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Why, IYO, is d-i worse than b-f? | Let's test | delay caused by work, not attitude

On Wed, 24 Jul 2002 12:22:34 +0200
Eduard Bloch <edi@gmx.de> wrote:

> #include <hallo.h>

Greetings :)

Why is it that you think debian-installer is somehow worse than 
boot-floppies? Have you tried to build either? See below.
> Nice. I have seen how motivation disappears when you are waiting
> longer than 8 months for the next _freeze_. I expect that the whole
> thing will slow down and we really won't get a stable installer until
> one year is passed.

Let's test that speculation, and I'm betting on the opposite, and not
only that, but that the people who wrote d-i have done so with their
own interests in mind: their time. 

I would also expect that they have done so with the interests of the
other developers, as well, by making d-i easier to work on from at least
the standpoints of the volume of work necessary to make changes to the
installer itself and that of the time spent in getting to understand the
internals of the installer (perhaps for the purpose of enhancing it, 
maybe in some major way).

I'm speculating here. However, I want to see the actual results, so I
would like to propose that several people step up as test subjects who 
have never seen the process by which either b-f or d-i is built.

While I do intend to do the builds as noted below, I have to recuse my-
self from actually reporting results because I have built and run b-f 
before, and have gotten extremely frustrated for days after as a result 
of the problems encountered.

The task: 

On a fresh machine with DSL or approx equiv, install debian woody or
sid, base -only-. Note: you will be repeating for the other installer,
so if you start with woody, also use woody for the second test.

Start a timer, begin learning how to build b-f through to
the point of b-f building all the floppy images, do the build,
installing what packages you need to as you go.

Stop the timer, and record the time, and any comments.

Then, blow it all away, install the base again (if you used woody
before, stick with woody; same for sid), reset and start the timer,
learn d-i, install, run to produce installer images.

Again, stop the timer, record the time and any desired comments.

Some should start with d-i, others please start with b-f.

I'd especially like to hear about anything that either b-f or 
d-i has done to make it easier for you to do any part of the
task as outlined above, or any part of any -other- task, such
as altering the installer, what it presents, the order of 
things, add a hello-world message at any point or arranging
for different packages or other initial material than is
set up for the default install. How much time did it take
for you to determine everything it would install by default?

The foregoing would show how difficult and time-consuming
basic development would be with each, and would also serve
to shake down some d-i bugs :) 

The results would tend to motivate developers toward things
that are better to work with.

> > You're welcome to try to prove that this isn't the case, but
> > everyone else has seen the way b-f's work a few times now, so don't
> > expect anyone to believe your claims until you /have/ proved them.
> This is not a proof, but a speculation. Only the time will prove.

So, Let's test! :) If you don't think this to be a good idea, please
retract your speculation as being something you don't believe should
be tested.

> But I think that this is exactly this attitude that caused the fucking
> long release period of Woody. And you are continuing working the same
> way.

Bzzt, wrong, nope :) Attitude didn't cause the delay... the freeze
period was prolonged by a download server architecture problem, and
remember that there was added the option of installing with linux-2.4.x
kernel. In addition, several new structures have been added to the
packaging infrastructure to allow major new features, one of which is
the ability of apt to grab whatever is needed to -build- a given
package. I know I'm forgetting other alterations to the base... but any
time you do alter the base, that has far-reaching consequences.

Also, debian as an organization is composed of a large number of 
sparsely-located developers. It takes time just to synchronize us,
and you will be torn by sheer force if you try to maintain the sync!

You can't blame just one person for a delay which actually resulted from
work done building and testing new features. Which is the same every
time debian is released... things get added, gotta test, gotta work on
the problems, gotta listen to other users and developers, gotta take
some or all of their comments into account, gotta do the work that
represents. That takes time. Once and for all, -deal-! :)

> Gruss/Regards,
> Eduard.


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