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Should Gentoo have an option upon installation between (not using installer, text-based installer, graphical installer)?
No. Just stick to whatever we have now.
51%
 51%  [ 16 ]
YES! Gentoo _needs_ an installation system!
35%
 35%  [ 11 ]
yes/no... it depends on x
12%
 12%  [ 4 ]
Total Votes : 31

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davoid
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 12:32 am    Post subject: Gentoo installer. Reply with quote

Hello there fellow Gentoo users!

My name is Faust and I've been a Gentoo enthusiast and supporter for a couple months now. I won't go into stuff such as "how gentoo revolutionized my life", but more like "how Gentoo can be improved". The ideas expressed in this post are solely mine, I am not talking for anybody else. You are free to express yourself only after reading my whole post, as to make things easier on each and everyone of us.

First off you have to agree that what makes a Linux distribution is TWO things, mainly. One of them and probably of them is package managment. portage is great, it's being worked on everyday, it's becoming better. (good job drobbins ;) )We have to admit that us using gentoo is mainly because of portage being innovative (well.. in a way) and very useful, or maybe we like the Gentoo policy.

The second thing that makes a Linux distribution is its Installer. It is the first impression the user has of it, it decides WHO can use the distribution or not. Now don't come and say "you have to be a hacker to install gentoo" because it is not true. Most of you are new to UNIX and are running gentoo. (this is due to two things: good installation documentation and very good package system).

Let's leave Gentoo for a second and take a look at other distributions and how they do these two things.

Debian has a relatively complicated installation, BUT it's apt-get tools is very mature and usable. Makes debian not-so popular because users are scared of installer.
Redhat has an excellent installation system allowing unattended instalation among others, but its packaging system is.. well... a failure IMO (compared to debian). The system is easily installed. Anybody can fire up Mozilla and check their hotmail inbox in less than an hour on a modern system. And this including reading the manuals.

Now back at gentoo. We already have portage, it's great, tested and true. Installer is non existant for the moment. Most computer users are scared of console commands therefore stay away from Gentoo. It also gives a bad impression in Install fests or when people have the first contact with Gentoo, such as in an Enterprise when the boss is there and the sysadmin shows his ideas. In order to have a bigger user base (more action going on, have gentoo be used worldwide and supported) we need a working installer, why not similar to redhat's since it _is_ excellent, IMO.

Reality is reality. Most users do _not_ want to read and execute each of those steps listed in the excellent gentoo documentation because they don't have the time or simply don't care about the nitty-gritty details. They want that mozilla and evolution running.. they don't care about networking and stuff like that. This type of users is the most numerous of all. The number of users who don't care about `ls' and `rm' exceedes by _far_ the number of users who actually write their own mail client in their favourite programming language. Just think at the number of Win/Mac users in the world compared to the number of UNIX enthusiasts...

Of course, now you can start talking about other distributions and rant... It is not the place. If you do want to rant I'd suggest you do not post in this thread 8O Else I will have to slap you with a 50lB Unix manual.

The reason why I am posting this is because I am working on an installation system similar and based on redhat's anaconda myself and am aided by some people. I am personally stunned after seeing all the negative replies in the previous (locked) discussion. I need to know what users think, but guys, try to keep it on topic... Stuff such as "why doesn't grub work" really is annoying...

If you like to send private comments/suggestions, I am open to listen to you. Use the buttons at the bottom of my post to reach me.


Thanks for your time!
davoid.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This has kind of been beaten to death here.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kanuslupus wrote:
This has kind of been beaten to death here.


I am well aware of that post, kanuslupus, thank you ;)
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 2:12 am    Post subject: Re: Gentoo installer. Reply with quote

davoid wrote:
...we need a working installer, why not similar to redhat's since it _is_ excellent, IMO.

Reality is reality. Most users do _not_ want to read and execute each of those steps listed in the excellent gentoo documentation because they don't have the time or simply don't care about the nitty-gritty details.

Reality is reality. If most users do _not_ want to read and execute each of the steps in the excellent gentoo documentation because they simply don't care about the nitty-gritty details, fine -- don't use Gentoo. Gentoo requires use of the nitty gritty details, since only you can tell it to do what you want, since only you know what you want. Other installers tell you what you want, Gentoo does not. It's simple, straightforward, and well-documented -- if you are intimidated by the command line, you and Gentoo will not get along.

davoid wrote:
They want that mozilla and evolution running.. they don't care about networking and stuff like that.

