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Installation Program Suggestion

I just sent the following suggestion to RedHat, and felt I should spread
the idea around.

I keep seeing people comment on the RedHat install process.  Personally,
I savor text-mode apps because I'm old fashioned and like the simplicity
(funny, I'm only 25 years old).  Anyway, Netscape's Gecko release
(skinny browser, fits on a floppy) makes my idea more feasible.

So here's the idea.  Make the installation html-based.  Use some kind of
skinny browser for navigation of "installation web pages".  Pages with
tons of documentation on hardware and howto's could be provided via
links.  No more trying to get enough information on a small button to
make it's purpose clear.  You can expand the possibilities without my
help, but let me include that the ability to dial in during the
installation process would be pretty cool, too, allowing you to get the
latest info on your hardware, or patches, or errata.  Especially if you
could dial some sort of install-help service (fee based if there were
humans on the other end!).  Every install of RedHat Linux could be made
with all the most recent patches.

Just make sure that a quick install is possible, without scrolling
through every page, etc.  And of course, you'll have to figure out which
graphics mode to run in, and how to get into that mode.

The inspiration came from a recent article written by Tim O'Reilly, in
which he mentioned that an information-based interface is appropriate
for tasks which are done relatively infrequently, more appropriate than
traditional software interfaces.  I think it is pretty clear that Tim
has a good point here.  So I started thinking about applications which
could benefit, and installation came to mind.  Then, I was reading a
review which (as I've seen many times before) lamented the text-based
RedHat install.  Of course, it's not just the text-based part which
could be improved--I have a heck of a time predicting what the
installation program is going to do when I hit "Ok", and this gives me
troubles when making more specialized installations.  And it's darn hard
to figure out what is broken when Lilo reports an error on
installation--what do you do next, what are the options provided by the
installation program, if I change lilo.conf myself will the installation
program overwrite it?  You can see how more information would be better!

-Paul Komarek

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