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Author Topic: Graphical versus Text Installer  (Read 15412 times)
M0E-lnx
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« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2007, 07:32:03 am »

Heh... I was wondering about this... I didn't remember starting such a thread and as I looked, it turns out it's a split.
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newt
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« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2007, 09:05:34 am »

gui installer is cute an all, but that's about it - period.  I like the ncurses installation routine just fine.  Adding more functionality to the routine could be beneficial in some sections (i.e. partitioning, hardware detection/choices, etc).  I've always wondered why there couldn't be a list of mice to choose from with some "generic" options included; even though many of the configurations would be identical in xorg.conf it sure make it easier on a user to select 'Logitech Cordless Click Plus' than '2 button mouse with wheel' but both options could still be available.

I vote for the text installer with some spruce-ups.
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MikeCindi
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« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2007, 09:28:27 am »

I vote for the text installer with some spruce-ups.

here, here...
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saulgoode
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« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2007, 09:59:40 am »

While my personal preference is for text installers, I do recognize some benefits to GUI installers. The biggest advantage is that there's much better support for internationalization with the higher level programming environments associated with GUI.

I am not an expert in this area but it seems to me that options for text-only programming environments supporting i18n (and associated display of international charsets) are fairly limited and, to the extent they are available, have their own list of "non-universal" dependencies (libraries, bindings, fonts, etc) that is no less trivial than those of GUI-based programming tools. Because this i18n support is integrated into the development environment, the maintenance of code for a GUI installer should (at least in theory) be more straightforward than that for an equivalently internationalized text-only installer.

Even if the text-only tools for i18n are available and would not increase the level of "dependency hell", there is most assuredly a larger pool of potential contributors who would be familiar (or willing to become familiar) with the GUI development tools. I am sure it is possible to handle i18n with just BASH scripting, but the code would be rather non-standard and much less maintainable than a "higher level" approach (such as GAMBAS).

My personal preference -- being an English-speaking technophile who loves to see long lists of files being installed, hardware being probed, and whatever else minutiae that is happening on my 'puter -- is for text-only installation (CLI-based installation, truth be told). But, having said that, I feel that providing a mult-language GUI installer written in a higher level programming environment is better for the developers and maintainers of the distribution. As a fallback for cases where graphics hardware may not be supported, or even available, I would of course wish to have a text-only installer (and I think that "English only" might be a fair assumption for this alternative).



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Toe
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« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2007, 03:51:13 pm »

On the topic of partitioning, are there any better TUI options out there than cfdisk?  I did some searching a while back, and about all I could come up with was one called nParted.  It looks like it's no longer maintained, though I found a copy of it (with source) here.  Perhaps it could be dusted off for VL?
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lagagnon
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« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2007, 03:57:33 pm »

Hmmmmmmmmm, I'm not sure how that could work on a dual boot machine. I'd be afraid the automatic process would snag something that would be needed for the other OS on the system.

Exactly. That's why I said auto partitioning scares me. But many newbies don't even realize you can actually have two or more OS's on the same hard drive. And they need to understand that means understanding the partitioning concept. It's a double edged sword: you get ease of install where the VL install takes over the entire hard drive and the newbie does not have to worry about partitions, but it also wipes the hard drive of whatever was on there previously. There would need to be a fairly forceful warning about that!
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« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2007, 04:05:09 pm »

I am not an expert in this area but it seems to me that options for text-only programming environments supporting i18n (and associated display of international charsets) are fairly limited and, to the extent they are available, have their own list of "non-universal" dependencies (libraries, bindings, fonts, etc) that is no less trivial than those of GUI-based programming tools. Because this i18n support is integrated into the development environment, the maintenance of code for a GUI installer should (at least in theory) be more straightforward than that for an equivalently internationalized text-only installer.

I am strongly in favor of continuing the text-based install only. I can tell you from first hand experience that maintaining two versions of the same program is an incredible PITA. Graphical installers are generally not all that much more functional than text installers, and besides, the text installer is part of our character.

Indeed, the VL user base is a veritable Babel, but most of our users' native languages are simple left-to-right scripts that require no composition. That alone is easy to do with cdialog. Besides, the install is only a half hour chunk out of your life, not the whole user experience. Not to be an Anglocentric bigot (because I don't like that), but it is still practically essential to have some grasp of English to compute effectively, and I don't think many lose in the current arrangement.

