[PC-BSD Testing] Warnings in new installer.

Stephen Weinberg stephen at q5comm.com
Thu May 17 16:53:46 PDT 2012

Hi all, this is my first time installing PCBSD and second time
installing FreeBSD. First time installing FreeBSD was some time last
year and I just installed PCBSD today. I decided to try PCBSD because I
saw this post
http://blog.pcbsd.org/2012/02/call-for-testers-gemkms-snapshot/ and the
reason I had not been using BSD was lack of driver support. So, unlike
most of your testers, I was using the installer without having used the
old one.

The first two pages (locale and desktop environment) were self
explanatory. When I got to disk configuration, I did not realize what
was going on and clicked next thinking I would then be brought to a
screen to configure disks (did not see the "customize" button). Then I
ended up clicking yes and my entire system was wiped.

With testdisk and fsck I was able to recover most of my linux home
partition. I did not give it more than 5 seconds of installing before I
realized what happened. However, I have some design suggestions that
might make it more obvious to a normal user what is going on. Of
course, I am not sure I count as "normal" considering this is my first
time using a graphical installer in a very long time. I normally use
the Debian installer that is keyboard only. I have also used Anaconda
(centos) and Ubiquity (Ubuntu).

These are all just ideas. This is how I would design the user
interface. All text is not exact and gives a general idea of what it
should say.

First, don't pack so much info onto the screen. Provide a bit of info
and a couple options. Example question: How would you like to partition
your hard drive. Possible Answers: Wipe everything and install PCBSD,
manual layout (advanced), Open terminal and configure manually (expert).

Pretty much these are the same options that are given when you click
"customize". When you click next after selecting the wipe option some
text (tbd) prefixed with "WARNING:" and an ok/back button. If the
person selected something else, he will then see the next page that has
the options for what he selected.

When disk selection is done, you get a final page with a list of what
it is about to do. It should contain both technical and non-technical
info. The textbox that was on the disk selection page can be there as
well as what DE you chose and the language. Finally, at the bottom is
another "WARNING:" detailing that install is about to start and this is
the point of no return. Finally, the "Next" button is labeled "Install"
and clicking it starts the install.

What this does is put less technical information and more obvious
options to choose from. If someone takes an advanced/expert path, they
will see more technical info. At the very end, you have a combination
of technical and non-technical information on what is about to happen.

Feel free to comment. Perhaps I am an idiot and was inattentive... but
I can tell you I would have never made this mistake with the normal
FreeBSD installer from the command line. Even if you dislike my ideas,
the installer has room for improvement.

-- Stephen

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