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Bug#687804: installation-reports: users are not able to review external documentation while stuck in the installer

Samuel Thibault <sthibault@debian.org> writes:

> Brian, le Wed 19 Sep 2012 12:43:43 +0100, a écrit :
>> On Wed 19 Sep 2012 at 12:27:57 +0200, Samuel Thibault wrote:
>> > Brian, le Wed 19 Sep 2012 10:41:12 +0100, a écrit :
>> > > 
>> > > Yes, planning ahead is required if you want to stay in X. For a spur of
>> > > the moment need for information there is w3m in a terminal.
>> > 
>> > How do you start a terminal? Going through the main menu is not an
>> > option, one often needs to have both the question being asked by debconf
>> > and the documentation at hand.
>> I should have been clearer: CTRL-ALT-F1
> That's not very user friendly.
>> With the Xfce Live image the installer window can be minimised. Also,
>> it does not cover the task bar at the bottom of the screen, so another
>> workspace is selectable. The documentation is only is a URL away.
> Ok, but that's not the case with at least gnome/lxde. As mentioned in a
> previous mail, that's what this bug could be about (documenting "use
> the xfce liveCD" seems quite lazy to me)

It was only about using the "normal" Debian installer which when I used
it last time (about a 3/4 year ago) didn't include any web browser at
all.  It somewhere does tell you that you can press Alt-F3 or something
to get a console.  The live installer could tell users that they can
press Ctrl-Alt-F1 (or something) to get one.

You are right that people would have to consider the possibility of
needing a web browser during the installation before they start.  So
perhaps the following might make sense:

1.) Make the life installer the recommended default installer.  People
    choosing a different one might be expected to know what they are

2.) Change [1] to clearly present this recommendation.  When you look at
    [1], the life installer doesn't really show up.  It says "Try Debian
    live before installing".  When I'm looking for the installer, I'm
    not looking to try out Debian before installing it, so I'm
    immediately ignoring this option and don't find out about it.  Make
    the life installer the only one presented on [1] and add links to
    the installation manual and things like "press Ctrl-Alt-F1" so it is
    easy for people to know and find out a few things they really should
    know before starting to install.  Links to the other versions of the
    installer could (should) also be there so that people looking for
    them can find them.

[1]: http://www.debian.org/distrib/

Maybe it's just me, but when I look at [1]:

"Getting Debian": Ok that's what I'm looking for.  So where's the

"Debian is distributed freely over Internet.": Yeah I know that, so
where is the installer? --- Notice that I don't read any further, so I
don't see that there is a link to the installation manual.  I'm serious,
I've been looking like 10 times or more at this page during the last
couple days and I only noticed that link just now, and that only because
it has a different colour now because I visited it when I followed an
URL in a post in this mailing list the other day and because I'm looking
more closely at the page now.

"Buy a set of ...": No, not what I want.

"Download a small ...": Hm, maybe, but I really don't care if the
download is small or not.  With a small download, I might be missing
something useful and it might take longer to install because more stuff
needs to be downloaded and I don't want to wait on that.

"Download large ...": Ok, what means large?

"Buy a computer with Debian pre-installed": No, not what I want.  So
what means large?

"Useful when the install target has no Internet connection.": Well, I do
have an internet connection. So what is it about?
"The CD/DVD images can be downloaded using HTTP/FTP, BitTorrent, or
Jigdo.": Yeah sure, I guess I can somehow download them!?  That isn't
relevant here.  BitTorrent is painfully slow and you might never get
what you're trying to get, and I don't know about jigdo, so screw that.

"The large CD and DVD images contain more packages, making it easier to
install machines without an Internet connection. However, if you get a
whole set of CDs or DVDs, you will get a lot of packages that you won't
actually use.": Err, hm, ok, what's that supposed to mean?  That I would
download the whole distribution?  Or a "larger" CD or DVD?  There is only
so much you can fit onto a CD or DVD, so what does it mean?  Maybe I
need a small image because I don't want to download so much?

"Use Internet to download additional files during installation.": I will
have to do that anyway unless I download the whole distribution.  Even
if I download the whole distribution, it will become outdated.  (Since
I'm running testing, I'm actually looking for an installer for testing.
That is even harder to find.)

"Buy a set ...": Ah, no, that takes too long ...

See what I mean?

1.) "Try Debian live before installing" is a tiny option at the bottom
    right of the screen, overshadowed by all the others.  It is the
    first option that I filtered out on first sight of the page because
    it is obviously not what I want, and it doesn't come back into view.

2.) Notice that I could only figure out what seems most advisable to use
    by ruling out choices.  There was no information on [1] that would
    enable me to positively say "this is what I need".  I could only
    guess "this is what I probably *don't* need" and then take what was
    left and find out by experimentation if it actually is what I need.
    That isn't very user friendly.

I greatly appreciate having choices, so it's great to have many
different ways to install Debian.  Now where's the installer I'm
actually looking for?  I want to install testing, not stable.  I don't
realise the one choice that would be most appropriate for me (a life
installer for testing) because the life installer is hidden.  I know
that there's very likely an installer for testing somewhere because I've
used one before and I'll have to look for it.  I never knew that there's
a life installer for stable, so I'm never gona look for a life installer
for testing ...  So I end up sending a bug report like this one for a
problem that has been solved before the discussion about it even
started because nobody knew that the solution is already there.

That isn't very user friendly.  There is no need to list all available
installers on [1].  Just put the live installer big onto that page as
the only one and a list of links to others and to documentation.  I can
figure that out.  That's much easier for me than having various
informations spread out more or less randomly all over the page, like
the link to the installation manual is at some random place on the page
I never look at.

Now you might say "that's just you".  Before you say that, look at the
discussion and at how many people mentioned that there is a life
installer available.  IIRC, there was only one who kinda mentioned it
--- out of how many?

How many times has the life installer been downloaded, and how does that
compare to downloads of the others?

Debian testing amd64

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