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Usability test: Debian Installation on a laptop

1 Description of the test
a) Short description of the test user

The male user is a 35 year old theoretical physics professor.
He is also the system administrator of this physics institute.

b) Short description of the test setup

Netinstall CD on quick university lan with no proxy, static networking.
Box is a common sony laptop. After second stage most done through ssh
via users workstation. hardware details in #280768.

2 Question on the test user about his level of experience
a) Debian Linux experience of the test user

system administrator of ~70 Debian workstations + some server.

b) Free software experience of the test user

daily use of fvwm, tex, vi, dselect, ..

d) Expectations regarding Debian

easy upgrade and maintenance (paid for doing physics).

e) Expectations of the Debian-installer (short d-i)

bad, as failed on his first try when d-i switched to partman.

3 d-i installation manual.

no remarks as not consulted.

4 The installation process with d-i

The test user chooses english, as country austria,
german as keyboard layout.
Surprised that d-i already knows that his network has no dhcp.
Enters Network configuration and is once more surprised that
d-i knows the hostname and domainname.
User already seems pleased about d-i!

The partitioner comes up with the choice of erasing
the hard disc or to manually edit the partition table.
Later is chosen. 
User takes a bit of a time to realise how to choose the partition.
No hint on the template related to the <enter> key. 
User press <enter>. (blind guess and it works).
The 3 partition is chosen to be ext3 and /.

seconds later the user is prompted for grub.
the user prefers lilo so chooses go back.
lilo is placed on mbr.

second stage works quick. user doesn't choose anything in tasksel.
he prefers known dselect. ;)

user resets debconf to high, wonders a bit why it got medium!?
(lilo choice - reported as wishlist in installation-report). 

installs xserver and the rest of his known stuff from his workstation.
as the default for the xserver is not to choose the autodetection
and he knowns anyway the graphics card - this path is choosen.

5. Conclusions

The d-i templates provided either good information or already
good defaults for a user with debian experience.

The user is very charmed by d-i and happy that the sarge
installer does such a good job. woody getting old for the
desktops setups (mozilla, gnome/kde, no openoffice) he is
very confident in sarge.

Although he would prefer to have better xfree integration in the 
hardware detection of d-i.

"Things gotten better since the 30 diskette installs on 386."

kernel janitor  	http://janitor.kernelnewbies.org/

ps this is a follow up to a previous d-i usability test, *)
   which featured a novice debian user.
   will do so from time to time when a d-i install pops up
   in my env.

*) http://lists.debian.org/debian-boot/2004/09/msg01737.html

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