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Re: partman, growlight, discoverable partitions, and fun

Hi Nick!

On Tue, Sep 28, 2021 at 12:47:11PM +0200, Cyril Brulebois wrote:
>Hi nick,
>[ cc += debian-boot@ ]
>nick black <dankamongmen@gmail.com> (2021-09-27):
>> Marc Haber left as an exercise for the reader:
>> > But maybe an alternative? I find the partitioning step one of the
>> > most error-prone and hard-to-use parts of non-trivial Debian
>> > installations.
>> so overall, i've got to say the feedback i heard here was a lot more
>> positive than i was expecting, though there was a bit less than i had
>> hoped for. but perhaps something that can be touched would see more
>> interest?
>FWIW I've followed the answers to your mail over the last few days,
>but I haven't had a chance to look at either the video or the slides
>(only 4 days before your initial mail and the one I'm replying to…).

Amen to that!

>At first glance, it seems fine to be experimenting with a different
>partitioner; of course all people are somewhere on the love/hate
>spectrum regarding partman and the zillions of partman-* packages, but
>it's indeed a shell maze and it *probably* could use some heavy lifting.
>I keep hoping that simple use cases are made simple(r)… maybe growlight
>could help there (e.g. “I'd like soft RAID1 with encrypted LVM, all that
>with a UEFI boot — therefore ESP —, without being a storage wizard”).

ACK. I've done a *bit* of hacking around partman over the last few
years - it's heavy going and probably the least well understood part
of d-i... :-/

>I suppose some step (once you've experimented on a growlight-only
>d-i) would be to have both partman and growlight, and let people
>choose (maybe with a flag at boot time, or by entering expert mode or
>whatever), until we have a better idea what works, what doesn't, what
>can be fixed, what cannot, and until a decision is made for the next
>Debian stable release.
>Leaving the technical integration aside for a moment, one question
>that comes to mind is whether this would be a one-shot contribution or
>some kind of longer commitment to maintain that different partitioner.
>I seem to remember earlier attempts at revamping the partitioning
>step, which stalled eventually.
>(Your recent mail to debian-newmaint@ is a hint; your apparent
>steadiness of those packages maintenance-wise is another; and your
>apparent interest in adding support to possibly missing features yet
>Of course, one might object that the question is moot as there isn't
>much active development on partman components (even if some patches have
>been submitted over the last few days), but at least that's a known
>(imperfect, but…) beast.


>> given that no one seemed to reject the idea out of hand, i'm going to
>> go ahead and rebase my work from 2012 (or more likely look at it once
>> and redo it) in a Salsa fork of d-i, and make some installation media
>> available. forgive me for likely only having x86 available at first.
>> i'll try to have this done within a week or so, and put it up on my
>> server. people can then give it a whirl.
>Feel free to touch base with debian-boot@ and/or debian-cd@ once you
>have a working proof of concept that some people have toyed with; we can
>discuss how the “alternative” part could be implemented (different
>images, or both partitioners ship together, with some option/selection —
>people might remember GRUB vs. LILO). I cannot guarantee a timely answer
>(life tends to keep me busy), but you shouldn't see a lack of answer
>after just a few days as if people were not interested.

100% true - expect people are busy, rather than hostile! :-)

Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK.                                steve@einval.com
Google-bait:       https://www.debian.org/CD/free-linux-cd
  Debian does NOT ship free CDs. Please do NOT contact the mailing
  lists asking us to send them to you.

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