why BSDs got no love

Randi Harper randi at freebsd.org
Wed Dec 23 16:59:55 UTC 2009

On Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 8:53 AM, Tony Theodore <tonyt at logyst.com> wrote:
>>>> > 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?

Yeah... I know what vi *is*. I don't see how it's relevant as an
installation option. And by the way, you do edit the install.cfg file
by hand. We don't have a handy tool to automagically create one of
these as far as I know. You know what options are possible by looking
at the sysinstall man page, looking at the example install.cfg file,
or reading sysinstall.h.

> 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.

I'm shooting it down as in "I am not doing this" because I'm currently
the person working on sysinstall. ;)

-- randi

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