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s390 installation support in Debian 'sarge'

s390 fans:

As you can see from the attached debian-installer status report, s390 is one
of a minority of Debian architectures which are currently not supported by
debian-installer.  Part of the reason for this is that access to create and
reboot Linux/390 guests (as would be needed for installation testing) is
hard to come by for most Debian developers.  Without access to a development
platform, it is unlikely that we will be able to support installation of
Debian on s390 in the Debian 'sarge' release.

I would like to ask that if any of you are in a position to provide Debian
developers with access to such a system, and are willing to do so, please
contact either the installer development mailing list
(debian-boot@lists.debian.org) or myself if you would prefer private mail
(mdz@debian.org) to work out the details.

Feel free to forward this message to anyone else who might be in a position
to help.

 - mdz
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The debian-boot team is working hard to produce a decent next generation
installer for sarge, and we're making good progress. But in many areas
we don't have enough people to do all the work. We're reaching the point
where if some things are not done soon, they will simply not be
supported in time for the release of sarge.

This email lists some well-defined jobs, many of them easy for
developers who are unfamiliar with the internals of the installer to
take on, that can significantly improve debian-installer.

1. installation report processing

   With the release of betas 1 and 2 of d-i, we've gotten many
   installation reports from users. These tend to collect many problems,
   glitches, bugs, and observations into one bug report, and so they
   need to be processed, cloned off into separate bugs which are
   retitled and assigned to the right packages in debian-installer. We
   have over 150 of these that need processing.
   We are hoping to process at least 75 of these installation reports
   this week, with the help of the larger group of Debian developers,
   and so we have written a tutorial that should get developers quickly up
   to speed on processing installation reports. You can find it here:

2. The installation manual is half complete, and we need writers
   familiar with XML to work on the unfinished sections, as well as
   update and proofread what's already there. The manual has its own
   TODO list, here:



   Do you have more than two PCMCIA cards? Have you ever edited
   config.opts by hand? Then you're more qualified than anyone on the
   d-i team to get our PCMCIA support working. Currently it fails about 75%
   of the time. Stealing the parts of pcmcia-cs's postinst that figure
   out what module to use for the bridge would be a good first step.

4. low memory support

   d-i barely supports installations on systems with 32 mb of memory.
   It's unlilkely to ever support lesser systems unless someone steps up
   to work on it. We have some ideas, that should work, but no time.

5. arm, s/390, sparc

   These are our lagging architectures, and if d-i is to support
   installing them for sarge, we need at least one person working on
   each. Currently we have none.

   hppa, m68k, and mipsel are a bit further along, but also need more

6. lintian/linda checks for udebs

   debian-installer uses udebs, which are small, non-policy compliant
   packages in deb format. Actually we have our own minimal policy[1] for
   udebs, which prohibits them having preinst scripts, conffiles,
   pre-depends, conflicts, documentation, etc. It's kind of the
   anti-policy, and we occasionally screw up and put something into a
   udeb we should not. So we hope to get support in lintian or linda to
   check udebs for these problems.

7. graphical boot screen

   We would like to drag Debian kicking and screaming into the .. er,
   late 90's by giving its installer a fancy graphical boot screen. We
   have two candidates, but would be glad to see something even better.
   Note that it's limited to 16 colors and 640x480 resolution, and see
   the syslinux documentation for details.

8. ppp support

   If you care about ppp support for the first stage install, you need to
   put some time into getting it working in d-i. Otherwise, it just won't

9. everything else

   Here is the rest of our "short" list for the next release. While
   we're working on everything in here, it's likely that at least some
   of it will not happen in time, unless we get more developers.

    - fix all beta2 errata (a must)
    - security fixed, 2.4.24 kernel (with SATA support)
        (done for stock i386 (but not SATA, probably?))
    - discover 2
    - partman (fixes many issues with current system)
        initial version available, not default yet
        needs some UI polishing
    - grub as default boot loader
        (done except testing)
    - XFS support in official release
    - 2.6 kernel
    - improved languagechooser (split out country chooser)
        in progress
    - less questions in base-config (using more answers from d-i)
    - better i18n in the second stage
    - improved image names
        1 week to completion (ths)
    - udebs and debs with same names
    - better wireless support
        wireless-tools-udeb is available, but is not loaded by default
        on netinst CD
        no easy configurator yet (Joshua Kwan)
    - BIDI support (for Arabic)
    - subarchitecture support for powerpc and m68k
        in progress

10. testing

    We still need more people testing d-i on more strange and wonderful
    hardware. See http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer for details.

see shy jo

[1] http://cvs.alioth.debian.org/cgi-bin/cvsweb.cgi/debian-installer/doc/modules.txt?cvsroot=d-i&only_with_tag=HEAD

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