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boot-floppies state

After some discussion I refined my plans for the new installation

Now I prefer the newt toolkit for text menues. It doesn't need much
space and it provides enought features. Does anyone have some
experience with newt ?

Bruce once suggested to use slang for everything. I have no slang
experience, and I suppose few do. So this would lock many contributors
out. I haven't seen suggestions about i18n on slang.

I choose the simple path on the fdisk issue. I created some functions
that call fdisk and parse its output. I can use either fdisk or
sfdisk. Unfortunately sfdisk often makes my machine hang (about avery
third time). If someone wants to do serious work on this, contact me.

I didn't change much in the i18n plan. Basically i18n relies on
gettext, so we need complete C versions of dinstall etc. first.

So the most urgent job is to convert dinstall to C. A simple line-mode
version shouldn't need more than a week. Volunteers welcome.


- rewrite dinstall in C
  - make fdisk callable from C
    - put fdisk functions into a library
    - make a curses/slang frontend for this library
    - Option: sfdisk
      - it has less bugs than cfdisk
      - its author is interested in designing a linrary
      - drawback: it hangs may machine quite often
    - simple hack: a library that in turn calls fdisk/sfdisk (already

  - more complex input masks and consistent user interface
    - network configuration: everything in one screen
    - selecting base directory in one screen
    - use :
      - newt (it uses slang)
      - alternative: plain slang
    - make the curses programs (cfdisk, ae) use newt or slang
      or provide alternative programs

    - don't use:
      - dialog, libdialog: doesn't allow multiple input forms
      - giggle: same 
        (but giggle provides alternative interfaces)
    - context-sensitive help (not yet in newt ?)

  - alternative: rewrite dinstall in slang ? (Anyone who knows slang ?)

- new features
  - installation via serial terminal
    - for blind users (ask Nikhil Nair <nnair@debian.org>)
    - for automated testing
    - use lilo in order to drive the serial line early (or modify syslinux ?)
      (what about GRUB ?)
  - autodetect PCI devices, load drivers
  - autodetect other devices, see hwdiag at http://www.redhat.com/~msf/
  - an extra commandline-mode installation ?
  - installing base via ftp and smbfs (and from tape ?)
  - mouse support ? (gpm, or derived from gpm)

- i18n plan
  - i18n for C files: use gettext
  - i18n for shell scripts: rewrite them in C
  - i18n for busybox (low priority)
  - try to keep i18n and localization separated
    - how many locale data sets will fit on floppy root.bin ?
    - bigger root.bin for loadlin booting
    - for floppies: make extra locale file that can be copied to Rescue Disk
  - assign versions to original and translated text in order to keep
    them in sync (and automatically find out when they aren't)

- localization
  - translate text files
  - translations for the i18n'ed parts

- minors
  - better 'make bootable': MBR isn't that self-explaining
  - extract base system always from *.bin

- rewrite modconf in C

Sven Rudolph <sr1@inf.tu-dresden.de>

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