Terry Lambert tlambert2 at
Fri Sep 19 04:15:04 PDT 2003

Paul Robinson wrote:
> Terry Lambert wrote:
> > I also think that this is 100% incompatible with installs onto
> > headless boxes with serial consoles, and that you can't really
> > reconcile the two approaches in the same distribution without
> > multiple installation disc's.  This means regular CD's and not
> > a DVD, or it means a seperate distribution from the WC CDROM
> > one.
> That's funny. Sun are able to do headless installs over an entire server
> room, AND have a graphical installer when you're sat in front of the
> box, and they don't need to have separate distribution CDs. It must be
> magic! :-)

I guess if you think "controlling the set of hardware you have to
consider" is "magic", then it's "magic".

For any given PC, however, FreeBSD can not know 100% reliably if
it is a headless machine or not, since the hardware implementation
is not uniform enough that this information can be obtained

Unlike Sun Hardware.

> > This is also not reconcilable with minimal installs, which do
> > not have the ability to run a big graphical app.
> Yup. Several months ago, my interest in installers piqued. I am now
> obsessed with them, because it also requires an understanding of upgrade
> processes, patching, the whole shebang. It's one of the few things the
> BSDs don't actually do particularly well - it works, but not
> brilliantly.


> Those who seek "a graphical installer" miss the point by miles.

Technically, this is the -advocacy list, not the -install list.  8-).

What this basically means is that we are interested in seeing
FreeBSD advocated, and one way to do this is to build up the
installed base in any way possible.

One of the ways to do *that* is to make it as painless as possible
to do an install for a first time user trying to get their feet
wet, and if you are one of those people, sysinstall is not your
friend, and it's not the face the project should be putting forward
to represent it.

In other words, sysinstall might be a nice person when you get
to know it, but it makes a *lousy* first impression.

> I now have hundreds of notes on this that I'm going to assemble
> into some sort of mini-paper and then a high-level functional design for
> the "perfect" installer. Then a roadmap for development, and then
> hopefully some devs who have more current experience of the scary coding
> required will get an interest. I know I've been saying this for months
> now, but really, you can expect to see something on that soon.

"Real Soon Now(tm)".  8-) 8-).

> I actually really like some aspects of the DragonFly plan. It has lots
> of faults, but it has that kind of weird Unixy feel by using existing
> tools combined in an interesting way. They plan to write the installer
> code in ultra-easy-to-change PHP4, serve it via Apache for remote
> network installs, and on the local console you just use links -g with
> your graphics guys just needing to edit HTML and GIFs. You then have an
> easily customisable, brandable installation system. It doesn't address
> the package management issues they want to, and I can see security
> problems from miles away, but it's innovative. It's certainly not
> something I've seen discussed elsewhere.
> Anyway, this is about to bikeshed. We can all see it. So let's stop now
> for a little bit. I promise within a month a mailing list away from here
> where you can rip this to shreds and bikeshed as much as you want. :-)

You may also want to move discussion to the -install list.

-- Terry

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