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Re: [OT, FLAME] Linux Sucks

On Mon, 2003-03-24 at 13:03, nate wrote:
> Alfredo J. Cole said:
> > (Putting on my anti-flame suit)
> >
> > Mandrake copied the RH installer at the early stages. Even the RH 5
> > installer  would be a big advancement. How hard would it be to "debianize"
> > that  installer?
> the big issue with debian is all the architechtures it supports. I think
> much of the mandrake/redhat installer is not portable to alpha, mips, ppc,
> s390, arm, etc..
> debian is working on a new installer back-end which, in time will make
> it possible to use multiple front ends, including X. In a few years you
> may end up seeing redhat/mandrake drop their installers for debian's new
> one(though they may make their own front end) :)
> I don't think debian would release an installer unless it ran on all
> of their platforms.
> but be patient, they are working hard on the new installer and it seems
> to be progressing pretty well from what I've read. The debian group
> has long admitted that the installer is a weakness, but because the
> current one is so complex it has been nearly impossible to fix, so they
> have been working on the ground-up rewrite. The release deadlines
> prevented this from happening sooner(i.e. couldn't get enough of it done
> before the freeze) so they had to revert to the original installer.
> hopefully this time around there's enough time for them to get it
> working, though I don't know if we'll see an official X11-based installer
> for the next revision, I hope that they have the backend and a
> ncurses-style installer done for the next release.
> nate

A week ago, I was setting up a new box (well, new as Debian - had been
Win98 and RH) and got to try the Debian boot-floppies installation for
the first time in 2 1/2 years. Even after using Debian for 5 years, and
knowing how I wanted to lay things out, I had to repartition the box
three separate times to get something that would work with the installer
- it was being insistent that the first partition prepared should be /,
when I had planned to have /dev/hda1 as /boot.

Yes, it was more difficult and less glamorous than the Red Hat or
Mandrake installers, and I did only as much as I needed in dselect
before I got it to install what was needed and moved on to tasksel and
apt-get, where I am more at home. But I did substantive things with
Debian's installation that aren't really available with the other,
fancier installers.

It seemed less complicated than back when I'd tried to install (with
repeated failures) Slackware 3.1 or OpenBSD, and only a bit more ornery
(because of the partitioning and fussing with modules while configuring
2.4.18-bf24) than Debian GNU/Linux 1.3 and 1.3.1, but installing 2.1 on
hosehead here did go quicker and smoother.

Observations: boot-floppies installation is less glamorous than other
distributions or OS/2, Wind'ohs or even DOS (everybody needs a gui
installer for DOS ;), but it is by far the most powerful installer I've
ever dealt with, partly because of the wide range of things it is
dealing with wrt platforms, choice of solutions and configurations.
Installing an o/s, a network, every device, a multitude of selections of
servers to deal with core tasks, and an even broader array of packages
than any other distribution would consider attempting to touch, let
alone maintain and share on not only the main servers, but mirrors
around the world. Is it perfect for everyone's grandmother? No. But for
anyone that knows Unix-ie type computers and has installed an o/s on
their box, it may be a thinking exercise, but it is definitely a solid
and effective method.
ML Kahnt New Markets Consulting
Tel: (613) 531-8684 / (613) 539-0935
Email: kahnt@hosehead.dyndns.org

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