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Re: di: seperate preperation and installation phases

On Wed, May 09, 2001 at 09:51:58PM -0700, David Whedon wrote:
> There are two things that I would like to see in a new installer that I don't
> see in debian-installer at the moment:
> 1. The ability to redo some of the installation after the system is all the way
> set up.  I would like to see the same utility, same user interface, that people
> can use to modify an existing installation.  For example adding new hardware or
> reconfiguring the network, setting the timezone.  FreeBSD does this, it is very
> cool.

Yep. There are several ideas in FreeBSD that I do like [I don't know if you
remember but last year, there was a thread about the need for a "static
shell" for recovery --- sash ; I have seen that sash is as big as a static
ash without all the functionnalities of ash; and you know what ? In FreeBSD, the
standard shell is ash, and is statically compiled...] 

In my mind, the customization is a second step. The more important is to
install the "core system". The customization is a "user space" tool, that is
provided with the system, and rerun when needed. l10n has to be packages.
The core system must be able to be installed automagically.

Unix hides the material details. The installation of the system must be the
same : the material details are hidden to the user : he has a system to
customize [more easy to say with PCI than with ISA, yes; but not out of

There are three levels of users :

L0 : aka `root' but in fact the system; the real roots are the developers ---
this is their intelligence that is put in the system. And if the system
behaves stupidely this is because of the very same reason. The core
"administration" system handles itself by daemons/servers, that is what 
developers have put. When an human being has to make an intervention, this is 
because the program must be modified. Only the system runs programs as 0.

L1 : administrators (previously known as root). There has been a
misunderstanding : in "super-user" one has to emphasize, not "super" but
"user". A super-user is a user with the ability to "super" break the balls
of developers [I have examples...]. An administrator has a level from 1.0 to
1.999999999999.... : the more it is, the less he can do. A "super-user" is
just a "super-danger".

L2: joe-user; anybody.

Core system is automatic and is 0. The package tool is used by the system to
update itself or send orders with ID 0.

Administrators tell what is the _logical_ destination of a machine (I want a
stand-alone --- the system answers : no my dear... Whether you buy a brain,
or more memory, or a lollipop, but this machine can only be a console
terminal, because you have not enough memory, and your graphical card is
just a crap...). Administrators use the package system to install
applications with their ID.

Joe-user : you ask "What is your OS ?" he answers : "Word". And he is right
: he has nothing more to know than where he has to double-click. Joe-user
can install data in its home with its rights. And that's all folks !

So the "customization" is a level 1 program.

> 2. An install system that isn't inherently Debian or Linux specific.  I would
> love to see an system that was designed from the ground up to support a wide
> variety of platforms.  This is a real tough one.  Maybe it doesn't make sense,
> but I'd rather see us developing something that can be used by non-Debian
> systems (like apt).
> I want to be careful about changing the design of debian-installer though
> because we have made it a long way and if we don't get the new installer
> finished soon we'll be stuck with boot-floppies again for woody+1.

IMHO, it is better to have several alternatives to choose from if people who
want to work on something can not agree. The worst would be to sterilize all
efforts by fighting endlessly about the aims. It would not be a good idea to
change everything now for di. But it is not a bad idea to work on something
slightly different : if nothing is produced, at least this will avoid
wasting the time of the ones who work on something else, including di ;)
Thierry LARONDE, Centre de Ressources Informatiques, Archamps - France
PingOO, serveur de com sur distribution GNU/Linux: http://www.pingoo.org

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