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Re: the future of the netinst image

On Mar 25, 2007, at 7:10 AM, Geert Stappers wrote:

Back to 'netinst'

This image is one that does disappoint people often.

What could be done to prevent that?

I see two possibilities:

(A) Eliminate it entirely
(B) Treat it as an expanded "businesscard" image.


(A) I'm serious. Get rid on it. It's not needed and it just confuses people. I've personally encountered quite a few times, and observed on this list many more times, that the "netinst" image violates the "principle of least astonishment" in a number of ways.

First, it's misnamed. People expect it to somehow involve booting from the LAN, which it doesn't. That confuses people. Once they get that figured out, the existence of a "network install" CD makes them wonder what the "businesscard" CD is, if not a network install CD. That confuses people. Second, it's significantly larger (factor of 3) than the "businesscard" image, but still not complete -- even for a small server (non-X) install. You still need access to the Internet (or a local mirror repository) to complete the installation. Third, It insists on leaving remnants of itself in the installed sources.list file. This just serves to confuse people by demanding to have the install CD inserted any time you want to do an update. That's the kind of stuff you expect from Microsoft, not free software! Fourth, it's too big to download without broadband. At 56 Kbits/ sec, it takes about 9 hours to download a netinst image, and you still need to get more stuff from the network during the install if you want more than a very minimal system. If you do have broadband, you still don't want the netinst image. You might as well either download a full CD image with everything you need, or install from a businesscard image where you will always get the latest-and-greatest stuff from the network. Finally, nobody has a good idea of what should be on it. It's neither fish nor fowl, and everybody expects something different of it. This recent business of not having the K7 kernel is a good example.

(B) If we still want to keep it around, we need to make it less "astonishing" by at least eliminating the curiosa listed above. The easiest way to do that, seems to be to have it do exactly what the businesscard image does, but more of it.


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