Koch
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Updated Jun 17, 2009

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