[PC-BSD Testing] Add nano/joe editors, and a little bootup help?

sc at sdf.lonestar.org sc at sdf.lonestar.org
Tue Aug 28 18:07:54 PDT 2007


Kris et al.,

This pertains to last Friday's snapshot (and earlier), but since I haven't
heard anyone else mention this, I think it would be nice to offer a choice
of a few widely familiar and comfortable text editors right from the
start, that could be available when things go badly during or after an
install.

The included "edit" editor is OK, but many people probably could work
better and make fewer mistakes with joe or even pico/nano.

Also, the bootup process is still screechingly at odds with PC-BSD's great
work elsewhere at making FreeBSD easier to use. When an install didn't
work recently because an old non-booting disk drive that was attached to
the system "failed" (as far as I could see, it didn't pass fsck because of
1 bad cluster), all the wonderful GUIs and goodness of PC-BSD vanished
when the bootup process tossed itself overboard at a point when not even
joe could run because the state of things yet was such that random cursor
addressing for the screen wasn't working.

The system behaved as if this disk was critical to its operation. That was
far from true, and an easy-to-use option to bypass it rather than
struggling against the system's wrong assumptions would have been very
welcome. Some errors can be addressed much better after the boot disk and
the system are fully up and operational. Forcing the user to solve such
problems at a partially effective system prompt with severely limited
tools is sub-optimal. More than once while this was happening, not only
that ancient disk but the main boot disk too were marked read-only and not
even root could edit the necessary files to get around it.

Some useful messages (understandable to the average person) about how to
bypass this kind of thing are fairly nonexistent in FreeBSD's bootup
process. It would be very helpful to look through the bootup procedure to
see what helpful informational messages and screens screens could be added
at various points, to help new desktop users who aren't Unix gurus when
bootup falls over and throws PC-BSD on its ear in the mud.

At least, giving the user clearer ways to differentiate between really
showstopping errors and lesser errors that could be fixed more effectively
once the desktop GUI system is up, compared to trying to fix things
partway  through bootup using sticks and flint knives, seems desirable if
at all possible.

-rsc


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