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debian-installer status 2002-11-22

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A lot has happened in the last month; the full size of the diff is
roughly 5500 lines.  Martin has done some good work on main-menu and
anna, fixing bugs and trying to stabilize them somewhat.  Bdale just
started work on ia64 and Bastian is doing some great work on s390,
especially when it comes to weeding out i386-centrism in the code.
cdebconf has gotten a stack module (which will make automated installs
easier) and Denis Barbier has done some important i18n work.

Last month's TODO list was:

- - Porting.  PowerPC, Alpha and S/390 are started.  I'd like to see at
  least a couple arches more beginning to shape up before the next
  status report.  Also, having some of the *BSD ports around would be
- - CD images need to be tested, the bugs fixed and we should be able to
  do more thorough testing of sarge
- - i18n needs work, both in cdebconf and elsewhere.
- - slang frontend?  cdebconf has an slang frontend; it is untested.  It
  also has a gtk frontend which is experimental.  Getting it to work
  with, say, gtkfb would be cool.
- - get the udebs missing in, like libc-udeb.
- - replication (as in kickstart)
- - evms support

Well, porting is progressing well for s390, but has stalled for Alpha
and PowerPC.  Bdale started on ia64 last night.  I've played around
with getting it up and running on BSD, but no luck so far, busybox
seems to be fairly Linux-centric.  It is not a high priority, but if
somebody picks it up, it would be good.

Some testing of the CD images has started and we are now generating
weekly jigdo images on gluck.  Please download and test those.  Report
to -boot or -testing with your results.

i18n is progressing nicely.  Denis Barbier has done some nice work to
get cdebconf ready for translated templates.  There are still some
work to be done with regard to how cdebconf should know what language
to use.

frontends.  Apart from the forementioned i18n fixing, no progress on
slang or gtk frontends has been made.  This is not critical for the
alpha release, but it would be good to get those into shape in the
not-too-distant future.

some more udebs have entered the archive, like libc-udeb.  We do most
likely want a few more udebs, like a slang-udeb for the slang
frontend.  Nothing critical, yet.

replication/kickstart has gotten some work done.  Or rather, I've
implemented a stack module for cdebconf which does, more or less, the
same as the stack module for debconf.  The plan is then to add various
read-only database backends for cdebconf which could be stacked
underneath a writable database backend.  More to come.

EVMS support has been added.. I played with it a little, but it was
broken because it was compiled with readline support, while no
readline libraries were in the archive.  I've just played around with
it a bit more, and it looks like it needs some more work before it
will work properly, but EVMS sure looks promising.

So, what happens now?  I'd like to pull all the bits together so we
have something that can be labeled alpha, hopefully before the end of
the month.  Before that happens, we need to clean up:

- - menu ordering
- - unbreak mkfs, add mkswap
- - fix mounting
- - add a tool which creates an install log and (optionally) mails it to

Those are pretty short-term goals and shouldn't take very long to fix.

I'm hoping to get out a full-featured (as in all features needed for
actually performing various installations, not as in «having all bells
and whistles») beta before the end of the year.  For that to happen we
need to fix the following bugs/missing features:

- - anna must support Release files.
- - main-menu must handle multiple provides somehow.
- - CDs needs to be tested a lot more.
- - cdebconf must have at least a slang frontend as well.  gtkfb/qtopia
  would be a nice bonus, but not needed.
- - automated installs.  We need some way both to replicate installs and
  some way to do mass installs with only a few items differing for
  each host.
- - ports.  I refuse to label d-i beta before we have at least a few
  more arches working.

If you want to help out, please take a look at
http://raw.no/d-i/getting_started.html and especially the TODO list at

As always, feedback, flames, comments and ideas are appreciated.

- -- 
Tollef Fog Heen                                                        ,''`.
UNIX is user friendly, it's just picky about who its friends are      : :' :
                                                                      `. `' 
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