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Re: redesigning the debian installer

Some generalized comments and musings.

Modularization is specified for retrievers but I fail to see how that
is going to address, say, installation over the network for i386 boxes
(providing perhaps modules for NIC cards) or installation via pcmcia
on arches that support that (which should be i386, alpha, and sparc, I
think, dunno really about sparc/powerpc).

I believe there must be a module subsystem defined for not just
retrieval issues, but also:

 - network/hardware support (discussed above)

 - network configuration (dhcp/bootp)

 - target media support (what we're installing to -- this means
   PCMCIA/IDE devices, NFSRoot, RAID boot/root, etc.)

I think you need to specify a TFTP retriever, but not really sure.
The network retrievers should be centered around the "best of breed"
tiny net clients, such as snarf or busybox's wget.

Hardware detection should be *designed* for modern hardware, perhaps
having also support for older stuff.  I'm saying you should be
targetting PCI busses or OpenFirmware where supported.  You'll get
better milage that way.  I'm not saying rule out ISA or other legacy
support necessarily, however -- just that it should be a sideline.

Also, I reiterate that we need to liase with the larger linux/GNU
community regarding either the adoption or enlargement of current
hardware detection subsystems (i.e., libdetect if that's what we use).

I think more needs to be specified regarding automated installation,
which is a big issue as discussion here has shown.  I guess that would
be in the context of the debconf-tiny ?  I suggest the retrievers
could be purposed to retrieve also configuration files, perhaps
specified in RFC 822 or XML format.

.....Adam Di Carlo....adam@onShore.com.....<URL:http://www.onShore.com/>

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