[PC-BSD Testing] some installer nits/suggestions

Dru Lavigne drulavigne at sympatico.ca
Mon Jan 24 14:08:37 PST 2011

Here are my notes from Saturday's installfest at my local user group. Some stuff is trivial to fix for 8.2, others may be better suited as suggestions for 9.0.

- on failure, the installer truncates the name of the log file which will be confusing to new users

- the installer assumes one name for the netinstall file; this means that you can't have a custom filename e.g. if your ftp server holds 32 and 64 bit installs or installation files of multiple versions of PC-BSD

- should have a quick hardware check (or at least a message indicating that) if the system has less than 512 MB RAM the installer will freeze when booting

- installer error if don't select a drive/slice still says 10000MB of disk space but the min requirements have been changed to 14GB

- as you try to read the failure log it disappears when the "restart the system now" error pops-up; this is really irritating so the time for that message should be increased, or better yet, not appear at all until the person closes the xterm or aborts the install.

- boot-only cd still lets you pick a non-net install meaning that the install will fail and the user has to start all over again; this will be very confusing to new users seeing that the default is to use the CD/DVD. I knew about this and it still bit me.

- replace "check integrity of installer archive" with message indicating that they should check their md5 and burn speed if boot fails; this check is irritatingly slow and I'd rather have an informational message than stare at the boot screen trying to catch the check before it starts

- need full progress meter i.e. 2 meters, one for overall install, and one for what's installing now

- Users Handbook icon should somehow indicate it is link to online version; perhaps label it "online wiki" or remove it all together; if it links to wiki, may be more useful to point to main page of the wiki?

- would be great to investigate a hardware probe script with ipmi: http://www.ish.com.au/node/1337

- adding code to automatically capture the frame buffer at each screen of install would be great for both documentation and troubleshooting purposes. Screenshots could be saved in same directory as the install log. Some Linux distros do this.

We'll be having another installfest for RC3 and hopefully will get past the installer :-) We unfortunately spent most of the install time figuring out the IBM BIOS bug on one of the test systems.


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