[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Are we losing users to Gentoo?

On Tue, 26 Nov 2002 21:30:30 +1100
Hamish Moffatt <hamish@debian.org> wrote:

> On Mon, Nov 25, 2002 at 11:48:15AM -0800, Jim Lynch wrote:
> > But I have performed many debian installs with the boot floppy setup,
> > and I found that it still suffers from problems. One problem faced
> > by all dists is that of teaching people about partitioning and backing
> > up. At least the installer says "don't do this unless you're backed up".
> > debian-installer might solve that problem by offering to make all the 
> > partitioning decisions.
> I don't see how automated partitioning avoids the need for a backup.

It doesn't, of course. What it does do is help the very new user to "just
do it", so that he can just start installing. Perhaps this should have
a warning that the option should only be tried on new drives. 

The thing is, this represents an alteration of workflow of the install
process, and also involves additional software which would know how
to make partitioning decisions. I think these changes would be harder
to implement in boot-floppies and easier in debian-installer.

> Things can still go wrong. The power could go down at the wrong time and
> take the partition table with it. The software could be buggy in some
> circumstances, or the kernel is, or something.

Agreed, but that's universal, and your thought could be continued as "and
even if the software has no bugs, an individual computer owner's hardware
could be flaky".

> You certainly shouldn't assume that nobody wants to partition their disk
> manually, either.

You're right, one should not assume that. And indeed, when I said "OFFER
to make partitioning decisions", you can read into that an additional
offer to NOT do so. (This could be summarized as "you misread my
statement"; I would have assumed a developer could read into the word
"offer" the possibility of "offering to alternatively do something else".)

> > dselect, for all its use once a person gets used to it, is not suitable
> > for a new person. Its interface is hostile in friendly clothes as well
> You are not forced to use dselect during the boot-floppies installation
> process.

Yes, that is true, but I feel that the interface of dselect is so bad
that it should not be even offered as a choice. (And before someone
misreads again (that would be third time), I said -interface-, NOT the
actual functionality. That of dselect is quite solid, but that's mostly
just dpkg. The newer a user is, the greater importance there is on
interface, and the more attention paid to its design.)

> > By comparison, boot-floppies looks like kludges atop and beneath other
> > kludges, and I get the impression this is not easy to change without
> > affecting other aspects of the installer. I think that unless boot-
> That may be a correct impression from the code, but it isn't my
> experience as a user of the process. I find it quite smooth;
> predictable, certainly. Easy once you've done a few.

Absolutely. It's a snap once you've had some practice and know 
some things about disks, netcards and other hardware that might
be involved in installation of an operating system.

My concern is for the people who have never done a debian install,
and/or have little or no hardware knowledge.

> Hamish


Reply to: