sysinstall, GJOURNAL and ZFS
dan.naumov at gmail.com
Fri Jun 12 22:07:41 UTC 2009
As promised, I took a go at this new BSDInstaller, I wrote down some
of my thoughts. Since I don't know if this is the kind of feedback you
are looking for, here is just a part of it. As you can probably guess
from it, I deal with usability issues in software applications a lot,
hence my point of view, but obviously I can find my way around a UNIX
without much issues.
FreeBSD-20090608-1522-8.0-CURRENT image was used:
The boot goes as planned, but the user is dropped off to a login
prompt. There is no direct indication for the user regarding how to
proceed. Adding a note just before the login prompt saying something
like "login as "root" with an empty password" would be nice. Again, as
soon the user does log on, there is no indication as to how to launch
the actual installer. This, as well as the previous problem could be
solved by presenting the user with a simple menu screen, like this:
Welcome to FreeBSD, choose your option:
1: Launch the FreeBSD installer
2: Drop to an emergency rescue shell
This would eleminate the actual need to log in as well, we could just
autologin as root for both options.
Initial options in the actual installer:
<Change Video Font> option: the names in a long list don't actually
tell the user anything regarding how does any of the fonts look. Would
it be possible to have a small sample preview next to each presented
<Change Screen Map> option: again, the screen map options do not
really explain the user what he should be choosing. A short
description of every option is needed at the very least.
<Change Keymap> option: ditto, same thing.
Another approach to this altogether could be a serious of questions
like: "What country do you live in? What language is your keyboard?"
providing multiple options for an answer for each question. After a
series of questions, the installer could just automatically pick up
most sane defaults based on the answers given by the user and finally
ask "Does the fonts on the screen look alright to you? Try typing in
here, do the expect characters appear as they should?" and if the user
is unsatisfied, he can be dropped to the kinds of a big selection list
which is used by the installer right now.
<Select Kernel Module to Load: Again, each option needs at least a
short description, a lot of the kernel module names are cryptic and a
new user cannot be reasonably expected to evaluate and make an
informed decision regarding what he does want and what he doesn't
based on a simple file list of the modules.
<Begin Installation> screen: The screen states that in order to do a
manual installation "<SNIP> login as root, and follow the instructions
given in the file /README". There is no indication regarding how the
user is supposed to open the README file, at least ONE sane option
should be suggested (for example: login as root and type "vi README"
at the command prompt to read the instructions regarding installing
If you would like me to continue, please let me know.
- Dan Naumov
On Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 7:58 PM, Scott Ullrich<sullrich at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 11:50 AM, Vincent Hoffman<vince at unsane.co.uk> wrote:
>> That said, there have been a few projects to update/replace/whatever
>> sysinstall, look at the desktopBSD installer (bsdinstaller) and
>> finstall. I'm not sure what the status of either of these 2 are though.
> I was holding off on announcing this publicly but I guess now is a good time.
> Currently we are building FreeBSD-CURRENT + BSDInstaller snapshots
> every 12 hours or so at:
> More information about BSDInstaller / FreeBSD integration is located
> here: http://wiki.freebsd.org/FreeBSD/BSDInstaller2009
> If folks would like to help out with the remaining needed items that
> would be awesome.
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