debian-installer alpha release
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It is my pleasure to announce the first public alpha of
debian-installer, the next-generation installation system for
Debian. Debian-installer is modeled after some of the points which
make Debian so hugely successful: good configuration management
(debconf, in a C reimplementation), good package management (through
anna, whose acronym expands to anna's not nearly apt) and other
custom, sized-down versions of the standard Debian tools like dpkg.
For those who want to test the installer immediately, images are
Feel free to try other images than those listed above, but if you
do, please use the latest version and note the exact version (URL
and md5sum) in the insallation report.
The first alpha is only available for i386. The other ports are
progressing nicely, but the Debian Installation Team does not feel that
they are ready for the alpha release.
Currently, it should be possible to install a fully-functional
Debian system off a CD-ROM or off the Internet without having to
resort to manual hacking, using reasonably off-the-shelf hardware.
The installer still has some rough edges, like no proper progress
bar. We hope those will be remedied when the time for the next
alpha, or the first beta comes.
Debian-installer uses debconf for nearly all user communication.
That means that even though the interface currently employed is a
line-based interface, it is quite easy to switch that with another
interface, like S-Lang or GTK. Those frontends are, however, not
ready enough for alpha. So, the installer does not look too pretty
Other missing, but to-be-implemented features are more backends for
debconf, like a HTTP database backend for getting default answers,
nor are automated installations or replication of installs ready
yet. Those are being worked on, however.
As written above, the installer still has some rough edges. Among
those is a problem with the autodetection of RTL8139-based NICs.
The kernel module changed name between 2.2 and 2.4, and
discover-data, which has the data used by autodetection, is still
using the old names. This will be fixed once discover 2 hits the
archive. Also, if you mistype your mirror information, it is not
possible to reenter that information. On boot, you'll get a few
"Cannot load module" messages from kmod. Those are harmless.
Some areas of debian-installer are less tested than others, and we
would especially welcome feedback on those areas. The SCSI
autodetection and boot loader installation has been tested a lot
less than IDE. CD-ROM installs are less tested than network
installs, so help there would be appreciated. PCMCIA work has not
begun, so if it installs on a laptop, it will be by accident.
All, absolutely all testing reports should be filed as bug reports
against the installation-reports pseudo-package. Not sent to me.
Not to some other random Debian developer. Not pasted on IRC.
Filed as bugs. A template on what information we want is available
at http://raw.no/d-i/report-template.html . The template is also
available in /root/install-report.template after the installation
This makes our job a whole lot easier, since we can discuss and look
at installation reports in one place.
A special thanks go out to Martin Sjögren, Anthony Towns and Adam
Heath, for great contributions in their respective areas. Also,
great thanks go out to all the porters for their suggestions, ideas
and code which has helped make debian-installer less i386-centric
and Linux-centric than it else would have been.
As always, feedback in all forms, be it testing reports, flames,
ideas, patches or cheers are appreciated.
Tollef Fog Heen ,''`.
UNIX is user friendly, it's just picky about who its friends are : :' :
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