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Configuration in general (was : Little things make the initial install experience painful)


I think installation problems described in this thread are (to some
extent) related to configuration in general. Configuration is something
to be dealt globally in a system, this is why it is the job of
distributions to build their config tool.

Everybody builds user friendly 'control centers', which are often
graphical-only. Debian is better because it has a more versatile tool
that can be adapted to different UIs.

However there is always the problems of accessibility. It is true, that
many things could be improved by correcting informational messages in
order the average user understands them. However, the problem i
encountered with debconf is 'i remember there was a question about
this feature during the install, bur what was the command ? what was
the package ? Don't remember...'

Writing lots of software is useless if the users can't remember the
command names... When installing Debian i recommend having a pen and
a sheet of paper to take notes... This is really ugly since i am sitting
in front of a computer.

I have a proposal to address this :
Most users (at least the interested ones), even the more unexperienced,
hover around the filesystem exploring their OS, via the command line or
some graphical filemanager. This is easy because the filesystem is easy
to access.

Therefore, there should be a place where we could have configuration
shellscripts, a 'config' tree. The files in it sould be placed in an
ordered, intuitive way. Don't tell /etc is this place, if it was
accessible to newbies' exploration nobody would have written control
centers and apps like debconf.

Moreover, we could make these shellscripts detect wether they run
from the command line or a graphical environment, and display the
appropriate UI.

These scripts could even be called during the installation process.


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