Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 31st Aug 2007 08:35 UTC, submitted by lomax
FreeBSD "Welcome to the home page of the finstall project, accepted for Google's Summer of Code 2007. This project aims to create a user-friendly graphical installer for FreeBSD & FreeBSD-derived systems. The project should yield something usable for 7.0-RELEASE, but the intention is to keep it as a "second" installer system during 7.x, alongside sysinstall. In any case, sysinstall will be kept for architectures not supported by finstall (e.g. all except i386 and amd64)." A first version has been released.
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Looks good
by Laurence on Fri 31st Aug 2007 09:12 UTC
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

I've never had a problem with text installers, but hopefully this will pinch some OSX / Windows users who may have been intimidated by BSD before.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Looks good
by Oliver on Fri 31st Aug 2007 11:06 UTC in reply to "Looks good"
Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

It's not per se a graphical installer. This is one possible frontend, so it's possible to use a ncurses frontend. Important is the different backend of this installer, which offers new possibilities.

Reply Score: 5

Nice to meet you...
by toomany on Fri 31st Aug 2007 09:40 UTC
toomany
Member since:
2005-11-09

Really a very good installer (only watching the screenshots). But the possibility to use, from the install, gmirror or ZFS, is a very great surprise (I don't know now if 7.0 sysinstall will be able to make this).
From here: thanks to Ivan Voras.

Reply Score: 5

Nice, but why?
by theraven1982 on Fri 31st Aug 2007 09:41 UTC
theraven1982
Member since:
2007-06-17

Although I admire the effort, this is mostly interesting for less 'technical' users... which are better served with PC-BSD or DesktopBSD. Sysinstall has its shortcomings, but it's proven/reliable/stable.

It looks really great, but I can't help but think it could be better when they would work together with the PC-BSD/DesktopBSD guys. At least they have the same goals.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Nice, but why?
by Daniel Seuffert on Fri 31st Aug 2007 13:19 UTC in reply to "Nice, but why?"
Daniel Seuffert Member since:
2005-08-02

I'm sorry but speaking for DesktopBSD (and PC-BSD as well in absence of Antik, Kris Moore, Charles Landemaine or anybody else from there) I can tell you the concept of finstall is totally different from those of DesktopBSD and PC-BSD and I cannot see any benefit of mixing ideas or the like. finstall aims to be a long term replacement of the aged sysinstall as a general purpose installer including PXE etc., the idea of an installer for a DesktopBSD-FreeBSD-project is totally different, see the upcoming DesktopBSD 1,6 release or RC3 yet with a graphical Grub-menu etc. It's not only the mere size or using kdebase and Qt, it's about matching specific demands and not general purpose.

I will not go in any technical details here because this place is not appropriate imho but I think you got the message.

Best regards, Daniel

Reply Score: 6

Keep on the good work!
by plepser on Fri 31st Aug 2007 09:57 UTC
plepser
Member since:
2007-08-08

I think developers should stick to FreeBSD as close as possible. No need for BSD forks, distro's etc..

Additions and plugins like these guys do can be integrated in the base system and make FreeBSD better and better.

Projects as these make PC-BSD and DesktopBSD superfluous. I am thankful for that!

Reply Score: 4

RE: Keep on the good work!
by stormloss on Fri 31st Aug 2007 11:09 UTC in reply to "Keep on the good work!"
stormloss Member since:
2005-08-03

What are these mysterious benign "developers" as you refer to them as? system code hackers?! system box builders?! what?

PC-BSD is a project based on FreeBSD with a KDE GUI that aims to work out of the box for end users with support, what is the animus against that?

End users need as much choice as they can get
from the MS bottle neck.
These vague "developers" as you call them will use what ever tool they so desire anyway.

How can any project (be it Finstall, DesktopBSD, PC_BSD) that makes long repetitive tasks easy be called "superfluous"?
Maybe in your mind it offends the oh so great UNIX godz for purity, but has no basis in reality.

Go ahead mod me down with your multiple accounts pseudonyms ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE: Keep on the good work!
by Oliver on Fri 31st Aug 2007 11:10 UTC in reply to "Keep on the good work!"
Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

>Projects as these make PC-BSD and DesktopBSD superfluous.

I'm sorry but your saying too. Both of them AREN'T FORKS or different from FreeBSD in any way. PC-BSD e.g. is just offering an OPTIONAL way of installing software. Both of them are 100% FreeBSD and offering just a bunch of preinstalled software together with some frontends for common tools of FreeBSD.
These "flavours" don't do any harm to FreeBSD, but spreading FUD because of a massive lack of knowledge will kill an operating system in the long run!

Reply Score: 4

RE: Keep on the good work!
by happycamper on Fri 31st Aug 2007 11:28 UTC in reply to "Keep on the good work!"
happycamper Member since:
2006-01-01

Additions and plugins like these guys do can be integrated in the base system and make FreeBSD better and better.

