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[RFC] Consequences for official CD/DVD images for Lenny

Now that everybody has had a chance to take a look at the patches and try 
out the test images (ahem...) we should decide how to use the new options 
and what it will mean for the images we make available for Lenny.

Everything in this mail is a proposal (i.e. open for discussion), loosely 
based on some brainstorming Steve and I did a couple of weeks ago.

The following images will remain essentially unchanged:
- netinst/businesscard images for arches other than i386/amd64
- full CD images
- KDE installation CD 
- alpha/hppa/ia64 multi-arch CD

Light desktop environment CD image
This image, supporting both the XFCE and LXDE desktop tasks, would replace 
the existing XFCE CD.
For i386 and amd64 the isolinux menu supports selecting which desktop 
environment (DE) should be installed.
For some other arches for which debian-cd supports the KERNEL_PARAMS 
envvar (powerpc, sparc, hppa), the default desktop will be XFCE; users 
will need to manually add 'desktop=lxde' at boot time to change that.
For other arches the default desktop will be GNOME and users need to 
manually add either 'desktop=lxde' or 'desktop=xfce'.

All desktop environments support
There are two aspects to that:
1) what packages get included on the first DVD
2) desktop environment selection [1] in isolinux menu for i386 and amd64

Why not use this option for CD sets?
* It would mean non-key Gnome packages get pushed back to later CDs.
* It would make CD1 effectively unusable for any DE when used by itself.
* To be certain you can fully install any DE task you'd need to scan
  *a lot* of CDs (about 7) or you'll be downloading most packages from
  a mirror, in which case you should be using a netinst image anyway.
So, it makes a lot of sense to just keep the CD sets GNOME-centered and 
keep the KDE and light DE installation CDs for those who really want to 
install the other DEs from CD.

DVDs (and Blu-Ray)
For DVDs it makes most sense IMO to keep the order in which packages are 
added the same for all architectures, so that would mean configuring 
debian-cd to use desktop=all for all arches.
I have verified that for the i386 DVD all DE and server and language tasks 
easily fit on the first DVD with plenty of room left over for the top 
packages from popcon (first ~3900 get included).

For all arches the default desktop will remain GNOME.
For i386 and amd64 users will have the option to select which DE they want 
to install from the Advanced options boot menu.
For other arches users will need to manually add 'desktop=...' to select 
an alternative DE.

netinst and businesscard (i386 and amd64 only)
We can also add the option to select an alternative DE to the smaller 
images. After all, packages will be downloaded from a mirror anyway so we 
know all desktops will be available.
The contents of the images themselves will not change.
I see only benefits from this as general usability is improved.

This will mean configuring debian-cd to use desktop=all. Whether to do 
that for i386 and amd64 only, or for all arches is a matter of taste.
For other arches it makes no sense, but it's also a safe no-op.

multi-arch images
The i386/amd64/powerpc CD is basically a netinst image, so that can get 
desktop=all to enable DE selection in the boot menu for i386 and amd64.

The i386/amd64/powerpc DVD is more problematic as having all desktops will 
completely fill the DVD leaving no room for other packages with a high 
popcon score.
Proposal is therefore to drop powerpc support from this DVD. With only 
i386 and amd64 there is still room for the top ~2600 packages on the DVD.

Dropping images that make no sense?
Somewhat unrelated. We have several architectures that don't support 
booting from CD (armel, mipsel, s390) which means we're building a number 
of images that nobody will ever use:
- businesscard and netinst

The full CD and DVD set make some sense for archival purposes.

Should we configure d-cd to skip these arches for those images?


[1] A bit of background info.
One could wonder why this is being done in the isolinux boot menu rather 
than during the installation, e.g. in tasksel.
The simple reason is that Joey Hess, the lead developer for tasksel, has 
always been opposed to doing it in tasksel with as main argument that 
tasksel is mostly for new users who are probably not aware of what DEs 
exist and thus would only be confused when having to choose between 
meaningless names as GNOME, KDE, etc.
One could argue about the validity of that argument, or about implementing 
it so that the option would only be available for "expert" users, but the 
fact remains that tasksel currently does not support DE selection.
But users do regularly keep asking about it.

One reason I have chosen to "hide" DE selection in the "Advanced options" 
menu instead of in the main boot menu is to honor Joey's feelings about 
this: I think that this way it is buried deep enough not to confuse new 
users, while still being easily enough available to users who go looking 
for it.

Still, the option to support DE selection in the boot menu can be seen as 
a workaround for the fact that it's missing in tasksel.

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