DragonFly BSD
DragonFly kernel List (threaded) for 2004-03
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Re: Daemon's Advocate article

From: Robert Garrett <rg70@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 02 Mar 2004 00:15:26 -0600

Can't agree more. Too many things are just too inappropriate/needlessly complex. Once something stupid becomes part of the OS, it's very hard to change it later. Actually forget everything I wrote, afterall worse is better!

Much has been said about the ineffectiveness of the FreeBSD installer, Matt, this code doesnt work, and prlly never will again.. what are the
chances that we can go ahead and get rid of the old sysinstall directory, and libdisk.

Design of a replacement is underway, there are people involved on many levels. However it has been my experience that I can talk about, and try to share my ideas for what it should be, and this will lead to a bikeshed, complete with fairings for the damn bikeshed.

So rather than talk i've been writing design documents, and working with
people to try to get a temporary fix in place. This is just a curses based fdisk to attempt to make it easier for someone who may not know how to fdisk, disklabel, and newfs there own partitions. To date Emiel Kollof is working on that.

Now as to the wording of the questions we need answered, and what questions we have to ask, vs what a user might like to tune is a different issue. At this point I am pretty comfortable with what I am doing in the back end of the configuration management piece of the installer. It is very modular, and easily expandable meeting the needs of those involved with the package management project, as well as installation.

The overall goals of the installer, are broad and sweeping as is everything else with dragonfly, this is not somthing that could be written in a weekend by anybody. As to the design pieces of this have been floating around in my mind for several years. However other pieces just hadn't clicked together to form the whole picture of what needs to happen.

Now that we are through discussing that yes sysinstall sucks, and yes jkh didn't write the most wonderfull UI, and the libraries used are pushed to beyond the limits of what they are capable of, lets call it a page in history and move on.

The question then becomes what does the new installer need to be.. what do I want it to be.. what does someone like my wife who has no clue about unix, Hell i'm not sure she could install windows sometimes.. need it to be so she can use it.

I am a sysadmin.. I have had the responsibility of running a decent number of FreeBSD systems, and found there is no good way of dealing with Configuration Management issues, The installer knows how to configure things, and it should be able to be used to handle this task after installation is complete.. It should also be capable of maintaning configurations for more than itself, this to me includes DragonFlyBSD systems, Linux, Net, Open, FreeBSD, and hell I could see a cisco module being written for the design I have chosen. Basically what I am saying is for this task we need a powerfull mechanism, jumpstart capable, with highly configurable installs.

My wife, well she wouldn't.. however, what she needs is a pre configured , automated install with reasonable defaults, and a friendly way to tweak things once everything is up and running. She is actually a lot simpler to please than I am. Her whole installation is a preconfigured automated install. Which I just so happen to need so I can build firewalls, and webservers, and so on.. without intervention from me.

There are several pieces of this whole puzzle..d

The first Matt so graciously provided, that is the live boot cd.
The next thing is we need to handle the disk layout and copy the bare
minimum from the cd, your smallest install. The user would then reboot into the newly created system. At this point I have to ask them a question X or console. Now from here on things are pretty simple..
we install if desired the rest of the base system, cp X and cvsup if so desired.. and start tweaking things into a runnable configuration.

the question is what do we want it to look like...
what I am working on can be many things.. and easily..
I can provide a web based interface, console would connect to a thttpd server running on localhost via links or another browser..
I can use anygui to provide nice graphical output or curses to handle console.. NONE of this matters to the backend..
It isn't dependant on anything.. one python class would need to be written to provide that functionality.

so all of you wonderfull people how should we phrase our questions to make things easiest for both us, and people new to dfly both enjoy, and successfully install this system?

Robert Garrett

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