Not many users are going to like this type of additions,plugins added to FreeBSD and I'm one of them. I don't like OS that are getting dumb-down with easy system configuration GUI menus,installers. FreeBSD is one of my main OS, if they are going down this path, it's going to be remove from my hard drive in a heartbeat.

Edited 2007-08-31 11:34

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Keep on the good work!
by Laurence on Fri 31st Aug 2007 12:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Keep on the good work!"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I think you're being a tad judgmental there. Even if FreeBSD does have a 'dumbed down' installer, it's an addition to the usual setup rather than a replacement (and not even the default either).

Plus systems like FreeBSD will always be configurable via the .conf files (at al) which you have to do now anyway. So as dumbed down as it may or may not get - you're not going to loose functionality.

Personally though, I can't see any justification in your paranoia. FreeBSD will never try to compete with the likes of the desktop focused BSD packages or any of the number of laymans Linux distros.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Keep on the good work!
by happycamper on Sat 1st Sep 2007 00:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Keep on the good work!"
happycamper Member since:
2006-01-01

I hope FreeBSD does not follow the path of Ubuntu

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Keep on the good work!
by Doc Pain on Sun 2nd Sep 2007 15:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Keep on the good work!"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"I hope FreeBSD does not follow the path of Ubuntu"

Why not? Ubuntu has better i18n then PC-BSD or DesktopBSD and is more popular. But oh, wait! It cannot! FreeBSD is "just" an OS while Ubuntu is a Linux distribution! Fine difference. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Keep on the good work!
by hamster on Tue 4th Sep 2007 08:36 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Keep on the good work!"
hamster Member since:
2006-10-06

Ubuntu being most popular measured how? User base? Downloads?

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Keep on the good work!
by Doc Pain on Tue 4th Sep 2007 22:50 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Keep on the good work!"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"Ubuntu being most popular measured how? User base? Downloads?"

Did I claim "most popular"? I really didn't mean that. I just wanted to state that good preconfigured Linux systems with good i18n and shiny installers are more popular - at least here in Germany - than "old fashioned OS only discs" like FreeBSD is. Let me explain in a few words.

People expect immediate success without having to know everything. Ubuntu provides such a solution, but the same does SuSE, Fedora or Red Hat Linux.

Please excuse that I do not know that much about the various Linux distributions because I do not use Linux on a daily basis. I did just judge from my very individual impressions here. I know many users having no problems with Ubuntu - in difference to "problems" with FreeBSD, such as now knowing the english language, not knowing what to do, not willing to read the available german documentation, expecting defective and outdated (I mean really outdated and strangely assembled) hardware to work out of the box, or getting english error messages while a german KDE is installed... such "problems". Linux seems to handle these "problems" in a more newbie friendly way.

Reply Score: 2

/ on ZFS
by vermaden on Fri 31st Aug 2007 11:37 UTC
vermaden
Member since:
2006-11-18

It is even now possible to use ZFS on / file system [1] in FreeBSD, you only need small [128mb] UFS2 /boot partition for kernel and boot process.

This installer should give such an option in install process, along with graid3/graid5 setups mirror/stripe and all other FS combinations.

Packages can be added later but this is critical for a installer to provide such options.

[1] http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-fs/2007-April/002933.htm...

Reply Score: 5

RE: / on ZFS
by Luis on Fri 31st Aug 2007 13:52 UTC in reply to "/ on ZFS"
Luis Member since:
2006-04-28

The screenshot says something strange about ZFS:

"Don't choose ZFS if you have less than 1 GB of memory on the machine"

Anyone has any idea of why do you need 1 GB of memory to use ZFS?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: / on ZFS
by vermaden on Fri 31st Aug 2007 16:07 UTC in reply to "RE: / on ZFS"
vermaden Member since:
2006-11-18

ZFS generally likes RAM, check these:
http://wiki.freebsd.org/ZFSTuningGuide
http://mail.opensolaris.org/pipermail/zfs-discuss/2006-April/031451...

also about ZFS for / in FreeBSD:
http://wiki.freebsd.org/ZFSOnRoot

You can also check ZFS/UFS tests/benchmarks that I have done recently:
http://bsdforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=51827

Edited 2007-08-31 16:15

Reply Score: 5

Configuration
by dimosd on Fri 31st Aug 2007 12:02 UTC
dimosd
Member since:
2006-02-10

I would also like to see some optional rudimentary configuration on the installer. Nothing fancy, just a checklist of things to enable on rc.conf e.g. clear /tmp on boot, maybe enable a service.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Configuration
by Flatland_Spider on Fri 31st Aug 2007 13:41 UTC in reply to "Configuration"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

That would be very nice. I'm not afraid of the command line, but the more that can be done from the installer to have a fully configured system after reboot the better.

