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Getting users an easy install without hammering the mirrors.

On Wed, 12 Dec 2001, Richard Atterer wrote:

> But IMNSHO obscuring the links is really the wrong approach!
> Information on a web site should not try to "guide" a visitor because
> we "know better" than him; everything should be described so that the
> *visitor* can decide what to do and get to the desired information
> with the minimum number of clicks. Any "you want to do this and this,
> believe me" will annoy a great many visitors.

I've been doing alot of thinking about this, especially in light of the
information on http://cdimage.debian.org/~atterer/ and I think that there
is a solution that will help Debian's mirrors as well as fill the need for
user ease and simplicity.


"Install directly from the network. Are you sure you really need the CDs?
You can download only a minimal bootable CD image (or a couple of floppy
disc images) containing the installation system. Provided your computer
has an internet connection, the rest of the Debian distribution can be
downloaded if and when needed during installation. "

I think this is great!  It appears to be the best of all possible worlds:

* Low bandwidth hit Saves time for the user (they can burn the cd quicker)

* Installs up to date programs immediately Prepared correctly should
"feel" almost identical to a regular installation.

* Doesn't require additional learning or work form the user such as using
a "build your own" cd program.

* Introduces a new user to the wonders of apt.

HOWEVER, it would appear that these CD images for a "boot CD then yank
from network" install are beta and not fully supported.  If this was fixed
it would seem to be THE way to push users who had a network connection
from their new Debian box.


> Obligatory plug: <http://www.useit.com/>

Damn straight.  Power to the users.

Jeff Albro                                      jeff@antistatic.com

Customer Interaction Consultant                          Boston, MA

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