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Debian Installation Goals (was: Happy Birthday)

Steve Greenland wrote:
> "Steve M. Robbins" wrote: 
> > >           3) Debian will contain a installation procedure that
> > >           doesn't need to be babysat; simply install the basedisk,
> > >           copy the distribution disks to the harddrive, answer
> > >           some question about what packages you want or don't want
> > >           installed, and let the machine install the release while
> > >           you do more interesting things.
> >
> > Fascinating: ten years on and we still haven't achieved goal #3.


> > I've only been using Debian for about 4 years; maybe some of the
> > old-timers know: has this *ever* been true of Debian install?
> It depends. The number of questions asked has gotten much worse since
> the introduction of debconf. This is not debconf's fault, per se, but
> rather maintainers abdicating their responsibility to make decisions and
> provide reasonable defaults.

Agreed.  Generally I just want a basic default which is working if
possible but if not then not completely broken otherwise.  After
installation I can do whatever other configuration is needed.  I
really like the power of being able to run dpkg-reconfigure with a
lower priority and to then fine tune an installation.  I would also
like it if instead of a preinstallation set of questions that all of
the questions were asked postinstallation with some way to defer
questions of lower importance and come back to them later.

I have not really got the hang of this yet but I really like being
able to seed the debconf database with the answers and then run the
install non-interactively.  This is basically the difference between
someone who installs Debian on one machine and someone who installs
Debian on many machines.  I do both.  One time setups with new users I
am converting to Debian as I was myself was once converted.  And also
at work with many machines already installed and many more machine yet
to come.

> OTOH, all the questions are up front, so that once it starts unpacking
> and installing, you don't have to worry about it hanging on some
> configuration question 5 minutes into a hour+ install.

A godsend!  But it is not done yet.

> That's much better, and that is the problem that Ian M. was talking
> about, so we have, pretty much, actually solved the problem he was
> stating.

Negative.  The methodology is in place to implement the solution.  But
it is not fully implemented yet.  If it were fully implemented then
the problem would be solved.  But as yet there are still packages
which do not use debconf or use it only partially and therefore the
existing implementation is not yet done.  (Yes, I need to do some test
installs and then submit the results to the BTS.  It is on my todo


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