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DSL netinstall

[Cc'ed to the maintainers of a few related packages. Please Cc replies,
as I'm not subscribed to d-b@.]

This is the log of a chat I had today on #debian-boot with mrvn (and
before him with other developers).
The consensus is that d-i will not support modem netinstall (both POTS
and DSL).
If you don't agree, and are willing to work on a pppd configurator and
on a PPP netinstall initrd, then please speak now.

<Md> summary: a pppoe-netinstall initrd /could/ be made, but I'm not sure it's 
     worth the effort. the USB modems require plenty (~1 MB?) of .udebs (some 
     of them which cannot be provided by us), and they could go on the business      card CD
<Md> I could make .udebs of pppd and everything else needed, as long as there 
     is a consensus that somebody else will work on the frontend or they can go      on the CD even if they will have to be configured manually
<mrvn> Md: people with dsl can easily download a 50-100MB cd with base. I would        work towards that.
<Md> mrvn: if they can download enough to install the base system then they 
     could as well pick the few regular .debs from a mirror and install them 
     with dpkg
<Md> mrvn: I'm considering a "smallest possible initial download" scenario
<mrvn> Md: base would be on the cd.
<mrvn> Md: my businesscard isonly 20MB :)
<Md> and where did you get it from then?
<mrvn> debian-cd has a lot of bloat on the official CDs
<mrvn> Md: They are build by the "mrvn" branch.
<Md> anyway, if you say that a 20 MB download is enough to download something 
     which can be rebooted and used to install real .deb packages then it's all      I want
<mrvn> base-config already fetched read-edid, discover and libdiscover from the        cd anyway.
<Md> can you confirm this?
<mrvn> No, 50 MB is enough.
<Md> ok, a 50 MB download which allows to install real .debs is still OK for me
<mrvn> Better say 55MB or so when docs are added.
<mrvn> Md: Anything that can be downloaded within 15 minues I feel is 
<Md> mrvn: I think that the limit is 64 MB, the size of the cheapest USB pen 
<mrvn> Md: Or that.
<Md> anyway, let's say that users with an USB modem will have to download the 
     business card-sized image and then manually install a few .debs (I will 
     provide documentation and maybe a script)
<Md> do we want to make something better for PPPoE users? it should not be hard
<mrvn> Md: a "probe-dsl" program that will look what firmware is needed and 
       apt-get install it?
<Md> mrvn: I assume that users will now which driver package they need
<mrvn> base-config could ask if the user wants to install dsl and then fetch 
       the required extra debs from cd and run the config prog.
<mrvn> base-config already fetched read-edid, discover and libdiscover from the        cd anyway.
<Md> do not forget that manual install of the firmware files will still be 
     needed, hotplug must be working, and everything has to be configured 
     manually. I don't think that just this bit of automation will be worth the      effort, for now
<mrvn> Md: as I said, write a dsl-config and package the free firmwares.
<mrvn> Md: And check that the README you want to write for dsl gets included on        the cd.
<mrvn> Md: don#t think its worth it, the cd with base is small enough.
<Md> mrvn: as I said, I'm not interested at all in writing a dsl-config package      (which would be very cool, but also a huge effort to do it right) and all 
     the most popular modems need firmwares cannot be redistributed
     netinst initrd? In a pppoe initrd? In the business card image?
<mrvn> A dsl initrd would need a firmware floppy wich sucks.
<Md> mrvn: I'm still talking about pppoe, no firmware needed. just pppd and a 
     few kernel modules
<Md> about 130 KB, I think
<mrvn> Ok, still not worth it. It doesn't save any download compared to a base 
<mrvn> +pppoeconf
<Md> I'm not responsible for pppoeconf, its maintainer will have to make it 
     usable for the boot disks
<mrvn> Md: then hit him untill he does or there will be no dsl initrd.
<Md> it's a convoluted 10 KB shell script which uses dialog and user space 
     pppoe, which I do not plan to support
<Md> it would have to be rewritten from scratch
<mrvn> or do that.
<mrvn> Without providing a config any DSL support in d-i is pointless.
<mrvn> Remeber you hav no docs and no good editor in d-i
<Md> it's not... most users know how to put their own username and password in 
<mrvn> I realy would leave that for after base in installed.
<Md> but yes, if the target is the CD image then there is no big difference in 
     installing it before or after the system has been rebooted
<mrvn> You would need to abort the d-i installation at some point to configure 
       pppoe manually and that just makes problems.
<Md> yes. looks like there is a consensus of two for no PPP support for d-i. :-)<Md> if it's OK for you I will send this log to the mailing list
<mrvn> Md: I don't think you get anyone to agree on icnluding it without a 
       config forntend.

ciao, |
Marco | [3086 papyGTVucyOC2]

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