WebInstaller (was: Re: ANNOUNCE: Custom GNOME-based FreeBSD iso released)

Tim Judd tajudd at gmail.com
Tue Jun 30 18:41:50 UTC 2009

On 6/30/09, Polytropon <freebsd at edvax.de> wrote:
> On Tue, 30 Jun 2009 09:45:32 -0600, Tim Judd <tajudd at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Earlier, I made hints at a webGUI install (the install medium would
>> boot into X, basic setup (VESA driver @1024x768, 24 [or 16bit]
>> depth)),
> Why not a choice, 800x600 for laptops with smaller screen (or
> in 16:9 format for "modern" laptops) - or try to autodetect what
> is REALLY on the screen (instead of assuming a "standard")?
> Just a polite idea.

A 800x600 resolution is just too crowded when you try to make a system
on it.  I think there's more 1024x768 resolutions than 800x600.  If
1024x768 doesn't work, we revert back to a console tty?  I have said
nothing firm as in "it's this way or no way"..  I'm just trying to see
reasonable defaults.

>> run firefox or another lightweight browser
> You're a funny guy. :-)
> When talking about lightweight browser in X, strangely "dillo" comes
> to my mind. Yes, I know, it's quite limited, but...

And I didn't mention dillo because I don't use it or have ever seen
it.  "lightweight" to me is lynx.  Standard is Opera, and
"commonplace" is Firefox.  I also have to take consideration for the
scripting (if any) the installer does has to be supported by the
javascript engine in the browser.  So the off-the-wall browsers who
aren't up with the rest of the big boys are likely to cause problems.
Again, ideas and suggestions all around.  Hrm..  maybe I should open
up a poll/voting website that would allow this.

>> (even lynx in the
>> console if X fails to start)
> Very good idea.
>> on it's own filesystem or over apache.
>> Once network configuration is done, you can pull the data sets for
>> your choice of WM from the internet.
> A kind of "preview screenshot" would be good - you know, users judge
> from first sight primarily. :-)

Nice point.  I'll have to think of a way to get this considered.  a
JPG would be nice, up until the X fails to start.  :D

I need input here:
  If said chosen WM is unsatisfactory to the user, how the heck can I
offer a reconfiguration window?  sysinstall was built with a different
mindset, so we can't easily use sysinstall.

  If we boot off CD, we run off CD and install base off CD and WM off
Internet.  Post install config would be what..  Internet web/gui
based?  that is, the REAL Internet?  Options, brainstorming please.

>> I think this has potential, and would offer making it (already started
>> on it), but I think my statements went on deaf ears when addressed to
>> the broad public.
> Hmmm... I don't think so. In my opinion, it's a very good idea.
> You're offering functionality (like "preinstalled and preconfigured")
> in a matter that only PC-BSD serves today, and for PC-BSD, you need
> quite modern hardware. It's not usable for older systems, and you
> know how fast today's systems are considered "older".

well, a project like SETI at home that compiles desktop environments that
stores on a central server is a dream in the works, will that work?  i
don't know enough programming to make that work.  :(

>> So I'll ask again if anyone else would be interested in this.
> Yes, if you include WindowMaker and support for a Sun keyboard. :-)
> No, honestly; as much as I think you are bringing a good idea into
> life, I prefer to completely install systems myself. The chance
> that anything that I do not need to be included is too high. Of
> course, you are aware that you cannot cater all kinds of intentions
> with only one solution, that's impossible. But as I said, that's
> only my own, unimportant point of view.

WindowMaker?  sure.  Sun keyboard?  no, absolutely not.  My way, or no way.  :D

what do you mean by "completely install systems myself"  -- that's
what you're doing.  You're installing a -RELEASE aren't you?  you're
installing a software kit that will eventually be referred to a
package once it's stored on your system...  Gets a big chunk out of
the way.

Personally, and this is for the archives, when I setup a box.  I like
it to be up quick.  install -RELEASE.  freebsd-update.  pkg_add -r
<packages>. port{upgrade,master}.  Now you have a functioning install
in less time than windows takes to install and update.  :D

>> The
>> advantage is that on this webGUI install, you can offer it (secured of
>> course) over the internet for someone more technical to do the install
>> or configuring, including the same post-install configuration that
>> sysinstall offers.
> This would be very interesting as long as it does not require too
> much additional services to be included and run.

http Basic authentication, maybe over a self-signed SSL connection.
It's not like a VPN, with certificates, blowfish encryption.  It's a
limited life system that needs to be as secure as long as it takes to

>> Anybody else think it's a good idea?
> At least an interesting idea, and this is what counts. "Good" is
> always defined from the viewer's site.

Very good point.  pun intended.

:)  your input is appreciated.  thanks.

> --
> Polytropon
> From Magdeburg, Germany
> Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
> Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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