Fw: Why I wasted Debian's bandwidth
Hi Debian installer!
I thought this installation issue can be usefull, so I forward this
My friend uses debian since at least 10 years, not exactly a newbie but
not a debian developper.
Hope this can help.
----- Message Transféré -----
Date : Sun, 20 Aug 2017 23:07:54 +0200 (CEST)
De : Seb <firstname.lastname@example.org>
À : Mike <email@example.com>
Sujet : Why I wasted Debian's bandwidth
Sorry to write to you in English.
I reinstalled Debian on my home computer this week and ran into a few
problems that should interest someone in Debian's team. Problem is, I
don't know who to forward this to. But you might :-)
A little background: I reinstalled Debian after messing with a swap
partition left the machine broken (my bad, careless). The computer is
not a laptop. I can't run cables in the house so I rely on wifi.
I first downloaded a netinstall CD, small ISO, and copied it to a USB
stick. As you know I like to cherry pick my packages and I use fvwm, so
my basic install is quite small. The install worked quite well. In
particular, the two wifi cards (of which one is embedded in the
motherboard) were correctly detected and the wifi ran smoothly to
download packages from the mirrors. When presented with a dselect-type
choice toward the end of the installation, I elected not to install a
graphical system. After all, most of the related packages are useless
Problem 1: this left me with a machine with no internet connexion. This
is all the more frustrating since this part worked well during install.
I know it's been pointed out many times to the d-i team, but for my
part I still don't understand the rationale behind this choice. Why
should the connexion part be installed on the system only if a
graphical UI is installed? So I had no way to install network-manager.
In the past, the authors of this excellent software relied on a GUI
being installed, but now there is the smallish nmtui that does the job
from the console.
OK, so I reinstalled. Ah, but there was a snag. On this machine there
are two RAID1 arrays (on two SATA disks), one small for /, one big
for /home. For reasons unknown, both arrays could be assembled but the
second one was deemed unusable by the partitioner even though there was
no problem during the previous install. I fsck'd it just in case, but
to no avail. I reinstalled once again: same problem. OK, I thought I
could take care of this once the machine was installed. I made the same
choices except that I checked the box for a graphical interface. The
package number shot up from 350 to 1400, approximately.
Problem 2: once the install was finished, I could not login as root
from the GUI. I entered the correct password several times. It seems
that logging in as root in a GUI context is impossible (one more reason
for me to prefer loging into the console). Therefore I could manually
mount the RAID1 partition destined to become my /home, but I could not
put it to use since a user was already using the files from the
existing /home partition. (It's not exactly true, I now think I could
have fiddled with fstab and rebooted. But I was unnerved by the
unexpected root situation and did not think of it on the spot.)
OK, so I downloaded this time a full DVD image (the first disk) and
copied the ISO to a USB stick. The install went fine, including using
both RAID1 partitions.
Problem 3: sources.list included a "cdrom:" entry so apt-get did not
know how to use my USB stick to find the .debs.
OK, so I fiddled with mount's options until I had the DVD's contents in
Problem 4: nmtui is not on that DVD1. I know choices have to be made,
and perhaps popcon is not in favor of nmtui. But perhaps one could make
the case that packages that are relied upon to create an internet
connexion should be on the first DVD.
Problem 5: before downloading the DVD image I did try to check whether
nmtui would be on it, but I could not find the information. Perhaps it
would be nice to have a sorted "list-of-packages.txt" next to the
download link. (I'm sure the information exists somewhere, I'm just
pointing out that it's not located where we most want it to be.)
OK, so in the end I hardcoded every fscking details of the wifi
connexion in /etc/network/interfaces and finally got the wifi to work.
Overall, I have wasted several GB of bandwidth and I feel sorry for
that. I also wasted several hours and I feel cheated for that. It would
sure be nice if a connexion that works during install was kept
functional after rebooting :-)
I imagine there are good reasons for the current situation, so I
suggest a compromise: in the dselect-like menu toward the end of the
installation, below "SSH server" (which I checked), add an "Internet
connexion" pre-checked entry, so that users can make a choice here and
be warned of the consequences if they don't select it. (Or, maybe, a
machine that is to become an "SSH server" should have the internet
connexion, no question asked.)