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Re: redesigning the debian installer

Joey Hess <joeyh@debian.org> writes
>Michael S. Fischer wrote:
>> Serial console redirection needs to be available.  We have hundreds
>> of servers (with Intel L440GX+ motherboards with serial BIOS
>> support) attached to Portmasters.  These are headless boxes.
>Sure -- Debian has always supported installing from a serial console,
>and I hope it always will.

Hmm.  I beg to differ.  I've been working on accessibility of Linux to
blind users for some time.  They can't use the video display,
obviously.  One installation approach is to use a serial console
connected to a second PC with terminal emulator and a speech device.
However, the Hamm and Slink i386 installation disks did not support
serial console.  The main problem was that the standard kernel did not
have serial support compiled in.  The serial device was in a module,
and you had to get pretty far into the installation before it was
installed.  The last time I checked, the same was true of the potato
install disks.  I have not checked lately.

Massimo Dal Zotto <dz@cs.unitn.it> writes:
>I am only suggesting that it should be possible to do the debconf
>configuration in a separate step from the installation and store the
>debconf db for each machine on a floppy for later use.
>This is more or less what I've done in my hackish slink
>auto-installer.  It doesn't use debconf and doesn't have a
>configuration interface but I can create profiles with a text-editor
>and load them for the installation.  It has been used by people
>knowing only ms-windows to install a lot of machines in production

This touches on the second way a blind person could install Debian -
prerecord some configuration info then auto-install.  Red Hat's
kickstart works this way - no need to go through one installation
manually before auto-installations can start.  Please keep this
scenario in mind while designing the new installer.

		 - Jim Van Zandt

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