Then let the local friendly sysadmin set it up. Don't have a sysadmin? Try using DHCP. Doesn't work? Well, you're screwed unless you know your IP, netmask, gateway, and DNS server.

davoid wrote:
This type of users is the most numerous of all. The number of users who don't care about `ls' and `rm' exceedes by _far_ the number of users who actually write their own mail client in their favourite programming language. Just think at the number of Win/Mac users in the world compared to the number of UNIX enthusiasts...

Then let them use Win/Mac.

davoid wrote:
Of course, now you can start talking about other distributions and rant... It is not the place.

Right, this thread should not exist. You are aware of the previous post yet you post again anyway. This thread ought to be locked.

davoid wrote:
If you do want to rant I'd suggest you do not post in this thread 8O Else I will have to slap you with a 50lB Unix manual.

Look, I'm not ranting -- if you don't like the console, fine. If you don't like networking, fine. If you want a distro that works out of the box, fine. Use RedHat. Up to date documentation, decent package management, good corporate impression, and excellent tech support. Gentoo is lean, fast, powerful, and flexible -- the installation process is lean, fast, powerful, and flexible. It's a good match.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear delta407,

I am honestly surprised to see such energy in your reply. But it seems that this quality of yours does not go without your inability to properly read what there is to read :) Let me put it this way: if people all thought the way you do we would all still be using CPM.

Flexibility is power. Like the martial arts master's nifty moves or ability to change one's mind after a discussion: these are results of flexibliity. What I thought is simple: add more flexibility to Gentoo :)

<blurb>

Gentoo requires use of the nitty gritty details, since only you can tell it to do what you want

no, gentoo des not require you knowing nothing much. Well yeah, if you call _reading_ a special skill, then you are right. Gentoo is not rocket science nor probalistic computing :) It's all about emerge --help (once it's set up)

Well, you're screwed unless you know your IP, netmask, gateway, and DNS server.

there are ways for making it easier on the user.

Then let them use Win/Mac.

what if they want to change? should we not give everybody the occasion to try gentoo out? I mean I understand you like Gentoo a lot... ;)

Right, this thread should not exist. You are aware of the previous post yet you post again anyway. This thread ought to be locked.

again, you do not know how to read. The replies on the last thread were very negative as to gentoo should have its own installer and I thought it may be a problem in the way the problem was posed. For the third time in your message you do not want to share with others.


Use RedHat. Up to date documentation, decent package management, good corporate impression, and excellent tech support. Gentoo is lean, fast, powerful, and flexible -- the installation process is lean, fast, powerful, and flexible. It's a good match.

can't you see how confused you are? Gentoo has up to date docs, excellent packaging system, very good impression (unless you don't read articles about gentoo), AND excellent tech support. Whatever keeps gentoo from being as used as redhat is an excellent installer to let experts share their knowledge with newer users :)

Once again, I appreciate the energy with which you replied :)
Thanks for your time!
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find the gentoo installer(or really no installer) the easist and best. I konw whats going on wih it and how i can do wahtwver i want easily. With redhat's installer, i had to hope it would load my nic right, and id have no control over it. All u need to install with the current system is minimal console skills. Ther'es no point in making it hard.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO I think Gentoo should have a graphical installer similar to that of Redhat's. I love the configurability of Gentoo, which is why I switched to it. And I also enjoy configuring the nitty gritty details of my system. However, sometimes I'm in a rush and I want to get a system up and running quickly with X and ALSA working.

For this reason, I think that Gentoo should have a graphical installer _and_ a binary install option. It would be great to get a Gentoo system up and running in less than an hour and re-emerge from source (w/ optimizations) when time permits.

Of course, there should always be an option to do a command-line install; just as the Redhat installer permits.

I get the impression that most people who argue against an installer are just being highbrows. Even if a graphical intall permits more newbie users, it doesn't take away from the quality and innovation of Gentoo.

Cheers
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

davoid wrote:
Let me put it this way: if people all thought the way you do we would all still be using CPM.


