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Re: Reality check! [was: Re: Debian goes big business?]

On Sat, Jan 23, 1999 at 07:14:35PM +0000, thomas lakofski wrote:

> As an experienced Debian user, I'll second these sentiments.  Since
> buzz I've been waiting for the Debian installation process to become
> a (as it should be) 30 minute process, hopefully with some tools
> included for mass installations.  I use Debian myself exclusively but
> have to hesitate before recommending it to others new to Linux because
> the process of getting started is harder than it should be.

improvements can certainly be made in the rescue-disk install scripts. i
think everyone agrees that they're not perfect.

however, the biggest problem is not a matter of easy vs hard. it is a
matter of scale. it takes a long time to run dselect when there are over
2000 packages in debian.

for mass production of machines, there are tools which can make that
faster (see my reply to paul for a summary of the process i use).

> I also am disappointed with the attitude of some people towards making
> these things easier to do.  Is it some kind of techno-snobbery, maybe?

i think it's more practicality than snobbery.

there aren't any 'easy' configuration tools which don't achieve their
simplicity at the price of flexibility.

> Making things easier does not necessitate dumbing-down things for more
> competent users.

if you, or anyone else, can implement an easier way without dumbing
things down then it will be received very happily. unfortunately, nobody
has yet come up with such a thing.

> Once up and running, a Debian system is far more maintainable than the
> alternatives -- a great factor in on-going ease of use.

agreed. and one of the reasons that debian is more maintainable is
because we haven't taken the easy way out and replaced text-file
configuration with semi-adequate gui/menu-based configuration.

> Can some focus be brought to getting there with similar ease?  I've
> been with Debian for over 2 years now and would be sad to have to
> abandon it in the long run because of 'we don't do that' politicking
> instead of pragmatism amongst developers.

there's two sides to that coin. debian's way is to do it Right.  To do
something right is hard, a lot harder than doing it wrong.

i would like it if debian had a "right" solution to easier configuration
(and for some packages we do...look at sendmailconfig for example)...but
i would much rather nothing than doing it wrong.

implementing a bad "solution" now would make it much more difficult
(nearly impossible) to migrate to a good solution in the future.


craig sanders

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