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Bug#665775: [netcfg] Confusing prompt for Domain name

Hi Christian,

On 2012-03-26 01:17, Christian PERRIER wrote:
reassign 665775 netcfg
tags 665775 wontfix

Quoting Filipus Klutiero (chealer@gmail.com):
On the other hand, if your administrator tells you that a DHCP
server is available and is recommended, then you don't need this
information because the DHCP server will provide it directly to
your computer during the installation process.


First, please avoid using "your" here. Prefer "the computer's
Internet address" and "the computer's hostname".
Well, this prompt has been worked and reworked over the years and one
of the involved people is the person well known in Debian for pushing
to avoid "computer personnalization". Guess who that might be? :-)

You must be confusing with something else. As I said, I was always confused by this prompt, and I installed Debian for the first time in 2004. This is not a regression. The last time the prompt was changed is in 2000: http://anonscm.debian.org/gitweb/?p=d-i/netcfg.git;a=commitdiff;h=7ec48a21da9e6f89f8c62d5ff26973336f9b1f45 I find the previous version interesting, it's not much worst than the current one. I wonder if there was something wrong with "Please enter your domain name or leave this field empty if you don't have a domain."

And still, we have "your". That's perfectly on purpose to fit the need
for being as user-accessible as possible, which is one of the goals of

It's not. Just ask your mother her Internet address. She'll surely tell you her Internet *mail* address. We don't want people entering gmail.com as domain name. However, this does show that "Internet address" is not a perfect wording neither. Searching for "Internet address" on Wikipedia brings to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_address In French, it's a disambiguation page: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adresse_Internet

The main problem is that a host may have any number of Internet
addresses. Having 1 is just one case. While the case where hosts
have several addresses may be less problematic, one is left quite
confused when the host has no address. One doesn't necessarily have
a network, and if there is a network, it doesn't necessarily have a
system administrator. Also, although DHCP does provide an IP address
and some parameters, the domain name is not necessarily provided by

Finally, the first sentence ("The domain name is the part of your
Internet address to the right of your host name.") is misleading. As
mentioned in
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name#Domain_name_syntax :
A hostname *is* a domain name that has at least one associated IP address.

Trying to enter such considerations would be too pedantic. We need to
keep prompts simple. We guess that users who understand all underlying
subtleties will anyway never read down to that part of the prompt and
probably stop at "Domain name:".

Pedantic? One prompt usually displayed by d-i is making an assumption which is usually wrong. I don't consider fixing that pedantic. Simplifying this prompt is precisely what I'm suggesting here. If d-i asks for a domain name, its prompt should at least not be confusing. What prompted me to report this is users who do *not* know what a domain name is.

D-I is designed to be as usable from the home computer to the server
in a datacenter. Such prompts that are common to all have been
thoroughly worked over years to fit all such needs.

Well, this one must be the exception then.
PCs in particular should be kept in mind so that d-i supports more than a minority of machines.

It is anyway too late for such changes. I'm sorry to say so but fro
mabout now, I'll be fighting very hard against *any* change in D-I
prompts. You have no idea how hard it can be to get translations

The only changes to D-I prompts that may get my approval will be those
that do not impact localization at all, such as typo, spelling,
grammar, punctuation fixes (and even punctuation might be debated).

Other changes have to happen in the first year after a Debian release,
not a few months before. And, yes, it takes *months* to get everything
updated when it comes at l10n (hunting down translators is an
incredibly painful task).

If I endured this prompt in its current state for 8 years, I'll probably manage to endure it until wheezy, particularly if I know my ordeal will end soon. However, the sooner the change will be done, the lesser effort wasted from translators.

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