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Re: installation problems

>>>>> "Massimo" == Massimo Dal Zotto <dz@cs.unitn.it> writes:

    Massimo> having a free day and a spare harddisk today I tried to install a frozen
    Massimo> potato. I installed via nfs from a mirror of ftp.debian.org on a local server
    Massimo> done yesterday. I found a number of probems which I'm now reporting:

 Thank you for your feedback, Massimo.

    Massimo> 2)	the install program doesn't ask anything about the mouse. I think
    Massimo> 	that the mouse should be configured immediately after the keyboard
    Massimo> 	and a gpm started immediately or after installing base.tgz.

 Adding mouse support to `dbootstrap' is major surgery.  Nothing would
 use the mouse at all during installation, so there is no need for it.
 There is really no need to paste things from one console to another
 during installation, and the widget toolkit does not support the
 mouse at this time.

    Massimo> 3)	having tried the installation six times I had to retype all the
    Massimo> 	required information six times. I wonder why we can't save and load
    Massimo> 	a configuration on a floppy without asking everything all the times.
    Massimo> 	The same applies to many questions asked in the second part.

 Yes, I agree.  I believe that the creator of `debconf' _must_ have
 this sort of thing in mind...

    Massimo> 4)	the installer doesn't write any log file. If something goes wrong
    Massimo> 	you don't know where to look for errors.

 I agree that it ought to log more.  Another todo on somebody's queue, I guess.

    Massimo> 5)	the base installation was from nfs but the second part of the
    Massimo> 	installation doesn't have an nfs option. I had to create a mount
    Massimo> 	point and mount manually the same location used for the base
    Massimo> 	installation. Why can't we have an nfs install method also for
    Massimo> 	the second part and use by default the same source used in the
    Massimo> 	first part?

 Ok, noted.  I don't know how hard it will be to do that yet.  Anyone
 else see how it can be done?  (I'll have to look it all over again
 with an eye for doing that.  I've only been around `boot-floppies'
 for a short time.)

 I guess that `dbootstrap' ought to make notes someplace that the
 second stage installer can find it.

    Massimo> 6)	I had also a mirror of non-US on the local harddisk but the apt
    Massimo> 	configurator insisted on trying to connect to non-US.debian.org
    Massimo> 	even if I'm not on Internet. We should try to look for non-US
    Massimo> 	at the same location of main, as happens with non-free and contrib,
    Massimo> 	and only if not found there ask the location of a non-US mirror
    Massimo> 	instead of connecting blindly to non-US.debian.org.
    Massimo> 	Note that there is no way of specifying another non-US location
    Massimo> 	using the provided interface. This is obviously wrong, we must
    Massimo> 	allow the installation from a local mirror.

 I noticed this also.

    Massimo> 7)	the package selection has only two options: a very simple task
    Massimo> 	selection and a the old dselect nightmare. We should have other
    Massimo> 	intermediate methods, for example one where you can select tasks
    Massimo> 	as in the simple method but can also select additional packages
    Massimo> 	for each task. For example with the simple method there is no way
    Massimo> 	to select sendmail instead of exim.
    Massimo> 	Another useful option would be to have predefined packages profiles
    Massimo> 	for basic machine, server, wokstation, home, development, etc.

 I would like it if `tasksel' would display the information about each
 task in a lower window, like `dselect' does; when you move the
 highlight bar with the arrows, the info window changes.  It also
 ought to open up tasks and allow choosing individual packages inside
 of them...  Machine profiles is a good idea also.  (I am way behind
 on the discussions about this sort of thing - I apologize... but I've
 so much to read other than the email.  As it is I don't read enough
 in my books; I spend too much time tinkering on the computer.)

    Massimo> 	Most of the questions asked don't seem at all critical and can be
    Massimo> 	answered by just pressing enter. Anyway I would like to be asked
    Massimo> 	for critical questions by debconf before starting the package
    Massimo> 	installation and after unpacking.

 Not every package has been converted to `debconf' yet.  There is not
 unlimited time available to every maintainer for doing that.  Perhaps
 there ought to be a task force working on this?  Who will buy us
 lunch and pay our DSL bills?

    Massimo> 12) after having selected almost all tasks I found a system which is
    Massimo> 	lacking an essential thing like gpm. As I said before mouse and gpm
    Massimo> 	should be the first things configured.

 GPM is non-essential until the `dbootstrap' GUI can utilize it.

    Massimo> 15) after having configured X with debconf the xserver-s3 asks again
    Massimo> 	the same questions (and many more). This is maybe due to the previous
    Massimo> 	bug in the X configuration. Anyway it is annoying.

 I've noticed that sometimes(always?) I have to run through all of the
 questions again, even though afiak I set it so it should only ask
 once, when `debconf' was configured.

    Massimo> 17) only one window manager is installed: twm. In my opinion we should
    Massimo> 	install by default also some better looking wm. Having selected
    Massimo> 	gnome I expected that also icewm-gnome would have been installed.
    Massimo> 	Again I think that we should provide some good predefine package
    Massimo> 	profile with all the goodies a novice or an average user would like
    Massimo> 	to see. Clearly running X with only twm is not the better choice.

 I agree that a more beutiful WM (perhaps several) should be installed
 with the task-gnome-desktop.

    Massimo> 19) as for the base installation there is no message log. If something
    Massimo> 	goes wrong there is no way to examine the error message.
    Massimo> 	We must run the package installation inside a `script' shell and
    Massimo> 	save the typescript for later examination. This is an invaluable
    Massimo> 	debugging aid, specially if you have to help someone on the phone
    Massimo> 	or via email.

 Perhaps the trick that `script' does can be utilized by the installer software?

    Massimo> In the end, after six failed installations, I could install a far from
    Massimo> complete debian system. I wouldn't say a success story.

 Is it better than `slink'?  Has it improved or evolved in a positive direction?

    Massimo> Note that I've been installing linux since version 0.97. What would have
    Massimo> happened if I were a novice or a Win$ user wanting to try Linux?

 If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

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