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Re: [gsoc2009] debian-installer on Debian GNU/kFreeBSD

On Thu, Mar 05, 2009 at 07:46:08PM +0200, Ross Cameron wrote:
> Why not re-impliment the installer in a more OS neautral way (plugins for
> different kernel/userland types) instead of porting it?
> That way it will look and feel and act (hopefully) the same as it currently
> does, but now the code is future proof?

Gunnar's description was not really very accurate, IMO. Much of d-i was
already made reasonably OS-neutral by myself and others when we were
thinking about Hurd support, even though we never actually got that
working. It certainly already *does* have plugins for the sorts of
things you're referring to; d-i is almost entirely plugins ...

The hardest bit, by far, is figuring out how to boot the thing. :-) You
need some way to boot with an initial filesystem entirely in RAM, and
furthermore this initial filesystem needs to be writable (so you can't
just use some local equivalent of a loop-mount of a filesystem from a
CD; this is where it got notably tricky on the Hurd). If you can do
that, everything else is likely to be a fairly trivial porting exercise.

> On Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 4:20 PM, Gunnar Wolf <gwolf@gwolf.org> wrote:
> > Please note I'm mostly a mildly-informed-newbie, both in FreeBSD and
> > in d-i topics. Still, I've played with both. Your goal is very
> > interesting and I can only hope for you to pursue and succeed in it -
> > And do it in a generic way, which would allow for easily adapting to
> > any other kernel.
> >
> > Still, from what I have seen, d-i uses throughout the system many
> > Linux-specific constructs (I'm mostly looking at udev), and many d-i
> > components assume Linux structures (i.e. setting up partitions with
> > LVM, using GRUB or LILO as the bootloader, the supported filesystems,
> > etc.)
> >
> > Still, if you are willing to dive deep into it... I know it will help
> > greatly our project's support for other OSs. I don't think it's
> > probable that -at least in early stages- you will get commit access to
> > the d-i repository, and you won't want to be stuck in an old version
> > (but that's easily fixable by many techniques). In any case, I cannot
> > mentor you, but if you want somebody cheering along, count me in :)

Martin Michlmayr persuaded me to tentatively volunteer for mentoring the
addition of mtd support, but actually I'd be much more excited about
mentoring this project if it had a good student. Martin, is it possible
that somebody else could mentor mtd support?

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson@debian.org]

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