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Bug#411552: please set a timeout in syslinux screen

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Joey Hess [mailto:joeyh@debian.org]
> Sent: 20 February 2007 08:36
> To: Robert Millan; 411552@bugs.debian.org
> Subject: Bug#411552: please set a timeout in syslinux screen
> Here are some scenarios to consider:
> * Suppose that I'm blind. I put in the CD, reboot, and wait the 5
>   minutes I generally wait to get it past post[1]. Then I carefully start
>   typing the necessary kernel options for my braille reader into the
>   syslinux prompt I expect to be there...
>   Even once I learn about the timeout, installing Debian is going to
>   suck a lot more than before for me.
As long as the timeout is much longer than normal POST times and the countdown stops as soon as a key is pressed (so slow typing is fine as long as the first key is pressed quickly i don't see this being a huge issue.

> * Suppose that the machine is being booted by a rack monkey at the data
>   center. If it's set up like my data center, this means they put the CD
>   in the front of the rack, power on the machine, then run 200 feet
>   around to the back of the rack -- only to find that the crash cart
>   with the display isn't hooked up to the right machine. So they switch
>   it to the right one. Meanwhile, I want them to boot with "auto=true" to
>   avoid walking them through the whole install over the phone, and am
>   subsequently quite confused when I tell them to type that, and they
>   say that it replies with "Elektu landon, teritorion au aeron" and some
>   other strange words.
>   Can you figure out what happened based on the above description? :-)
>   Could you figure it out over the phone? While being charged $x/minute
>   for a call from Europe to the US?
this is a legit one but its a pretty special use case imo

> * My grandnephew Kai Runyon[2] is here visiting. He's 2, and he likes to
>   pound on keyboards and flip switches. He finds my power switch. Then he
>   finds my keyboard. I come out of a programming haze to find my media
>   server formatting its home directory thanks to the d-i CD I just had
>   it burn.
>   Ok, granted, the timeout only saved him one well-placed enter, but
>   it's not unheard of for my home network to have preseed setups enabled
>   that let this whole scenario happen with only a few keystrokes.
otoh you could stretch that case to say that using the installer should require sufficiant arcane commands that a child can't cause trouble with it, i don't think that is a road we should go down. 

> * My kiosk machine only has a user-accessible touchscreen, the keyboard
>   is locked away to avoid all those easily implantable keylogger chips,
>   and other problems. I leave an installation CD in it so that it can be
>   quickly reinstalled if something goes wrong, or weekly (just in case).
>   One day I decide to switch it to this new version of the lenny CD,
>   which happens to be the one where g-i becomes the default installer.
>   This also happens to be the one that a tricky user of the kiosk uses to
>   intercept a lot of credit card numbers, after running through the whole
>   g-i install using only the keypad, to get root.
but if you are leaving the CD in and you want the machine to be usable then you are going to have had to disable CD booting anyway.

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