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Changes for Squeeze in Debian Installer

Normally an overview of changes is given when a new version of Debian 
Installer is released. However, a release has been in preparation for 
something like the past six months and it is currently unclear whether 
one will happen before or after the next ice age.

So here's an overview of the more important changes in D-I since Lenny that 
are available in current daily and weekly built images.

Note that for different reasons there are issues with daily/weekly images 
for various architectures. The images for i386, amd64, armel and sparc are 
fairly reliable. Images for other architectures may at times be either  
outdated, unavailable or broken.

Most of the changes listed below are documented in the development version 
of the Installation Guide [1].

Installation of recommended packages
For Lenny and earlier releases Debian Installer did not install Recommends. 
This has been changed for Squeeze and D-I will now install recommended 
packages by default.

There is an option to configure APT to not install Recommends by default 
(from the boot prompt or using preseeding). This option is intended only 
for expert users who know what the consequences are of not installing 
Recommends and who have the experience/skills needed to cherry-pick any 
desired Recommends after the installation has been completed.

The installer makes a few specific exceptions to the general configuration 
by either always or never installing the Recommends of specific packages 
in cases where following the general setting gives undesired results.

Changes in selection of language/country/locale
The "localechooser" component of the installer has received some love. This 
component combines selection of three values:
- language
- location (country)
- locale

There have been improvements to make the selection of location and locale 
less interdependent and at the same time more flexible. The dialogs have 
been improved to provide better guidance.

When selecting a location, users should select the "country where they 
live" as the selected location determines the local time zone the 
installed system will use. New is that for languages for which multiple 
locales are available, the installer will then (if needed) ask which 
locale the user prefers.

So, using the Squeeze installer it is now possible during default 
installations to say for example "I want to use English as language, I 
live in Germany (and thus want CET as time zone), and prefer en_GB.UTF-8 
as my system locale".

Selection of additional locales to be generated (including legacy locales) 
is still only possible when installing in expert mode (using medium or low 
debconf priority).

More flexible preseeding of language/country/locale
For Lenny and earlier releases it was only possible to preseed "locale", 
which would be parsed and also set language and country. Because of this 
not all possible (and valid) combinations of language/country/locale could 
be selected using preseeding.

This method of preseeding localization values is still supported, but it is 
now also possible to preseed language, country and locale as separate 
values which does make all combinations possible.

Improved mirror selection
The main improvements are better support for installing oldstable and 
archived releases from archive.debian.org.

Other changes:
* only displays available releases (in case of partial mirrors)
* normally displays both the codename and the suite of available releases
* warns if the default release is not available (instead of silently
  falling back to a different release)
* improved checks that the selected mirror is consistent

Option to select the "UTC" time zone
This new option is only available in expert mode (or more exact: when 
installing at medium or low debconf priority).

Changes in the partitioner (partman)
* support for using the ext4 file system
* setting up RAID, LVM and crypto is simplified: it's no longer required
  to first set the correct usage for a partition

Other changes
* installed systems get console-setup (instead of console-tools plus
* [x86] installs grub-pc (grub2) by default
* [armel] support for Marvell's Kirkwood platform:
  - QNAP TS-110, TS-119, TS-210, TS-219 and TS-219P [2]
  - Marvell SheevaPlug [3]
  - Marvell OpenRD-Base and OpenRD-Client
* [armel] support for Intel Storage System SS4000-E
* compatibility support for installing Lenny
  Note that as there is no updated kernel in Lenny, the installed system
  will still get the 2.6.26 kernel.

Frans Pop

(This mail is sent on personal title, not on behalf on the D-I team.)

[1] http://d-i.alioth.debian.org/manual/
[2] http://www.cyrius.com/debian/kirkwood/qnap/ts-219/
[3] http://www.cyrius.com/debian/kirkwood/sheevaplug/

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