Now that was a good system. ;)

davoid wrote:
What I thought is simple: add more flexibility to Gentoo :)

Command line == flexibility, graphical installers != flexibility. If it's optional, fine, but I like having a complete Linux rescue disk/installer on a single 16 MB ISO. (It'll fit onto a business-card CD.) Graphical installers are well and good, but Gentoo isn't inherently graphical; in fact, it is inherently text. The kernel doesn't show panics in anti-aliased fonts, mind you.

davoid wrote:
there are ways for making it easier on the user.

How, exactly, would you simplify asking for IP, netmask, gateway, and DNS server?

davoid wrote:
what if they want to change? should we not give everybody the occasion to try gentoo out?

They have the opportunity to. The lack of a graphical installer doesn't keep people from Gentoo if they actually want to change and aren't afraid of learning new things.

Right, this thread should not exist. You are aware of the previous post yet you post again anyway. This thread ought to be locked.

davoid wrote:
For the third time in your message you do not want to share with others.

Please identify these three times.

davoid wrote:
can't you see how confused you are? Gentoo has up to date docs, excellent packaging system, very good impression (unless you don't read articles about gentoo), AND excellent tech support. Whatever keeps gentoo from being as used as redhat is an excellent installer to let experts share their knowledge with newer users :)

Hmm... RedHat offers printed manuals, industry-recognized certification, and boxed CD sets. Gentoo does not. And as far as an impression goes, I was once installing Gentoo for a client for an outbound mail relay (long story, don't ask), and the owner of the company walked up behind me, watched what I was doing, and said "No wonder this operating system is going no where." Gentoo has no stock symbol, no vendor support, and no where to run when your install goes up in flames.

I'm not dissing Gentoo (I love it!), but it's not for everyone. Keep that in mind.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about we make Gentoo install by using a single mouse click which brings up images of nature scenery and euphoric sound effects (to cover the ever unpopular and inherrently evil console). Then when its all done you'll have a system w/ the latest version of IE pre-loaded with all the most popular |33t h4ax0r bookmarks, reducing the chances of having to type in urls in to the ever cumbersome address bar ;) We can call it GenHat Lindows !

Really.. all sacrasm aside, the lack of GUI installer sits well IMHO with the rest of the Gentoo approach. Redhat/Mandrake type distros seem to work hard at making things "easy" for the newer users. IMHO these distros leave a huge void... one that Gentoo fills quite nicely;) I say, if you want to point-n-click your way to working sound, X, Mozilla, etc.. then install any number of distros out there. If thats not what your looking for, then Gentoo is here as an alternative. Just ask Larry the cow ;)

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 4:44 am    Post subject: Re: Gentoo installer. Reply with quote

davoid wrote:
or simply don't care about the nitty-gritty details.

Chosing to use Gentoo and fitting in that description are mutually exclusive events... :twisted:

davoid wrote:
The reason why I am posting this is because I am working on an installation system similar and based on redhat's anaconda myself and am aided by some people.

If there is such a system available, I'm sure there will be people wanting to use it. Now, the actual installer is the package manager itself...

davoid wrote:
Stuff such as "why doesn't grub work" really is annoying...

Agreed! :P
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, a gui installer is a GOOD idea but it should be very minimal. It should only do the things that you have to do manually with the stage1 tar. For example it should not have the option to install a WM or DE. It should not include an browsers or other utilities/software. Again I stress that it should only get you to the same point of the instal that completing he stage1 does. It should be well layed out and easy to understand of course. Beyond this I see nothing else that should be done for a gui installer. My 2 cents.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Code:
boot: hit any key for graphical install or type expert for verbose install!


plain and simple. can't find the "any key"? you're out of luck. :wink: those will balls, reading comprehension, spelling/keyboard skills or more exp can type in expert.

for the impaitient and/or newbies, an automated install would be a nice option. i'm all for it. choice is just as good as configurability. and linux allows both, so why are people whining against a gui/automated install option?

keyword: option!
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 7:15 am    Post subject: Re: Gentoo installer. Reply with quote

davoid wrote:
Hello there fellow Gentoo users!

