why BSDs got no love

Tony Theodore tonyt at logyst.com
Wed Dec 23 16:53:02 UTC 2009

>>> > Perhaps the way to go is a common table of target defaults eg
>>> >        /usr/src/usr.sbin/sysinstall/install.cfg
>>> > Which could then be edited by all of
>>> >        Front end CLI           (*)
>>> >        Front end curses GUI    (*)
>>> >                (*)             Maybe these 2 alternatives should be
>>> >                                the first question the installer asks ?
>>> >        Front end X11 GUI (for later after main install complete
>>> >                                - Shudder, Not that I'd use it, but someone
>>> >                                  would probably want to write one).
>>> >        vi - for editing, & writing back to new boot media,
>>> >                to auto install on multiple identical new machines.
>>> I would sooner stab myself in the face.
>> Not obvious at all which your personal revulsion applies to
>>        CLI ? ncurses ? install.cfg ?, X11 ?, vi ?
> All of the above. The bug list for sysinstall is not small. Even if
> this wasn't the case, I'm not even going to work on introducing that
> many options and obfuscating the code that much more. The mere thought
> of the rewrite involved in adding that kind of support makes my head
> feel like the knife is already in place.

The idea is that it "simplifies" the code by making it more modular.
All the final "sysinstall" has to do is execute the specifics of
install.cfg. It's just a text file, anything can modify it - of
course, in a standardised way. The suggestion is to develop front-ends
that can generate/modify such a file which the installer back-end will
execute. Think of it as functional programming for installers - define
the installations options in a declarative way, and let the installer
take care of the rest.

Yes, trying to implement such a thing may drive you to stab yourself
in the face - you can do that with a toothpick, but the idea should
cause you to sharpen a different blade. No one is asking you to do it,
just think of some possibilities.

> The only support I've been *thinking* about adding is a simple CLI in
> addition to the existing libdialog (ncurses) install. This would still
> be a not insignificant modification, but there are issues that make
> using a libdialog based installer problematic on some displays. It's a
> fun idea to kick around, but it's not a priority.
> I don't even know what you mean by vi, but it sounds confusing and
> unnecessary. This is what install.cfg is for - so you can define the
> parameters of an installation beforehand.

vi is an arcane, obscure text editor that is used by alpha/uber-geeks
to modify *.cfg files ;) No one in their right mind would suggest the
possibility of manually editing a text file, let alone the sysinstall
.cfg file. Who knows what configuration options would be possible?

Having cli/X11/ncurses/text interfaces to install.cfg seems ideal to
me. The technical difficulty alone would in all likelihood ground it,
it doesn't need to be shot down.


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