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Re: Installation Profiles [was: Re: Reality check!]

On Saturday 30 January 1999, at 16 h 41, the keyboard of Paul Seelig 
<pseelig@mail.uni-mainz.de> wrote:

> Okay, let's be serious again: unfortunately this actually means that
> some of the most obvious installation profiles of slink stay to be
> unnecessarily bloated. 

Giving the size of the current profiles, I agree they are bloated. While they 
are small enough for a new PC with a 2 Gb drive, they don't fit on most hard 
disks if they are some years old.

> It's one of Debian's strengths IMHO to give freedom of choice but we

[BTW, during a flame war with a RedHat fan, he said, as a reproach to Debian, 
that Debian was bad because we have *several* HTTP servers packaged. I 
wondered why he did not stay with Microsoft, where this dreadful choice was 
carefully avoided.]

> oversized default down my throat and i severely doubt that the
> targeted average user would be capable of deciding whether a given
> profile is *really* suitable for him or not.  So why not better reduce
> the profiles?  I mean "less" is often enough "more"! 

First, a bit of summary. This should probably go in the installation guide, 
but I just want to be sure that everybody understands that you can choose your 
packages, at the initial installation, in three ways, from the most difficult 
to the most "we do it for you":

0) vi myPackages, then dpkg --set-selections < myPackages :-)

1) The old dselect way. Even for experienced Unix administrators, with more 
than 2 000 packages, it is difficult.

2) The selection of tasks. Unlike profiles, you can choose several tasks, for 
instance "Web server" *and* "HTML authoring". I welcome any other tasks, the 
more they are, the better, until we have as many tasks as packages :-)

3) The selection of profiles. Profiles should not be too many, because Joe 
User will not want to scan the whole list and should be very complete, because 
they are intended for users who will not want to install anything again soon. 
May be they have a work to do or may be they will not want to learn a new game 
just after the installation. The principle of least surprise say that 
everything which the user can use should be there.
> > > I think it is a very bad habit to first fill up the disk with
> > > redundant selections and then expect the installer to deinstalll what
> > > [s]he doesn't like/want in order to make room for other software.  

Remember that the PowerUser can do it the other way around by selecting every 
package by hand or even using tasks instead of profiles.

> Maybe we should rather decide whether we primarily target Joe User or
> not?  Even with the most perfect profiles i doubt that Debian would be
> a good choice at all for the average newbie.  I always thought that
> Debian was rather meant for competent thinking people who can be
> expected to choose by themselves?

I personnally agree, but we never dared to put it in writing, by fear to ease 
the job of RedHat marketing.

> I think this is a problem of the right choice.  One just can't make it
> right for everybody and it is no good idea to add things in order to
> please everybody (i vaguely remember an article by Alan Cox about the
> town council and whatnot in this context). 

I've read the paper. I agree, management is the ability to say "no". There is 
also a story in German-speaking countries about the miller, his son and the 
donkey. (They try to reach the market in town but lose a lot of time because 
of contradictory advices on the road.)

> > Be my guest.
> >
> Would this still go into slink or into potato?

It can still go to slink, since this is a change which will probably breaks 
nothing (but we had a lot of problems with non-i386 architectures, which lack 
some packages so if you really want a new task in slink, hurry up).

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