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Debian Installer RC1 Is Out 212

rekt writes "The Debian crew has just announced the release of debian-installer RC1. You can find versions of it for 11 different architectures at the d-i page. This is one of the most flexible, modular installer architectures out there. As we near the release of sarge (debian 3.1) next month, it's important that we find and work out any bugs in the installer. Grab a copy and give it a shot!"
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Debian Installer RC1 Is Out

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  • Full RC1 torrents. (Score:5, Informative)

    by eddy ( 18759 ) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @12:57PM (#9913925) Homepage Journal

    .. available at suprnova.org.

    Debian 3.1 (Sarge) Release Candidate 1 - CD 1 of 12 [] ...

  • by arturogatti ( 550637 ) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @01:03PM (#9913956)
    Security support for sarge is scheduled to begin today [debian.org]. Woody users may want to consider upgrading to sarge now, testing the upgrade path, and help out with reporting/fixing any bugs they encounter.
  • In short words: At least - with the bits taken from RHs Anaconda the installer ist "just more fun". Sarge looks very promising, but lets hope the next release will not take 5 years and more again. GO Debian!
  • Screenshots (Score:5, Informative)

    by adun ( 127187 ) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @01:12PM (#9914003)
    http://people.debian.org/~madduck/d-i/screenshots/ [debian.org]

    Because I love all of you.
    • Re:Screenshots (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Looking at the screenshots I miss one thing compared to YaST from SuSE: On the left side YaST has a pane with lots of help text for every dialog. The really big advantage is that it's very helpful for newbies or people who never have bothered about that part of a setup but at the same time doesn't get into the way of experienced users. Just perfect! Documentation whenever you want it and streamlined installation for the know-it-alls.

      I nonetheless are very eager to try the new installer.
    • Re:Screenshots (Score:5, Insightful)

      by base_chakra ( 230686 ) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @02:09PM (#9914291)
      Mods and flamers get ready: I'm about to criticize Debian (even though it's my favorite distro).

      The fact that there are 231 screenshots of the new installer should raise some flags. 231!! Excluding a handful of error screens and progress bars, that suggests that in some circumstances the user would have to field more than 200 interactive prompts during the installation process. I should hope that many of these can either be consolidated or eliminated.

      I had high hopes (too high) about the new hardware detection; I would be happy if these kinds of prompts [debian.org] disappear from the final build. You know the kind... the ones that require either clairvoyance, a second computer for hardware research, or the degree of advance preparation that only the IRS would demand.
      • Re:Screenshots (Score:5, Informative)

        by Daniel ( 1678 ) <dburrows@NoSpAm.debian.org> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @02:37PM (#9914417)
        I used an older build to install a system the other day, and I hardly even had to hit the Enter key. (ok, the system didn't work once it was set up, but that turned out to be my fault, not the installer's :) )

        If you scan through some of those screens, you'll discover that the reason there are so many is that you can take branches in the installer: for instance, if you choose to set up RAID, you get a bunch of screens about the RAID configuration; if the network can't be set up via DHCP, you get screens about setting up the network. A fair number of the screenshots are also screenshots of progress bars, which are noninteractive. (and a huge improvement over the old installer, where you just watched a message like "Setting up the base system..." while the hard drive churned)

        • Re:Screenshots (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I hardly even had to hit the Enter key. (ok, the system didn't work once it was set up, but that turned out to be my fault, not the installer's :) )

          That's the sort of dangerous mentality that the open source community needs to get away from. If accepting too many defaults gets you into a mess, it will never be acceptable to the vast majority of users.

          I count myself amongst that 'vast majority' in a lot of ways. I gladly use Linux on my servers, but find other platforms more suitable for my desktop machi

          • That's the sort of dangerous mentality that the open source community needs to get away from. If accepting too many defaults gets you into a mess, it will never be acceptable to the vast majority of users.

