sysinstall vs BSD Installer

Jona Joachim walkingshadow at
Sun Feb 18 22:19:41 UTC 2007

On Sun, 18 Feb 2007 11:27:06 -0800 (PST)
Nicole <blabgoo at> wrote:

> --- Jona Joachim <walkingshadow at> wrote:
> > Hi!
> > There has been a lot of discussion recently about whether
> > sysinstall should be replaced or not.
> > The purpose of sysinstall is to initially install FreeBSD and it
> > serves 
> > this purpose quite well. However sysinstall is also the first thing
> > a
> > 
> > new user gets to see of FreeBSD. People which are used to shiny
> > Linux
> > 
> > Live CDs with Framebuffer boot sequences and all the jewelry are
> > shoked 
> > when they are confronted with the ncurses interface and walk away
> > most 
> > of the time. This is a pity because you really use the installer
> > once
> > 
> > every couple of years and it says nothing about the OS.
> > Would it be worth considering to provide the BSD Installer [1] as
> > an alternate choice to sysinstall for a default FreeBSD
> > installation? I'm sure several people already thought of it and it
> > might be interesting to hear their conclusions.
> > 
> > Regards,
> > Jona
>  To me the whole issue boils down to flash vs substance.
>  (stands on soapbox)
>  If someone is building a server, they want something easy, simple,
> fast, and will work on any of the myriad of weak built-in video cards
> available...  or even via a serial port. The current installer is
> fine.

For those people sysinstall is perhaps already too shiny. They may want
a CLI installer.

>  Some, however, while building a workstation for X-windows etc. might
> expect something pretty, to belay the experience to come while running
> the the full X experience. They may want some flashiness and the
> appearence of something gee wiz and cool. "Is this what I am giving up
> windows for?"
>  But, you cannot please everyone. However, I believe that if people
> get past the "where's my gee wiz flashy installer" they will enjoy the
> ncurses elegant simplicity. FreeBSD, to me, has always stood for
> stability, not flashiness. 

The BSD Installer comes with a backend library for which you can have
several frontends. There is a GUI and ncurses frontend ready to be
downloaded. People could choose what they prefer. As for the disk space
needed it should be manageable because the FreesBIE project is already
providing ISOs with this installer.

>  Of course elegant simplicity is not what the internet is about these
> days is it? We now even have advertisements that flash and spin and
> now even play video at us! So why can't they make an installer do the
> same thing? 

It's not about the Internet, really. You don't have to install Flash.
As for animated SVGs, I love them ;) Advertisements are annoying, also
in the "real world".
The installer shouldn't "flash and spin". It should be usable and

>  Just like with the barrage of annoying adverts these days, just
> because something can be done, doesn't mean its the right thing to
> do. 

I didn't say that, I just asked for opinions.
At least one document which is distributed with every official FreeBSD
copy states that "sysinstall is semi-officially at its End-Of-Life" [1].
I don't think the BSD Installer would be a bad alternative, it looks
clean, usable, not too flashy and has already been ported to FBSD. I
wanted to know what the leaders of the project envisioned for the



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