gcooper at FreeBSD.org
Sat Nov 6 04:48:29 UTC 2010
On Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 9:47 PM, Garrett Cooper <gcooper at freebsd.org> wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 9:16 PM, Josh Paetzel <jpaetzel at freebsd.org> wrote:
>> It's been incredibly busy for us in iXsystems land, with a lot of irons in the
>> One of the many things we've been working on is a new installer. Several
>> months ago pc-sysinstall was imported into HEAD from the PC-BSD project.
>> pc-sysinstall is a fine tool, and very useful as the backend for doing
>> scripted installs. If you're using scripted sysinstall I recommend you check
>> it out, it's a lot easier to use and configure than sysinstall, the
>> documentation is much better, and reasonable requests for functionality can
>> and will be brought in.
>> This is all fine and good, but without a front end to generate the config
>> files pc-sysinstall needs it's not much use to an end user for doing installs.
>> We (and by we I mean the forces at iXsystems) have been working on txt-
>> sysinstall, which is a front end for pc-sysinstall using curses and dialog to
>> generate a pc-sysinstall config file from user input. What we've encountered
>> is that doing disk configuration in dialog isn't possible, and we started down
>> the road of using curses....but we already have a curses and dialog based
>> installer, and wouldn't it be neat if we could use the disk configuration tool
>> we are writing for FreeNAS, too bad it's a web app.....
>> But if the installer just launched a web server.....
>> Ok, wait a minute, that couldn't work...how would you configure networking?
>> Oh wait, that's already solved in FreeNAS, before you access the system you
>> use a console/CLI app to configure the network. Ok, but people do installs
>> over serial ports....oh wait, you could run lynx from the console too...
>> We quickly realized that the objections we could come up with were easily
>> overcome, and the more we talked to people here at MeetBSD the more we
>> realized it was a viable (and good) idea. People quickly came up with
>> This gets us the best of both worlds. Want a super fancy GUI installer, just
>> hit the box with firefox or whatever from a full desktop, want a text
>> interface that's simple, need low bandwidth, running over a serial port, use
>> the embedded lynx browser. Installing in a remote vm/cloud, just configure
>> the ip and hit it with a browser (yes, we're dreaming up ways to do it over
>> ssl and such)
>> I'll do a better write-up very soon, I'm pretty tired now and have a long
>> weekend looming, but just wanted to get the word out.
>> Just to give credit where credit is due, this all started with Warner Losh
>> saying, "Can you listen to a crazy idea I had?" It didn't take long to
>> realize that it wasn't crazy, it was a stroke of genius.
>> Secondary props go to Philip Paeps and Kris Moore for implementation details,
>> Matt Olander for recognizing the benefits and approving the change in focus,
>> John Hixson for the priceless look on his face when he realized we were
>> serious about changing (He's done the bulk of the work on txt-sysinstall) the
>> random NetBSD user here at MeetBSD (sorry I don't know his name) who said it
>> was a horrible idea because it would "bloat the installer way too much" (I'm
>> still laughing at that, he was saying something about floppies too, I guess
>> we're locking out people using 386's or something.) and quite a few other
>> people who are too countless to mention but offered random advice or
> Just to add to that (because I do find it a novel idea), 1) how
> are you going to properly prevent man in the middle attacks (SSL, TLS,
> etc?), and 2) what webserver would you use?
> I bring up the former item because I wouldn't want my data going
> unencrypted across any wire, and what BSD compatible web servers did
> you guys have in store and who would maintain the server, and what
> kinds of vulnerabilities would you be introducing by adding a service
> which would be enabled by default at runtime?
Sorry -- missed the SSL note. Other questions still outstanding :).
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