debian-installer status 2003-02-21
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Since the last status report, almost three months have passed, we have
had a quite successful alpha release and much has changed.
Debian-installer is still able to install Debian, so that hasn't
changed. :) The goals set in the last status report before alpha: menu
ordering, unbreaking of mkfs, fix mounting and adding a log-tool are
mostly done. Still outstanding is the addition of a self-test/logging
Martin has done some good work on getting Release file support into
anna and the retrievers, though the archive doesn't have working
Release files for sarge (since the debian-installer part of sarge is
just a symlink to sid, for the time being); optimally, what I'd like
is getting anna to support gpg and verify the full integrity of the
install. One would then only have to trust the integrity of the
initial boot media; a compromised mirror would be detected
cdebconf has gotten a slang frontend, which seems to work reasonably
well, but looks ugly and has some strange hangs unaccounted for in
addition to at least a non-implemented progress bar. Screenshots
courtesy of Martin. We've also gotten a progress bar into cdebconf,
as well as an HTTP backend. Some work has been done on the gtk
frontend, but nothing solid yet. Help here is appreciated.
Santiago Garcia Mantinan has done some great work on getting daily
built CD netinst and business card-sized images online.  The
netinst images contain debian-installer and the base packages, the
business card-sized ones just debian-installer.
A lot of work has been going into infrastructure work, such as finding
a method of installing extra packages into the base system. This is
needed for EVMS, grub and some other packages in addition to the
kernel-installer. This means kernel-images will be installed from
normal Debian packages, unlike in boot-floppies where they were just
copied off the floppy/CD, something which has caused confusion in the
We now have some new udebs as well, such as keyboard selection and
language chooser and autopartitioner. Good work, those of you working
So, now it's time for the big and ugly TODO list. :)
- - Porting. As usual, some ports are in a better shape than others,
and some are in serious trouble even before they are begun. m68k
and sparc32 are in the latter category, since they have problems
with 2.4, which is needed due to devfs.
- - de-uglification of the slang frontend and progress bar addition to
- - gtkfb/graphical install. Work has been done, but this need to get
more solid and onto the CDs.
- - testing. More testing, more bug reports. If somebody who knows a
bit about usability could begin looking and guiding us, it would be
good. Also, having somebody with a good touch for English to go
through the templates would be nice.
- - automated installs and testing. If somebody could give automated
installations and how to get those working better a shot, it'd be
cool. Getting the report tool (which should fill out the report
template available at http://raw.no/d-i/report-template.html)
written would make it easier for testers to give us good reports.
- - fix the ext3 problem; mkfs.ext3 gives an error about «file not
found» (which is really that it can't find /etc/mtab). mkswap
should also be added.
- - base-config <-> d-i integration. The debconf db should be seeded
with the values from debian-installer. Exactly how to do this is
not clear yet.
We are moving into a more polish/integration phase; most of the major
building blocks are in place, but many are missing critical features.
This means that non-x86 arches should get moving with regards to
getting debian-installer at least roughly working, if they need
changes to central parts of debian-installer.
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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