What we should probably focus on more is providing good i18n as part of the everyday user experience. And we are doing a good job here already, even better with the release of VL 6.0 and i18n enabled VASM 2. Smiley

Text installer with some 'sprucing-up' is the way to go I think. (Re last post: I think cfdisk is sufficient.)
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Joe1962
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« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2007, 04:08:21 pm »

There would need to be a fairly forceful warning about that!
I, for one, was intending to... Grin
http://jjrweb.byethost.com/vl/dev/new-installer/images/partitions.png
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rbistolfi
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« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2007, 04:32:04 pm »

There would need to be a fairly forceful warning about that!
I, for one, was intending to... Grin
http://jjrweb.byethost.com/vl/dev/new-installer/images/partitions.png

That is what we call a warning  Cheesy

About partitions, I am asking to myself if there is a way to offer multiple options like this:

1. The user will do everything.
2. Select one disk, the installer will do everything from here.
3. Select just one partition, the installer will take the control of it, convert them into linux partitions if needed, split it for swap, etc. (I dont know if this is doable).
4. I have some free space. The installer will take the free non-parted space. (Joe already has this option, I see).

I never seen #3, or I never noticed it. I always take #1, I dont trust in programmers  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2007, 04:37:37 pm »

I never seen #3, or I never noticed it. I always take #1, I dont trust in programmers  Grin

Awww....
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incognu
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« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2007, 09:57:00 pm »

I'm happy with the text installer.  It's really easy to use, imo.  Very quick and intuitive.  It's not whether the installer is text or gui that makes it difficult or easy; it's how it's designed.

I don't think I've tried a distro with a graphical installer (wait, I think Suse had one a couple years ago; can't remember). 

There would need to be a fairly forceful warning about that!
I, for one, was intending to... Grin
http://jjrweb.byethost.com/vl/dev/new-installer/images/partitions.png

That is what we call a warning  Cheesy
Indeed!  That's looking good.

Quote

About partitions, I am asking to myself if there is a way to offer multiple options like this:

1. The user will do everything.
2. Select one disk, the installer will do everything from here.
3. Select just one partition, the installer will take the control of it, convert them into linux partitions if needed, split it for swap, etc. (I dont know if this is doable).
4. I have some free space. The installer will take the free non-parted space. (Joe already has this option, I see).

I never seen #3, or I never noticed it. I always take #1, I dont trust in programmers  Grin

#1 here also!  I shudder at the thought of automatic partitioning!  I know what I want to do and how I want to do it.
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lagagnon
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« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2007, 06:37:14 am »

Despite all this discussion we should remember that our friend Joe1962 has probably put in considerable efforts and hours of work into writing a Graphical Installer for VL in Gambas. I don't know how far he is along with it but we do have very few developers in VL and they all need our full support. Maybe we could hear from Joe as to how he feels, how much work has already been done and what impact on the size of the distro the graphical install would have?
« Last Edit: June 23, 2007, 06:41:00 am by lagagnon » Logged

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Joe1962
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« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2007, 07:01:48 am »

Thanks, Larry. The installer is still at a very early stage WRT fuctionality, but the conceptual design, logical flow and interface are mostly there, as far as possible at this stage, anyway. Some suporting functionality, like the multilanguage fdisk -l parser, is done too. Unfortunately, my time has been very limited lately due to work and also before that, my previous laptop had died, which left me unable to work on this for some time. Other VL projects like vl-hot, vcpufreq and the intense development phase of 5.8 Standard also took away my little remaining "free" time. My intention is to continue it regardless, as I believe it has interesting design differences to other installers I've seen.

The current state is that I have set up a Google Codes Project for it and am trying to get it running on Gambas2-1.9.49 (differences between that and the 1.9.47 I was using break the code), before uploading the base source to the subversion repo there. Luckily I seem to have inspired several more Gambas developers in the VL community (a fact which makes me very happy), and some have already expressed their willingness to help out in the project. Guess it's up to me to find some time to get it running in latest Gambas2 now, then get the ball rolling again.

About the iso size impact, Uelsk8s is the best person to answer that. Probably just as important, if not more, is the issue of getting xorg to run reliably from the install environment on all the different hardware out there.


EDIT: oops, forgot the project link: http://code.google.com/p/vinstall-ng/
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blurymind
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« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2007, 07:28:01 am »

All I can ask for is this:

GUI INSTALLER PLEASE.

Whatever we do, I think we need to move away from the text installer now...
i vote to have both. Keep the old installer,while having the option to start the gui installer with a command,or boot menu entry.
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rbistolfi
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« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2007, 09:43:59 am »

I never seen #3, or I never noticed it. I always take #1, I dont trust in programmers  Grin

Awww....

 Grin There is a few exeptions...

Joe, you are doing a great job! I think you are rigth about the true problem is not the iso size, but to have an x-server up on every machine. Is a live enviroment needed to run the gui installer? I see all the *buntus install disks are live, with very few software by default. I dont like it.
Using the vesa driver for the install will work on almost every machine?
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
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Jumalauta!!
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