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Re: Which task package installs gpm?

On debian-boot (inter alia), you wrote:

>I strongly disagree with this assertion.  You may clone a system's
>package inventory this way, but in doing so you will not clone the
>actual system configuration.

>> this a way to export debconf answers and your pretty much set.  (i
>> don't know what kickstart does about things like networking)
>I think that relying on debconf as a catch-all tool for system
>configuration is a bad idea.  The realm of configuration possibilities

I strongly agree. In particular, I was worried by the assertion that
various elements of the system identity and configuration would be
removed from the installer and configured as part of package installation
(e.g., timezone). My problem with this is that if one wants to have
a system whereby different installation profiles ( == partitioning
schemes + set of packages to install ) could be selected on the basis
of system identity parameters (hostname, size of RAM, ip address),
achieving this is made more difficult by fragmenting the system
identity information across packages rather than considering it as a

So it would be nice to get a design for what we think constitutes the
system identity information we're going to have to rely on during
the installation, something like:

hostname, ip address (netmask, bcast, gw), dns servers, dns domain name,
timezone, preferred locale/keyboard setthing thing, processor architecture,
size of ram, size of disks

(I assume that the last three on this list can be autodetected pretty 
trivially, and the rest can be pumped out by DHCP). On the basis of
this information combined with a set of rules supplied over the network
or on the installation disk (or image, if it's downloaded via NFS/TFTP/etc),
the installer can then select a "profile", which will contain things like
the root password, which packages to install, which apt lines to use,
and how to partitition the disk.

 (e.g., host finds out its hostname and IP address, and notes "Behold!
   I am part of dev.foo.com, not admin.foo.com, and thus shall install
   gdb and xemacs, and leave gnumeric well alone!")

Any installation system which is capable of checking whether configuration
information has been supplied and failing that prompting the user should
then be capable of installing the system non-interactively. We seem to
have adopted debconf by fait accompli, and it looks like debconf will be
ideally suited to this task.


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