Sorry about sysinstall.

John Baldwin jhb at
Thu Sep 18 10:11:13 PDT 2003

On 18-Sep-2003 Devon H. O'Dell wrote:
> Look, otherwise why don't we set up a freebsd-flames list? What we need 
> now is more productivity and less bitching/whining/moaning/etc. I'm sure 
> this has been said on numerous lists, numerous times.
> Whose idea was this? Can we get a more structured plan about:
> a) What the installation system would entail
> b) A mock-up of what it'd look like
> c) What packages would be installed for the desktop
> d) What desktop system would be 'supported' (personally, I like the 
> freedom to choose anyway, perhaps including screenshots of nicely 
> configured available WMs is something to do if we're going to *really* 
> *truly* do this)
> e) Other related miscellany

I've done a) and b) before FWIW, having written the beginnings of a
new installer using tvision.  I've also actively worked on sysinstall
and the release process for quite a while now, so I'm not a clueless
nut on this particular problem space.  To be honest, what we need is
a more flexible installation process that can be extended to possibly
have a graphical front end at some point in the future.  Something
kind of like libh but less ambitious (no new packaging system, no
packages for the base system) and done incrementally.  The basic
thing I think it needs is to have embedded scripting.  My personal
preference at the time is to use python and C++ because I am somewhat
familiar with those, but Tcl is another option as well.  I think the
first cut should basically just replace sysinstall's current
functionality with some python scripts and appropriate C++ bindings.
The next task would be to split sysinstall into sysinstall and
sysconfig.  Once that is done, then things can start getting more
fancy in several directions.

Having participated in libh in its early days, I must admit that
I am somewhat skeptical that a new installer will be functional
anytime soon.  Mostly b/c people want to rewrite it from scratch
each time rather than taking an incremental approach and the
project dies before it gets to a functional milestone.


John Baldwin <jhb at>  <><
"Power Users Use the Power to Serve!"  -

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