It would also be helpful if it would have options for adding scripts from /usr/local/etc/rc.d to rc.conf as well. Newbies may not know that added apps put scripts there, and they don't have default lines in rc.conf.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Configuration
by Doc Pain on Sun 2nd Sep 2007 14:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Configuration"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"It would also be helpful if it would have options for adding scripts from /usr/local/etc/rc.d to rc.conf as well. Newbies may not know that added apps put scripts there, and they don't have default lines in rc.conf."

This is correct because of the separation between OS and added applications or services. OS parts are controlled via /etc/rc.conf and the respective /etc/rc.d/* scripts. Local additions reside in /usr/local/etc/rc.d/*, maybe there could be an /usr/local/etc/rc.conf for locally installed services? Usually, you configure local service foo via /usr/local/etc/foo.conf and start / restart / stop it via /usr/local/etc/rc.d/foo.sh followed by the desired parameter.

Of course, FreeBSD preconfiguration and example section (e. g. /etc/defaults/rc.conf, man rc.conf) cannot handle every idea of rc options an additional piece of software that does not belong to the OS itself could have.

NB: FreeBSD is "just" an OS, not a Linux-like OS + applications distributions (such as PC-BSD and DesktopBSD are, built upon FreeBSD OS). Cannot say it often enough. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Configuration
by phoenix on Mon 3rd Sep 2007 19:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Configuration"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

It would also be helpful if it would have options for adding scripts from /usr/local/etc/rc.d to rc.conf as well. Newbies may not know that added apps put scripts there, and they don't have default lines in rc.conf.


An OS installer should do nothing more than install the OS. All OS configuration should be done via the standard OS tools once the OS has been installed and booted.

Why do people keep trying to cram everything under the sun into an install tool?

An installer should let you partition the disk, configure the boot loader, select which parts of the OS to install, then copy bits to the disk.

It shouldn't include configuration tools for applications.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Configuration
by Doc Pain on Tue 4th Sep 2007 22:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Configuration"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"An OS installer should do nothing more than install the OS. All OS configuration should be done via the standard OS tools once the OS has been installed and booted."

These standard tools are sysinstall and your favourite text editor, in most cases. Of course I agree here. Because FreeBSD is "just" an OS, the installer should care about the OS and its settings, not the settings of additional applications.

"Why do people keep trying to cram everything under the sun into an install tool?"

I think this is because users (average ones) cannot see a difference between an OS (which FreeBSD is) and a distribution containing an OS and additional software (which PC-BSD or DesktopBSD are, using the FreeBSD OS). They want to install one medium, run through an installation procedure, and assume to have a full featured, preconfigured and automatically reconfigured system - a unit containing of OS and applications.

"An installer should let you partition the disk, configure the boot loader, select which parts of the OS to install, then copy bits to the disk.

It shouldn't include configuration tools for applications."


To be honest - it cannot include them. The maintainers of the OS and its installer do not have the time to care about every installable piece of software existing out there. So why should the OS installer care? Every additional software should provice a setup tool belonging to this particular piece of software.

Use one tool per task. Use the right tool.

Installation is one thing (package management tools provided by the OS in order to install or update installeble software), configuration is another thing which is best kept inside the respective installable software.

Reply Score: 2

Keep on the good work! (2)
by plepser on Fri 31st Aug 2007 12:02 UTC
plepser
Member since:
2007-08-08

Of course I know that PC-BSD and DesktopBSD are pure FreeBSD. The point I want to make is that, if it is only about a new installer (OS, ports, packages or PBI), then why not create an add-on in stead of a new name (fork, distro or whatever)?

I really did not say that Finstall is superfluous. Such an installer can easily be adopted by FreeBSD, which I like (but do not need). Tools are welcome!

Furthermore I want to say that I tried PC-BSD several times. PBI's are mostly dated, not in every language, or not available at all, so you need ports and/or packages next to PBI's. Then I do not see the advantage...

Edited 2007-08-31 12:08

Reply Score: 2

RE: Keep on the good work! (2)
by Oliver on Fri 31st Aug 2007 13:27 UTC in reply to " Keep on the good work! (2)"
Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

Finstall is an option too, not a must.

>Furthermore I want to say that I tried PC-BSD several times.

I did not talk of an advantage, I just mentioned the optional character of this technology. So there is actually no "harm" if you don't like it.

Reply Score: 2

Nice
by sonic2000gr on Fri 31st Aug 2007 12:39 UTC
sonic2000gr
Member since:
2007-05-20

It is nice to have a graphical installer for FreeBSD. It is something that is missing, and sysinstall though good for us veterans ;) may intimidate new users. I just hope there is always the option for a text based install, since sometimes I install FreeBSD on systems that possibly can not handle graphic installers.
As for PC-BSD and DesktopBSD, I have never used the latter, but PC-BSD is an impressive work on top of FreeBSD and deserves some credit.

