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Re: points on future installation disks development

On Jun 9, Sven Rudolph wrote
> Andy Mortimer <andy.mortimer@poboxes.com> writes:
> > On Jun 9, Sven Rudolph wrote
> > > 
> > > My ideas on boot-floppies' future:
> > > 
> > > - rewrite dinstall in C - reasons:
> > >   - more complex input masks and consistent user interface
> > Please check out my Giggle library, which can currently be found at
> > <http://asm21.emma.cam.ac.uk/~asm21/giggle.html>, but will be moving in
> > just under a fortnight[1].
> In general this sounds to be useful.
> >  * Would be able to provide alternative modules for different purposes
> >    (such as a simpler one for a brail interface?), with no recoding. This
> >    also makes the provision of an X-based install much more reasonable
> >    (although IIRC dinstall won't still be running by then?)
> For the boot-floppies purpose we won't need any X interface.

And there was I thinking X would go on the boot floppies. ;) I'm not sure
that this is such an issue for dinstall, but depending on how it gets
split up, some packages (modconf was the example I had in mind) would
benefit from a `native' X-based display.

> The only needed alternative interfaces is simple command-line (like a
> terminal without direct cursor addressing). giggle could try to support
> this, e.g. by converting a message box into a text line and "Preass
> Enter to continue" or by converting a list box into a list with
> numbered entries.

And in fact it did at one stage -- I wrote it as part of the
testing/debugging -- but it wasn't very pretty at all, because I wanted
to get the S-Lang one working. But yes, this is certainly possible.

> > I have no idea how brail terminals work, but this should be possible.
> But as I gathered direct cursor addressing and all the pseudo-graphics
> stuff can get confusing for blind people, so an extra command-line
> mode without any direct cursor addressing were useful.  (A Braille
> display usually shows only one line, so one has to navigate through
> all lines in order to find where something changed.)

Even stronger: a mode which limits itself to as few lines as possible
(for example, menus across the screen rather than down) would be useful
for blind people? Even if we don't use direct cursor addressing, nicer
layout can still be achieved by spacing everything out nicely.

> > Although its normal mode of operation is to dynamically load modules, it
> > would be fairly painless to make a statically linked version (a metter of
> > a couple of defines, in fact), which would also remove the need for libdb
> > etc.
> Right. I didn't stress that we have strict disk space
> requirements. But replacing ncurses with slang should give us some
> room.

Assuming nothing else -- like cfdisk -- uses ncurses, of course ...

> > I don't know much about UIs in general, but I'd be more than happy to
> > help (read `do most of the coding' :) if you ended up using Giggle. I'm
> > quite happy to help in any case, of course, but I know more about Giggle!
> This is a good argument for giggle.



Andy Mortimer, andy.mortimer@poboxes.com
PGP public key available on key servers
I sing of you in my demented songs.

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