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Re: Installation Program Suggestion

On 10 Dec 1998, Adam Di Carlo wrote:

> > 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.
> Why gecko rather than lynx?  It can hardly be considered smaller or
> more stable, I'll warrant.

Lynx would be fine with me.  I mentioned netscape in this post because it
was now more feasible than before, and is popular/familiar than Lynx.

> The problem with HTML-based installation is the following: there is no
> way, without doing something nasty, of running logic on the local
> machine.  "Something nasty" would include a little web server off the
> installation system, or doing logic as ECMAScript.
> I just don't see the benefit, especially since when the installation
> system (dbootstrap, name under contention) is running, we're booting
> off the rescue disk and there is no network connectivity.  So HTML
> links don't do you any good.
> .....Adam Di Carlo....adam@onShore.com.....<URL:http://www.onShore.com/>

I haven't seen the Debian intsallation program, so I don't know how
ludicrous my idea sounds to debian users.  Basically, my reasoning goes
along these lines--
1) Among the main complaints about Linux is installing it, just as with
2) People are rapidly becoming familiar with web browsers and 'surfing'
for information.
3) A single cd is pretty darn cheap these days, and I can't imagine that
you couldn't set up a fully functional linux system with a cd, a ramdisk,
and maybe even a little diskspace if absolutely necessary.  This would
include network connectivity.

The main problem in my estimation would be doing all this in a way that
was likely to work on diverse hardware--in particular, diverse PC hardware
since the only crowds complaining about installation seem to be in the PC
world.  I suppose the installation procedure could be two-staged, one in
which the necessary info was discovered for using the graphics subsystem,
network subsystem, etc.  I think we can scratch the sound effects during
installation, for now.  ;-) 

I think the benefit would appear in a new user's first impression of
Linux, and press reviews, etc. If an information-rich installation system
(should I install the package ghostscript? Well, let's see what it is the
ghostscript does since the name doesn't tell us.) worked well, and
GNU-Linux was the first to implement it, we'd already be in the
"innovation" world--publically--that MS said we would have a hard time
doing as an open-source movement. Please don't tell me that open-source
has been innovating for years--I know they have!  The idea of making the
installation procedure simpler and friendlier is primarily for newcomers! 

That isn't to say I wouldn't mind more information during
installation--especially since there are always new developments in
drivers, packages, new kernel options, etc. 

-Paul Komarek

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