My name is Faust and I've been a Gentoo enthusiast and supporter for a couple months now. I won't go into stuff such as "how gentoo revolutionized my life", but more like "how Gentoo can be improved". The ideas expressed in this post are solely mine, I am not talking for anybody else. You are free to express yourself only after reading my whole post, as to make things easier on each and everyone of us.

First off you have to agree that what makes a Linux distribution is TWO things, mainly. One of them and probably of them is package managment. portage is great, it's being worked on everyday, it's becoming better. (good job drobbins ;) )We have to admit that us using gentoo is mainly because of portage being innovative (well.. in a way) and very useful, or maybe we like the Gentoo policy.

The second thing that makes a Linux distribution is its Installer. It is the first impression the user has of it, it decides WHO can use the distribution or not. Now don't come and say "you have to be a hacker to install gentoo" because it is not true. Most of you are new to UNIX and are running gentoo. (this is due to two things: good installation documentation and very good package system).

Let's leave Gentoo for a second and take a look at other distributions and how they do these two things.

Debian has a relatively complicated installation, BUT it's apt-get tools is very mature and usable. Makes debian not-so popular because users are scared of installer.
Redhat has an excellent installation system allowing unattended instalation among others, but its packaging system is.. well... a failure IMO (compared to debian). The system is easily installed. Anybody can fire up Mozilla and check their hotmail inbox in less than an hour on a modern system. And this including reading the manuals.

Now back at gentoo. We already have portage, it's great, tested and true. Installer is non existant for the moment. Most computer users are scared of console commands therefore stay away from Gentoo. It also gives a bad impression in Install fests or when people have the first contact with Gentoo, such as in an Enterprise when the boss is there and the sysadmin shows his ideas. In order to have a bigger user base (more action going on, have gentoo be used worldwide and supported) we need a working installer, why not similar to redhat's since it _is_ excellent, IMO.

Reality is reality. Most users do _not_ want to read and execute each of those steps listed in the excellent gentoo documentation because they don't have the time or simply don't care about the nitty-gritty details. They want that mozilla and evolution running.. they don't care about networking and stuff like that. This type of users is the most numerous of all. The number of users who don't care about `ls' and `rm' exceedes by _far_ the number of users who actually write their own mail client in their favourite programming language. Just think at the number of Win/Mac users in the world compared to the number of UNIX enthusiasts...

Of course, now you can start talking about other distributions and rant... It is not the place. If you do want to rant I'd suggest you do not post in this thread 8O Else I will have to slap you with a 50lB Unix manual.

The reason why I am posting this is because I am working on an installation system similar and based on redhat's anaconda myself and am aided by some people. I am personally stunned after seeing all the negative replies in the previous (locked) discussion. I need to know what users think, but guys, try to keep it on topic... Stuff such as "why doesn't grub work" really is annoying...

If you like to send private comments/suggestions, I am open to listen to you. Use the buttons at the bottom of my post to reach me.


Thanks for your time!
davoid.


We have to try gtk+ or qt ( framebuffer )
It can be a nice idea...
What do you say?
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

as already stated in the mentioned thread: if someone has time left and nothing more helpful to do for gentoo, he might take a thought about a better "installer" - but building more ebuilds or keeping important ones up2date seems much more important to me.

either you install gentoo once on every machine and keep updating for (hopefully) years without new installation, there's no need to have an installer. and if you install it on many machines: once you know how to do it you are quite fast the way it is :)
or someone isn't (intellectually) able to follow the installation how-to .. well, how will he be using linux anyway? :twisted:

* ElCondor pasa *
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

elcondor wrote:
as already stated in the mentioned thread: if someone has time left and nothing more helpful to do for gentoo, he might take a thought about a better "installer" - but building more ebuilds or keeping important ones up2date seems much more important to me.

either you install gentoo once on every machine and keep updating for (hopefully) years without new installation, there's no need to have an installer. and if you install it on many machines: once you know how to do it you are quite fast the way it is :)
or someone isn't (intellectually) able to follow the installation how-to .. well, how will he be using linux anyway? :twisted:

* ElCondor pasa *


But a text-installer will be great ;-)
Like the old RedHat or 5.2 installer.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moving this thread to Gentoo Suggestions. It has already been flogged to death, as kanuslupus pointed out. I'm not sure I see the difference between this thread and the other one?

