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Re: Non-interactive install proposal

Steve Dunham <dunham@cps.msu.edu> writes:

> Andreas Degert <ad@papyrus.hamburg.com> writes:
> > Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@datasync.com> writes:
> > >  Drake> On Tue, Jun 02, 1998 at 09:48:46PM -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> > > 	I prefer the approach to ask questions first, and configure as
> > >  it installs. If we are spending time to do this, we should do this
> > >  right. 
> > In general, you can't ask all questions first; you can ask some
> > questions, then unpack and debian-configure the packages, but then you
> > still have to do a lot of configuration (using an editor or some
> > configuration programs that "ask questions").
> Why not? If we provide a way for a package to say: I need this
> information to configure myself, a program could then take the list of
> needed information from all the packages (what dictionary language do
> you prefer, what is the timezone, what keymap, do you want a color
> xfig, etc.), compare it to an optional database of the information,
> and ask the user for the missing information before the install.

if you take a static list of questions for a package, you have to
answer _all_ questions, even if in the postinst many questions are
conditionally asked depending on the answers to other questions or the
state of the system (one can argue if this is a good or a bad thing,
but for a simple installation on a i386 it's overkill to ask for the
name of the alpha bootloader, and not very friendly to the
simple-minded user).

> More complicated packages that need very interactive configuration,
> like X, sendmail, etc. should:
>   * Allow the user to provide the configuration file (sendmail.cf, XF86Config)
>     ahead of time.
> and
>   * If the file doesn't exist, schedule, via some yet to be determined
>     mechanism, for the interactive configuration program to be run
>     after the install.  (So the "package" xbase would be "configured",
>     allowing dependent packages to be installed, but "config_xserver"
>     would be in the queue of pending interactive configuration
>     programs.)

Agreed, the last part was my original proposal :-)  (some time ago)



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