sysinstall as a post-install tool

Ron McDowell rcm at
Wed Jan 4 03:27:11 UTC 2012

Devin Teske wrote:
> On Jan 3, 2012, at 6:57 PM, Eitan Adler wrote:
>> On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 9:50 PM, Ron McDowell <rcm at 
>> <mailto:rcm at>> wrote:
>>> I [Ron] just added myself to the sysinstall list.
>> Good
>>> What I envision is a text based system administration suite that will
>>> [hopefully] do everything that the "Configure" option on the top 
>>> level of
>>> the sysinstall menu does.  I see it as being part of the base OS, 
>>> such that
>>> once one has rebooted from HD after the install and logged in as 
>>> root [or
>>> user+su], a menu can be brought up by entering "sysadmin" or such.  Does
>>> "sysadmin" work for a name?  I kinda like it.
>> Do you plan on this tool being run "late in the game" after the system
>> has been used for a while or this is a "welcome new user" only tool?
>>> I plan on basically going through the sysinstall post-configuration 
>>> menu:
>> [snip configure menu]
>> Do you plan on making this a C based program or a shell script?
> If he plans on making it sh(1) based, then I wonder if he would be 
> interested in starting with host-setup as a very solid and robust 
> substrate.
> I was just about to start building the port Makefile and getting 
> host-setup to fill this exact need.
> We @vicor have been working on this exact thing for years now.
> I feel that it would be a *very* simple task to add the remaining 
> [missing] menu items considering how hard it was to simply get this far.
> host-setup ... (we can change the name; I'll have to sleep on 
> "sysadmin" -- leaning more toward perhaps "sysconfig" ... it's the 
> logical name considering we're taking the "Config[uration]" menu from 
> "sys[install]", so the name ought to perhaps be "sysconfig") ... is a 
> multi-thousand-line shell script that uses a very full-proof approach 
> to solving the problem. It's unbreakable in its current form and has 
> undergone hundreds of hours of testing (it's current version is 4.0.1).
> Oh, and it's BSD Licensed.
> Oh, and it's FreeBSD specific (originally works on both Linux and 
> FreeBSD, but we've stripped the Linux stuff to make it FreeBSD-clean).
>>> and as close as reasonable, stick to the same task flow.  I plan on 
>>> writing
>>> it against 10-current and look at back-porting to 9 after it's somewhat
>>> stable.
> If you use host-setup as a substrate, it works on FreeBSD-4.x up to 
> 10-CURRENT (tested 4.8, 4.11, 8.1, 9-CURRENT and 10-CURRENT).
>> I'd like to work with you on this, especially w.r.t to ensuring that
>> it meets the requirements for entering the base system.
> I too would like to work with you on this, regardless of language used 
> or whether you use host-setup as a substrate or not.
> We also maintain a custom version of sysinstall in-house. So we're 
> intimately involved with all of the code.
>>> One new, important, and not-so-difficult task will be: on exiting, 
>>> check the
>>> sanity of /etc/rc.conf and complain if needed, but allow the user to
>>> override the safety-switch if foot-shooting is really requested.  :) 
>>>  I'm a
>>> firm believer of not disallowing anything.
>> Good on both counts.
> host-setup actually leverages the power and safety of my sysrc(8) 
> utility (just added to ports tree as sysutils/sysrc).
> In fact, sysrc was written as a test-script solely to feed back into 
> host-setup so that we could replace sysinstall's Configure menu. We're 
> just not there with all the menu items (but we've got the most 
> important ones -- IMHO -- and made them rock-stable).
> -- 
> Devin
> Links:
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Devin, thanks, this looks very intriguing, pulling it down now.  And 
sysconfig is a good name, better than sysadmin.

Ron McDowell
San Antonio TX

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