            The problem was that I then ran a bunch of site customization scripts that I wrote, and one of them installed a piece of software that caused all X programs to segfault because of hardware incompatibilities. (non-nvidia cards don't like nvidia drivers, imagine that! :) ) Do you really think that was the
        • If you scan through some of those screens, you'll discover that the reason there are so many is that you can take branches in the installer ...
          A fair number of the screenshots are also screenshots of progress bars, which are noninteractive

          I realize this, and all of these points were implicit in my post. However, this is still a catastrophe. The fact remains that users with certain configurations must navigate a huge number of screens in order to complete the installation. Extremely few users preconfigur
          • let's consider that the average number of interactive prompts is 50.

            Where did you get this figure?

            • It's just an example to show by comparison the severity of the problem. In other words, even if the average number of prompts is less than 25% of the maximum number of possible prompts (a relatively small proportion), it's still way too much--regardless of the nature of the required input. I'd like to say more about it, but I'll reserve comment until after I've tried the final build for myself.
            • 50 is a little high. The new installer's minimum is 10 hits of the enter key and one tab key (to select yes I want to format my drive)

              Now if you want more controll over your install you can select non-default settings and probably get 100 or more. I don't think you could ever do 1 install and get all 212 screens because if you use dhcp then you don't get the network setup promts but if you don't use dhcp then you are never promted for it.

    • Re:Screenshots (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Afrosheen ( 42464 )
      Pardon my french, but this looks like the same old crap to me. When are they getting with the times and making a decent graphical installer? I want to be able to mouse around and use nice partitioning tools like Diskdrake.
      • You use the installer only once (well - at least not very often) there is no need for it to be "pretty".

        All it should do is just work and detect as much hardware as possible automagically.

      • Re:Screenshots (Score:4, Informative)

        by zerblat ( 785 ) <jonas.skubic@se> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @03:14PM (#9914614) Homepage
        Um, in what way are they the same? They're both curses based, but in what way do pretty graphics make inte easier to install an OS?

        There are many alternative ways [linuxmafia.com] to install Debian, if the default one doesn't suit your needs. Debian needs an installer that is flexible, powerful and portable in order to be usable by all the diverse users of Debian, not to mention the dozen or so different architectures Debian runs on.

        Of course, the Debian developers could have delayed the next release a year or so in order to get a pretty graphical installer working on some platforms. I guess their priorities are different.

        • They're both curses based, but in what way do pretty graphics make inte easier to install an OS?

          They make people more comfortable, and comfortable users have a greater ability to figure things out. I think having a graphical *option* is important if one wants to bring Linux to the masses. Of course, I am not really sure that this is in Debian's list of goals, so this may not be so important.

          OTOH, the last two times I have installed Fedora (Core 2), I have had to fall back to the text-based installer be
        • Re:Screenshots (Score:2, Insightful)

          by EvilIdler ( 21087 )
          Windows XP's installer isn't graphical, either. It installs everything
          in a curses-like interface, then reboots into graphical to *configure*.
      • Re:Screenshots (Score:4, Interesting)

        by cmacb ( 547347 ) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @03:25PM (#9914665) Homepage Journal
        Be careful what you wish for. The best Windows installer IMHO was the one for NT. After that they started trying to detect too many devices that would hang the whole process.

        I think the original plan for this Debian release was for a graphical installer, but to be honest I'd rather have one that JUST WORKS, producing a bootable system that can be tinkered with to deal with anything that's not perfect. The new installer, from my experience has improved the detection of devices, reduced the number of questions asked of the user. Once all these things are perfected (or nearly so) I suppose making it graphical will be a nice way to, um, slow down the whole process like Windows does. I can live without it.

        Unlike Windows, the Linux install process is not a monthly maintenance task, so I hardly think it matters how it looks.
      • Have you ever done a headless install? No? I didn't think so. Not every system has a video card, monitor and keyboard attached so a graphical installer would be a huge pain in the ass.
        • Re:Screenshots (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Afrosheen ( 42464 )
          I'm not asking for a mandated GUI installer, just an optional one that ships with the CD. Mandrake has been doing it this way for years.