--kurt
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've held out on this debate for a while, so I hope this doesn't turn into a rant. Personally, I prefer the current install.

That being said, the inevitable 'split' of the bleeding edge Gentoo and the stable/server Gentoo would be a very easy way to differentiate who gets a graphical install and who doesn't. If both will be freely available, it would be trivial for someone who wants a graphical install to download stable-Gentoo and unmask whatever stable protections they put in to convert it to bleeding edge. Vice versa - for admins that want stable/server but want a text install it shouldn't be a pain to include that as an *option* (as stated above and a hundred million other times both here and on /. comments). BleedingEdge-Gentoo should default to the current 16mb ISO install. Period. (which to me isn't even really an install... it's all done in more or less the same way you use your system everyday with some extra setup/config type things. As far as I'm concerned it's just the first time you use Gentoo.). This makes perfect sense to me.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that Linux should be accessible to the masses. I'll agree with both delta407 and davoid in that yes, Gentoo is heavier on knowledge requirements than other distros, but all you *really* have to be able to do to _install_ is read and follow directions. Honestly. Should all shiny new Linux newbies use Gentoo? Probably not. But there's absolutely no harm in making it slightly more accesible as long as it doesn't distort what the current userbase started using it for in the first place (and the concept and vision behind the distro). If they install it easily but can't handle it, they'll move on to another distro. Once they're experienced they'll start craving something more flexible and powerful than Red Hat or Mandrake and they'll come back. And to be perfectly honest, after the past week of Terrible Microsoft Things (Palladium/DRM, Windows Media Player/DRM, shutting down Mame-X (before I could download it :), etc.), I hope that the Linux userbase has a massive growth spurt.

Anyhoo, just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Shoot, this did turn into a rant.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

davoid wrote:
no, gentoo des not require you knowing nothing much. Well yeah, if you call _reading_ a special skill, then you are right. Gentoo is not rocket science nor probalistic computing :) It's all about emerge --help (once it's set up)

I couldn't disagree with this assertion more. Let me give you an example. Yes, emerge --help config tells you that you have to update your /etc files, but as the Guest user pointed out, it doesn't tell you how to update those files. What if you don't know about diff?

Gentoo does require you to know a great deal. Certainly a lot more than Mandrake, RedHat or even Debian do.

davoid wrote:
what if they want to change? should we not give everybody the occasion to try gentoo out?

What, specifically, about the current system prevents people from trying out Gentoo now? As you pointed out, all they have to do is read.

davoid wrote:
This thread ought to be locked.

Something which I'm certainly considering doing. (and yes, I let myself get sucked into this thread as well. Sue me for having a strong opinion on the subject)

davoid wrote:
again, you do not know how to read.

Keep the personal barbs to a minimum, please.

davoid wrote:
Whatever keeps gentoo from being as used as redhat is an excellent installer

Gentoo has an excellent installer. What about it don't you like? You made an earlier statement that I don't necessarily agree with, but let's say I do for the sake of argument:

davoid wrote:
Most of you are new to UNIX and are running gentoo. (this is due to two things: good installation documentation and very good package system).

OK, so newbies are already able to install and use Gentoo. What are you proposing to change?


Some general comments: Right now, Gentoo has a functional, light weight, smooth install process. It's pretty damn easy to follow, especially considering the excellent documentation. So far, no one has posted any compelling reason why that needs to change significantly. A GUI? Why? That will require more system resources, take up more CPU power during the install process that could otherwise be devoted to compiling programs and provide little/no value over a traditional text-based install.

Make the install easier for newbies? Again, why? When they get into the "real" gentoo, it's certainly not going to be as easy. IMO, the install process should require the same skill-set that actual Gentoo administration does. And, to paraphrase Davoid, that means that, as long as you can read, the current install process is Just Fine.

Final question. And I consider this to be the most important question. Which is more important? Making the Gentoo install process as simple as possible or fixing bugs in the existing system, adding ebuilds, improving portage, etc? Given that the current install process works fine (as long as you can read) I fail to understand why devoting limited developer resources to a candy-coated install process is a Good Thing.

--kurt
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2002 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Folks, at the request of Davoid, I'm locking this thread. This topic has been kicked around significantly and there are no new ideas being discussed here.

--kurt
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