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Re: Are mails sent to xxxx <at> buildd.debian.org sent to /dev/null ?

> Of course, when you do such things as a new installer, you have additional
> work in porting it. Another choice would have been to use old boot-floppies
> on those archs that are not that well supported by d-i. But it was a
> decision made by someone that all archs should use the new d-i. Complaining
> afterwards that your own decision puts some more work on you is somewhat
> strange, eh?

In experience FAI is better suited to installing older/slower machines then 
d-i. I doubt we need a single installer which can install debian on every 
platform which can run debian. People using debian on older/slower machines 
have different requirements for an installer then newbie endusers or people 
wanting to deploy debian on a lot of machines. A good installer for 
older/slower machines needs to provide the following features :

+ Easy to hack on. Preferably without requiring compilation.

+ Use as few system resources as possible. 

+ Provide a reasonable shell environment in the installer. Helps in
  debugging problems during the install (which are more likely to happen
  on less used platforms).

Some features which are less important :

+ Provide a lot of ways to install the system. netboot + net install is
  enough for all the machines I know of. A lot of older machines don't
  have a removable storage device by default anyway. An ethernet driver
  is typically also one of the first device drivers to be implemented.

+ Provide extensive device probing and auto configuration. Having a
  quick and reliable installer which gives a basic configured system is
  more important then having all the devices configured automatically
  and introducing a bigger risk of installation failure due to kernel
  bugs or hardware problems. Kernel bugs and hardware problems are
  easier to debug in a full installation then in the more limited
  installer environment.

Why I think FAI betters matches these requirements :

+ Uses an NFS root instead of an initrd and udebs. 
  - This makes it easier to hack on the installer. You just modify the 
    nfs root and reboot instead of having to rebuild the initrd and the 
    affected udebs. 
  - Requires less memory as there is no initrd anymore. 
  - Faster because it doesn't require installing udebs. All the
    necessary packages are already pre-installed in the nfs root.
  - The installer environment is much more featureful

+ Uses a preinstalled base.tgz. This again reduces the install time.


Peter (p2).

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