          And yes, I have done headless installs. 2 of my servers are nearly purely ssh beasts with no keyboards or monitors attached, thank you. No cdroms in either one.
      • Re:Screenshots (Score:5, Informative)

        by pnot ( 96038 ) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @06:10PM (#9915634)

        When are they getting with the times and making a decent graphical installer?

        From http://wiki.debian.net/?DebianInstallerFAQ [debian.net]:

        Question 5: Is the DebianInstaller [debian.net] going to be graphical in nature? / Is there any prebuilt/downloadable graphical DebianInstaller [debian.net]?

        Answer: The DebianInstaller [debian.net] will not be graphical by nature, but modularity is a key in its design. It would allow the use of different kinds of frontends, including those of a graphical nature.

        There is a project underway to create a GTK frontend to the installer. For more information on the current status of this frontend see here [debian.org]. Unfortunately the project hasn't seen much activity lately.

  • by Avian visitor ( 257765 ) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @01:13PM (#9914007) Homepage
    Grab a copy and give it a shot!

    I've downloaded a copy, burned it on a CD and gave it a few shots.

    This is the result [psychicgoldfish.com].
  • pppoeconf (Score:4, Informative)

    by sewagemaster ( 466124 ) <sewagemaster AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday August 08, 2004 @01:20PM (#9914037) Homepage
    I've used the nightly builds (>beta4) about 6 times for installations on seperate occations within the last 2 weeks. Everything works much better than previous versions. No problems when it tried to probe my DHCP internet account. I'm now back at school where my pppoe which isn't DHCP based and obviously it failed detection.

    Thankfully the pppoeconf package is unpacked before the initial reboot and is available after the bootstrap. Ran pppoeconf and got my connection. Still, though, I had to do this via virtual console. For the first-time debian user, they may not know pppoeconf as the name to get around this and will be stuck unable to do any sort of net-install.
  • Well I'm looking forward to seeing this go stable, my experiences with the beta installers were quite good. Really clears out one of the last stereotypical complaints against Debian and all ("installer is an ancient piece of cruft", which really, part of it was.) I'm more of a slackware user these days, but I often list Debian as the "other" distro that I like. But once sarge gets stable, I might just give it another go. Maybe, I might even go ahead an buy a cd set, since on dialup, downloading packages
  • Hey, the main problem I had with woody was that I never got X to install. Did they get that fixed?
  • Debian woes (Score:5, Funny)

    by vuvewux ( 792756 ) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @01:37PM (#9914111)
    I'm sort of new to this linux thing, but there's this directory on my new install of Debian 3.1 called "/usr/bin". It was all messed up when I first went in there. None of the files had descriptive names, and it took me like an hour to figure out they were executables, since none of them had .exe on the end of them. Furthermore, whenever I double click them, they just pop up a command prompt for a few seconds then go away.

    I was gonna delete them, but I got kinda afraid that they might be my kernel, so I fiugred I'd ask. It's ok to delete this stuff, right?
    • Re:Debian woes (Score:3, Informative)

      by killjoe ( 766577 )
      Exe? Just Exe? The proper regexp is more like.

      (lnk|asd|hlp|ocx|reg|bat|c[ho]m|cmd|exe|dll|vxd| pi f|scr|hta|jse?|sh[mbs]|vb[esx]|ws[fh]|wmf)

    • First, it starts as a serious question so the reader's fingers starts twitching when s/he starts thinking of a reply.

      Then it gets more and more weird until you realize it's a quite funny joke.

      What made it work was the lead up. I guess Seinfeld et al could do better, but the point is that you have to think through the path that the readers/users will think when reading the joke. (I've read that artists think the same way when {composing, writing, painting}).

      My point is that software and documentation i

    • by WWWWolf ( 2428 )

      Most of the files under /usr are important system files, and should not be deleted.

