[PC-BSD Testing] some installer nits/suggestions

Kris Moore kris at pcbsd.org
Wed Jan 26 10:42:22 PST 2011

Hash: SHA1

On 01/24/2011 17:08, Dru Lavigne wrote:
> 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

I've increased the line length, hopefully this is fixed now.

> - 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

I'm not quite sure what you man here. When you do a netinstall, normally
you provide a path to whatever the netinstall directory is you want to
use, I.E.


So, as long as you use the right path, it'll grab the 32 or 64 versions.

> - 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

I've gone ahead and placed this check into 8.2/9 now. Right now its just
a warning, but you can hit enter to continue. For example if you have
384MB of ram, or some other weird amount and it may still work properly.

> - 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.

Done! That won't popup now, until the user clicks abort.

> - 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.

I've added that to 9 already, it'll need to changes in a few places for
8, but I'll see if we can put that in.

> - 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

I added this to 9 this last week, it should be in the next snapshot. Its
non-trivial, so it probably wont be in 8.2.

> - 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

Would ipmitool be a better PBI? I'm not so sure how many people would
want to use it, and if its worth having in base.

> - 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.

Something to check into for 9. I see that QT's GL support has a grab
frame buffer option, I'll have to check elsewhere see how we can do that :)

> 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.
> Cheers,
> Dru
> _______________________________________________
> Testing mailing list
> Testing at lists.pcbsd.org
> http://lists.pcbsd.org/mailman/listinfo/testing

- -- 
Kris Moore
PC-BSD Software
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