Removal of sysinstall from HEAD and lack of a post-install configuration tool

Freddie Cash fjwcash at
Tue Jan 3 23:54:18 UTC 2012

Not directed to Doug in particular, just selected the first message to
reply to, to keep the depth of the thread from exploding.  :)

On Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 3:36 PM, Doug Barton <dougb at> wrote:
> The story so far ...
> sysinstall was removed from HEAD in October. I (and others) objected on
> the basis that at this time there is no replacement for the post-install
> configuration role that sysinstall played. More sysinstall components
> were then removed. Then the old version of libdialog (which sysinstall
> used) was removed. Thus at this point it's not possible to easily
> restore sysinstall.
> So my question is, how much do you care? Is lack of that functionality
> in HEAD something that we care about?

Unless someone is willing to put in the time and effort to fix
sysinstall such that it doesn't just spam settings to the end of the
rc.conf file, it should remain dead, gone, buried, expunged, etc.

While it may be nice for some users to have a pretty TUI to browse
through packages, or configure networking, or whatever, sysinstall
should not be it.

The number of times new users have screwed up their systems by using
sysinstall as a post-install configuration tool is too numerous to
count.  As a moderator on, the first thing I tell
new users is to forget sysinstall even exists once the OS is
It's not worth the headaches it will cause down the line.  And some of
those headaches are large indeed.

Plus, it doesn't support even half of the network configuration
features that rc.conf support.  Let alone the rest of stuff that can
go into rc.conf.  And it has no concept of rc.conf.local (which is
very useful for configuring multiple systems that share an rc.conf).

Instead of resurrecting this horrible tool, perhaps we should look at
Devin Teska's host-setup tool.  Or better documenting the standalone
parts of sysinstall like SADE.  Or even just improving the first-login
fortune entry to point to a couple of useful man pages to get people
started.  Or even writing a new "things to do once the OS is
installed" man page (similar to what OpenBSD has).

sysinstall has served its purpose; and long out-lived its usefulness.
It's time to let it out to pasture.  Please, let's leave it in the
attic where it belongs.

Freddie Cash
fjwcash at

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