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Re: Corel/Debian Linux Installer

>>"Michael" == Michael Stone <mstone@debian.org> writes:

 Michael> For someone who knows how all of that works, it's no big
 Michael> deal. But that knowledgable person will look for and find
 Michael> the partitioning option under the advanced menu. Regardless
 Michael> of the default, the advanced user can get what he wants. But
 Michael> the beginner is better served by easily getting his system
 Michael> to the point where he can run basic apps and feel like he's
 Michael> accomplished something. (Getting stuck at the partitioning
 Michael> menu does *not* inspire confidence.) I've watched people
 Michael> installing linux, I've watched them get confused. This can
 Michael> really be a problem for a first-time or casual user.

        A better system would be to ask the questions anyway, and
 provide the defaults. Novice users would be encouraged to stick with
 the defaults, but would learn that something called partitioning
 exists. Also, the questions can be prefaced with a short explanation
 of what each partition does, why it is recommended it be a separate
 aprtition, and a short rationale for size. (This assumes we have
 tested an auto mated disk partitioning mechanism).

        Education of novice users should be a part of our efforts.

        Non-novice users should have the option of dropping into fdisk.

 Michael> from experience: I've been running a single-partition system
 Michael> at home for a while now. (Well, mostly: I've got a seperate
 Michael> /boot and some extra space that didn't fit into my raid
 Michael> group.) There's so much free space on most end-user hard
 Michael> disks today that fragmentation is very unlikely.

        Not all of us are so lucky. I think that removing options
 because the novice user is too much of a novice to use them is being
 patronizing. People can learn, and a gentle introduction to
 partitioning via the recommended partitions and questions is better
 than an all or nothing scheme. 

 Michael> What I'd like to see is a default installation routine which
 Michael> a windos user can run to get a simple, working system
 Michael> without much trouble. Not a system that's optimum for every
 Michael> need, but one that can drop in as a windows replacement. I
 Michael> want the install process to be a positive experience which
 Michael> leaves the user eager for more. I don't want to see an
 Michael> install process that confuses and frustrates the user with
 Michael> questions and options that don't mean anything to him. As an
 Michael> experienced user, I'm never going to use that default
 Michael> installation--I'll go for the custom install that puts
 Michael> things where I want them. But why burden the new user with
 Michael> the options I want to micromanage my system?

        I thikn it boils down to a philosophical difference. I am
 leery of system sthat assume that the users are too busy/dumb/naive
 to appreciate choices, and proceeds to make choices for them. The
 user learns nothing in the process. 

        The answer should not be to remoce choices, but to present the
 choices in a manner that is positive -- and provide reasonable
 defaults that the user can just trust.

        Frankly, I still cringe at the thought of fscking a 22GB
 partition. Or trying to make a tape backup of one.

 "Justice has nothing to do with what goes on in a courtroom, Justice
 is what comes out of a courtroom." Clarence Darrow
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
Key C7261095 fingerprint = CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05  CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E

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