      As a general rule, do not delete anything you're absolutely sure you won't need, much less if you have absolutely no idea what they're for. There are countless tales of people like you who invariably, no matter what operating system they are using, end up suffering after deleting stuff they think they don't need. Those who don't end up regretting it usually only do so by sheer luck - until something finally goes wrong.


  • It actually works (Score:5, Interesting)

    by n6mod ( 17734 ) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @01:48PM (#9914167) Homepage
    I've done four installs with a just-slightly-pre-RC1 netinst snapshot, and in all cases the installer produced a working system with a functional KDE desktop (yes, working X out of the box).

    The X settings were pretty conservative, but they were functional.

    This was such a shock to me that I really believed I'd burned too much karma and was likely to be hit by a bus on the way home.

    I can actually recommend using the native installer instead of Knoppix to do a Debian install now.
    • I used to do knoppix->Debian install regularly, but the main problem is that it has problems upgrading kernels. Modules just didn't work - all this despite using knoppix 3.4 which includes kernel2.6 as a default, so upgrading shouldn't be a problem. As a default (or after dist-upgrade, not sure), hotplug is included in the default install. So if you most of the modules are automatically "modprobe'd" even if you miss anyone of them in /etc/modules.

      I did have some problems getting X though, but luckily I
  • Install is a breeze (Score:4, Informative)

    by SST-206 ( 699646 ) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @01:49PM (#9914171) Homepage

    Anyone who still thinks that Debian is hard to install, please think again [thiesen.org]

    A big up to Debian developers everywhere!

    • Anyone who still thinks that Debian is hard to install...

      ...has used at least one other distribution's installer. Much better than it used to be (what was the name of the kernel module for the chipset in my network card?), but still harder than most others.

      Yes, I know the reason: unified installer for all supported platforms. That simply tries to justify the difficulty. It doesn't make the difficulty go away.

      That said, I'm a loyal Debian user. I hate putting it on a box, but once it's on, I have no

    • by cmacb ( 547347 )
      The commentary accompanying the screenshots is both amusing and to the point. I've installed Debian so many times now that I hardly read the screens any more (Windows installs are the same way by the way... why are all home Windows machines on a workgroup called, uh, "workgroup"?)

      Maybe a future version of the installer should leave the prompts as-is, but take the text for the prompts from a separate file that can be edited by a less technical newbie to eliminate the voodoo element of the whole thing. A w
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 08, 2004 @01:57PM (#9914219)
    Here's the summary of the debian-installer from one of the main developers...

    Joey Hess blog entry: http://kitenet.net/~joey/blog/entry/d-i_retrospect ive-2004-08-07-19-46.html [kitenet.net]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 08, 2004 @02:09PM (#9914289)
    ...for the upcoming release (and mostly for the new installer), I have observed that a few of the Debian developpers have been less than responsive to major bug reports (like, big common average things not detected automagically as it is with other distros). This, with the fact that Joey Hess quit as release manager just recently, i.e. at a critical stage of the Sarge release, has me starting to wonder about Debian's future.

    Has Debian hit the ceiling in terms of what a volunteer org. can acheive? I mean, are projects of this size be developped and delivered successfully by orgs such as Debian?

    It took *forever* for Sarge to come out and my impression (I hope I am wrong) is that the installer will compare negatively with other distros installers. This and other config/post-install details that are bad in my mind make me truly wonder if Debian can continue in its current shape.

    Is it because of the incessant splitting of hairs on "political" issues or what, I don't know. But to push Joey Hess to quit, something bad must be happening at the core of Debian.

    Maybe I'm overly pessimistic because I'm transposing my personal non-tech feelings on everything today (I am in the doghouse with the girl-friend, long story), but the bad vibes I got when learning of the resignation of the Debian Sarge release coordinator do pre-dates my current predicament.

    I wonder if Joey Hess did say anything (interview, somewhere?) about all of this. Joey, if you are reading this, can you comment with some insider's perspective?
  • I thought Woody still uses 2.2 kernel? Doesn't a jump to another kernel series merit a major version upgrade?
  • by Jakeg ( 673209 ) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @03:52PM (#9914810) Homepage
    Okay... so finally I was going to take the linux plunge with this. I don't want to use a CD okay, so don't go and suggest I do. I want to boot from a usb drive with a minimal install and download packages i want over the net.

