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Suggestions needed for gtk frontend for cdebconf


the progress for the gtk frontend for cdebconf is stalled because of some
nasty issues. I need some help/suggestions of how to tackle these problems:

Plans were to base the frontend on the framebuffer library libdirectfb.
First efforts were successfull, the basic functions could be implemented.
Problems arised with two features which are absolutely necessary:

- Bring up a shell
- Provide the user with an error log

libdirectfb does not support vt switching, so I searched for a possibility
to use a graphical terminal. There are terminal widgets for gtk (vte, zvt)
but they require the X target of gtk, so they will only work with an X

To display the log output in a gtk window, I came to the conclusion that I
needed threads. If control goes to some udeb postinst which produces an
error, the frontend code must be in control to actually display it

Another approach was to use a small X server; I did some experimenting with
kdrive. I built it myself using

Unfortunatly the X server crashed when trying to switch vts :-/
However, I could use the gtk terminal widgets here. But also here I would
need threads, which, when introduced leaded to #192925. There are opinions
that this error is related to xlibs or glibc.

Now I am running out of possibilities. I would be glad if anyone knew of
another solution.

In case that the question arises why to put effort into a graphical
frontend anyway:

In my opinion a graphical frontend has some advantages:

- Although the current implementation is not more feature rich than any
other frontend (except that it is the only frontend that is able to display
several questions at once) I believe that it can be enhanced to be a really
more powerful alternative to the other frontends. I have not dived into it
yet, but a Martin has brought up an idea to create something

- New users are pulled away from debian because of an "ugly" installer.
While the most of us know that this perhaps is nonsense, we should not
ignore the fact.

Thus I would like to continue the project of a graphical installer if
someone brought up a solution/workaround/whatever to the above problem.

Sebastian Ley

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