On Tuesday 09 January 2007 08:21, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Tore Lund" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> Sent: Sunday, January 07, 2007 3:45 PM
> Subject: Re: Why is sysinstall considered end-of-life?
> > Robert Huff wrote:
> > > (Personally, I think there are also points where the correct user
> > > behavior is not intuitively obvious.)
> >
> > An understatement.  There are situations where sysinstall is positively
> > quixotic.  I don't mind the simple character-based interface.  But I do
> > find it worrying that I sometimes cannot know what sysinstall will do
> > next.  In any case, this is bad publicity for FreeBSD since sysinstall
> > is the first bit of FreeBSD they encounter.
> All of this is true.
> > Time and again we hear rumors about a new installation program.  Is it
> > actually nearing completion?  Keep in mind that many of us do not even
> > consider getting involved as long as we believe a better program is
> > under way.
> There is no new installation program underway.
> This comes up every year or so on the various discussion lists, everyone
> bashes sysinstall and claims it makes FreeBSD look bad and when are
> we going to get a replacement, etc.  The arguments die away when faced
> with the following cold realities:
> 1) You can probably get consensus from everyone that sysinstall is ugly
> and needs replacement.  But your never going to get any consensus on
> what the replaement should look like.  And any replacement is going to
> have places where the user cannot know what it's going to do next, that
> is just the nature of install programs - it is due to the fact that
> different people
> interpret things differently.  What is obvious to you isn't obvious to
> someone
> else.  And, when is the install program going to cross the line between
> acting as a install program and acting as a training video?
> Review the steps needed to install a self-signed SSL certificate into
> Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, and then come back and tell me that
> those steps are more intuitive than sysinstall.  Yeah, right.  Face the
> facts, boys.  Every year, computers get more complex to operate, and
> every year, the Average User is paying more and more to have a tech
> set the computer up for them.  Open your eyes and look around.  People
> think nothing of paying $30 to have a tech install Microsoft Office on
> their new Windows PC for God's sake.
> Who really is sysinstall's audience?  The average l-user?  Or the average
> technician?  If it's the average tech, then who the hell cares how ugly
> sysinstall is?  You think sysinstall is bad, you ought to see the
> diagnostic interface
> the average auto mechanic has to use to troubleshoot your car.  If you are
> not the ultimate end-user for the FreeBSD system your installing, then
> you don't have any moral ground to make a call for pussifying the FreeBSD
> install program.  I can tell you that for myself, every FreeBSD system I've
> installed in the last year and a half has been for OTHERS to use, NOT ME.
> 2) There's an immense amount of effort that has gone into sysinstall and
> it's libraries.  Your talking about taking on an old, established program
> that
> is pretty throughly debugged, a program that is like an octopus in the
> amount of icky, ugly mucking around with config files and such that it
> does, and replacing this with a new program that is going to have all of
> the intelligence and institutional knowledge in it that the old program
> does. And furthermore if this replacement is to ever get traction among the
> userbase it's going to have to work PERFECTLY in the FIRST version that is
> released, otherwise everyone is just going to turn their back on it and
> keep using the existing sysinstall.
> 3) The largest complaint about sysinstall is that it's not graphical.  The
> problem is that a graphical installation program has some -severe-
> constraints on it.  First, it has to work in ALL instances.  That means,
> 640x480x16 colors VGA screen.  You have a lot of people out there
> installing on systems that have, for example, monitors with inadequate
> horizontal/vertical frequency ranges and very capabable video cards,
> unless you force the X-server to use the original VGA resolution, it's
> going to overdrive those monitors and the user is going to see a black
> screen when the installation program comes up.  And the only way FreeBSD
> is going to get a graphical anything is by using Xorg, and FreeBSD does
> not maintain that distribution - so we are now dependent on the Xorg
> group writing their code with no bugs for our installation program to work.
> 4) Installation programs by and large are not "fun" programs to work
> on.  Most developers avoid them.  They are thankless tasks - you
> don't hear squat for thanks from anyone when they work, but you make
> the least mistake and everyone is on your neck.
> 5) Finally, sysinstall is a one-shot program.  You use it once, the system
> is
> installed, and you never have to touch it again.  There's lots of other
> things
> in FreeBSD that are critical things that will stop an installation cold.
> Such
> as lack of device support for some new piece of hardware.  These things
> are much higher on the priority list than replacing sysinstall, a working
> program.
> Ted

Ok, but why not have the two ? Keep sysinstall text-based and have the 
possibility to have a (more) graphical install ? Desktopbsd and PC-bsd seem 
to manage it not so badly. That could keep everybody happy, from the tech 
installer to the curious newbie :-)

Just a thought...


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