    I want to gunzip the boot.img.gz directly onto my usb drive and then boot from that. As per the instructions at: http://d-i.alioth.debian.org/manual/en.i386/apb.ht ml

    But how the hell do i get the boot.img.gz onto the usb drive? I could do it if I was already running linux apparently, but I'm not. Any ideas? I can gunzip it fine, but I need to write it directly to the usb drive. From what I can find, there's no program which can currently do that in windows. Th e catch 22 is that i would need linux first to do it. If anyone can please,please help tell me how to write the .img to a usb drive using windows then please please do! That's currently the only thing stopping me using linux.

    • Personally, I would recommend using a CD :). I know you said you don't want to hear that, but the USB drive approach is completely new and probably will have a lot more snags than just burning an ISO image (which, if you use the netinst images, is just as small a download as the USB image). I also don't know of any way to create the USB image from Windows -- which isn't to say there isn't one; I just don't know how to do it.

    • If you can boot from CD you could use Knoppix or any *nix Live CD that come with USB support for you drive and dd(1) the thing to it. If you can't boot from CD, you can boot from floppy and if you can't boot from floppy you can boot from HD (using loadlin) or network.

      Maybe you could also try NTrawrite and see if it can write USB disks.
    • My results... (Score:4, Informative)

      by CptnHarlock ( 136449 ) on Sunday August 08, 2004 @06:53PM (#9915907) Homepage
      I succeded in transfering the filesystem to the USB drive from windows but my comp seems to be unwilling to boot from the USB device. Try what I did and maybe your comp will react better.

      This is what I did...

      1 Get the dd [swin.edu.au] utility from here. Unzip it and put it into your c:\winnt directory (unless you want to mess with env. variables [PATH]).

      2. Get the boot.img.gz [ucsc.edu] image from here. For some unexplainable reason Windows unpacked it for me to its real size (ca 123 Mb). Maybe because I have winrar installed? Maybe not. Winrar should be able to unpack it anyway.

      3. Get the bootbf2_4-xfs_iso.zip [debian.org] and read this [debian.org] to be able to unpack it. I like this ISO because it the kernel has XFS support. Choose any other you prefer.

      4. Start a cmd.exe and use "dd --list" to see your devices so that dd can use them. (dd is used to copy raw data). My usb device was I: and in the listin I could read:

      Mounted on i:\

      5. After finding your USB device in the list dd the boot.img to the device:

      dd boot.img.gz \\.\Volume{45e7b0b0-e981-11d8-be69-00a0c9ca4794}\

      6. If that worked copy the unpacked bootbf2.4-xfs.iso file to your USBs root directory.

      7. Reboot the comp and enter the BIOS setup. Set it to boot from your USB (or USB-ZIP) device.

      The filesystem on my friends USB drive is fine and I can mount it from windows and Linux. The filesystem si 128Mb big and the device is 256 so it seemd to have worked fine (since the iso was supposed to have a 128Mb fs). I have one comp that is supposed to be bootable from USB but the USB device (mp3-player) itself seems to not react untill the OS is up. maybe that's why it won't boot? I hope. Hope you have better luck!.. :)

  • ARM version? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by torpor ( 458 )
    Anyone know if this installer supports the ARM architecture?

    I want to use Debian, but not on x86.
  • Be sure to file your installation reports here:
    http://www.nl.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/re port-template [debian.org]
  • ALSA out of box...? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anubis350 ( 772791 )
    While Debian is my favorite distro and I run testing as my primary desktop, my one problem with it has always been setting up ALSA drivers. On the current setup I have now, I just stuck with the OSS drivers, setting up ALSA was too much of a pain in the a$$. anyone know if the stable release of sarge will include better alsa-driver compatability?

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.