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partman review

This is my little review of partman. I looked at it in depth and tried
everything. Please consider this constructive criticism, I think partman
is a fine tool overall.

* It really does need a progress bar at startup. It does seem that fair
  bit of the delay is disk-bound and not cpu-bound.

* There is no title on main dialog box, or on many of the others. I think
  that this exposes a bug in cdebconf, since the left of the dialog box,
  cdebconf draws line drawing character.

* There should probably be something on the main dialog box saying to select
  the device or partition to use, and explaining that if a mount point is not
  listed, the partition will not be used. There is room for this. Many other
  dialogs in partman also lack extended descriptions, and this stuff is not
  going to be obvious to new users.

* The main dialog has some rather redundant choices:

	"Undo all actions"
	"Abort the partitioning" 
		- what is the difference between these? Why not just have one?

	"End the partititioning and continue the installation"
	"Commit the partitioning to the storage devices"
		- sure, they do different things, but why bother with two
		  different entries? There is not much value in "committing
		  the partitioning" if you don't continue with the 
		  installation after. It just ends up formatting everything

  Also, these texts need to be cleaned up. Something like this would be
  simpler and clearer:
	Undo changes to partitions
	Write changes to disk and continue the installation

* It is not clear if selecting a device (as opposed to a partition in the
  device) does something useful. 

* If I do choose a device, the first menu item is "Cancel this menu", which
  is redundant because there is a back button. The third item is something
  about dumping the partition info, which might be useful for debugging,
  but I did not understand. The second item is the only one I think anyone
  will want to select.

* If I tell it to create an empty partition table on the device, it defaults
  to a bsd partition table, which is not a good default. I do not think the
  list of partitoon table types should be displayed at all at high priority.
  Also, the list of partition tables is entitled "Type for the new label:",
  with no explanation. This is confusing jargon. This question also exposes a
  bug in debconf; the Go Back and Continue buttons overlap.

* If I create a new partition, its settings default to "do not use", not
  bootable, not mounted, no filesystem type. These are not good defaults and
  mean a lot of work to get a usable setup.

* Only ext2, swap, fat are avilable as filesystem types. What about ext3,
  reiserfs, and xfs? Our users will demand these. I see partman-ext3 and
  partman-auto on the CD, and I think this is a priority problem that is
  preventing them from being installed by default. Reiserfs and xfs should be

* Partman lists ext2 as "extended 2", which I think will manage to
  confuse both linux newbies, and old hands who want ext2. Please just call
  it by its name; putting a short definition after the name for newbies might
  be nice, but "extended 2" means nothing.

* The mount options screen is excessively long, all these defintions should
  be in the select list after the option names.

* In the partition edit screen, "Choose this if you are satisfied with the
  above settings" should be below the divider line, and would be better
  worded as something like "Done setting up this partition".

* To set up swap space, I have to tell it to format the partition, and then
  select swap as the typo. I don't think of swap space as being formatted, so
  this was midly confusing. I think that the "usage method" and "file system"
  items could be combined into one menu item, which would have the options
  "do not use this partition", "keep and use existing data on this partition",
  plus the filesystem types and swap. This would address my swap formatting
  confusion, and simplify it generally.

* Back on the main menu, I notice that free space is listed as "unusable".
  I think this is at best confusing, and that field of the table should be
  blank for free space. I've also seen the free space listed as "pri/log",
  which makes little sense .. oh, now I get it. It was unusable because I had 
  4 primary partitions. Somehow, this could be clearer. It should be
  understandable if you don't know about, or have forgotten about, the 4
  primary partition limit.

* I cannot seem to figure out how to use partman to create extended
  partitions, at all.

* When it writes the partition data, I always get this error from partman:

    The kernel was unable to re-read the partition table on
    /dev/scsi/host1/bus0/target0/lun0/disk (Device or resource busy).

  That is the usb device I booted the installer from, and I did not tell
  partman to do anything with it (nor does it), so I do not know why it
  displays this message.

* After setting up 3 1 gb ext2 partitions (/, /usr, /home), and 128 mb swap,
  and letting partman format them, it blue-screened. ps shows
  finish.d/90aptinstall_basicfiles is running. The load average is 0.08, and
  this is a fast p4. I waited for 5 minutes, and nothing. I am able to
  reproduce this easily if there is something I can do to debug it.

* I manually unpacked partman-auto and partman-ext3, and re-ran partman. This
  added an item to the main menu, titled "10
  partman-auto/text/automatically_partition doesn't exist". This may be my
  error; as I did not go through anna to install this stuff. I did call
  debconf-loadtemplates however. I rebooted in expert mode, and anna does not
  list partman-{auto,ext3} even at low priority. Strange. This has prevented
  me from trying out the automatic partitioning so far.

In summary, I don't think partman is quite ready to be our default
partitioner, but none of the above should be too difficult to fix.

see shy jo

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