Reply Score: 4

Extended partition?
by Temcat on Fri 31st Aug 2007 13:33 UTC
Temcat
Member since:
2005-10-18

Can it install on an extended partition yet?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Extended partition?
by rcsteiner on Fri 31st Aug 2007 20:51 UTC in reply to "Extended partition?"
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

I hope so. Requiring a primary is sooooo 1980's. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Extended partition?
by Soulbender on Mon 3rd Sep 2007 12:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Extended partition?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

limiting "primary" partitions to 4 and using an ungodly hack like extended partitions is so 1970's.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Extended partition?
by J-freebsd_98 on Sat 1st Sep 2007 02:15 UTC in reply to "Extended partition?"
J-freebsd_98 Member since:
2006-01-01

my very first install of bsd put 2 of the three
(/var /tmp /usr) within free space within an
extended partition.(1) Kept it that way until I moved
the os and Windows98 to a larger disk
.........
(1) the fourth being / (root) which shared a
"slice" with whichever of the 3 above, was not in the extended
partition. (that slice between (c:) and (d:)
at that time)
....

Reply Score: 1

Features..
by Flatland_Spider on Fri 31st Aug 2007 13:54 UTC
Flatland_Spider
Member since:
2006-09-01

I was looking at the screenshots, and it looks nice. The only thing I would ask for is a way to see what is installing. The progress bar is nice, but I would like to see what it is installing, and maybe has installed, in addition to the progress bar. I'd like a verbose mode.

Is there a way to add ports or pkgs from the installer? That would be nice.

It's been mentioned, but I'll mention it again. A quick way to edit loader.conf and rc.conf would be nice, or just a way to load files onto the new OS in order to customize it.

Now that I think about it, a little profile tool would be cool. Profile a computer then have the installer read the profile and set the new system up similar.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Features..
by Doc Pain on Sun 2nd Sep 2007 14:48 UTC in reply to "Features.."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"I was looking at the screenshots, and it looks nice. The only thing I would ask for is a way to see what is installing. The progress bar is nice, but I would like to see what it is installing, and maybe has installed, in addition to the progress bar. I'd like a verbose mode."

The traditional sysinstall offers this option using the second VT. Personally, I like the idea of having some information about installation progress, so you can see where problems may occur. "Error during installation. Exiting." is not an option here. :-)

"Is there a way to add ports or pkgs from the installer? That would be nice."

Ports: May be problematic. These require a running build facility (make, cc, as, ld etc.), and the network up (in order to update before make).

Packages: No problem, sysinstall already does offer this ability to install additional software at install time.

"It's been mentioned, but I'll mention it again. A quick way to edit loader.conf and rc.conf would be nice, or just a way to load files onto the new OS in order to customize it."

Check out "local additions" in sysinstall. This entry allows customization. You can even create a port (and so, a package) to make modifications of these files enter your installation.

From the live system CD part of the installation CD, you can of course access /boot/loader.conf or /etc/rc.conf to edit them.

"Now that I think about it, a little profile tool would be cool. Profile a computer then have the installer read the profile and set the new system up similar."

The base tools dump and restore are your friends. :-) No, seriously, this is what sysinstall's "local additions" is for, if I remember correctly. Never used it, always did dump & restore to "profile" systems - live system CD, scripts doing partitioning / formatting, then restore from network).

Reply Score: 2

Memories...
by pllb on Fri 31st Aug 2007 14:33 UTC
pllb
Member since:
2007-04-30

I haven't used FreeBSD in a while but I did use it exclusively as my desktop for about 3 years. System was rock solid and I always found configuration files in a sane readable format. Nothing but good things to say about FBSD.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Memories...
by Doc Pain on Sun 2nd Sep 2007 14:51 UTC in reply to "Memories..."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

No memories for me - reality every day. :-)

"I haven't used FreeBSD in a while but I did use it exclusively as my desktop for about 3 years. System was rock solid and I always found configuration files in a sane readable format. Nothing but good things to say about FBSD."

Along with the - let me emphasize it once more - excellent documentation (manpages, examples, defaults, comments in files itself) there's no problem if you can handle the most simple base system tools. I'm running FreeBSD as main OS since version 4.0.

Reply Score: 2

idea?
by J-freebsd_98 on Fri 31st Aug 2007 14:41 UTC
J-freebsd_98
Member since:
2006-01-01

/random thought/
...................................
some bios menus have a list of choice boxes
on the left, an explanation of consequences
on the right. If I had time/skills
(hardly likely), chances are I would try to
ascertain if a beta of *that* is an improvement
over the fdisk/bsdlabel parts
of sysinstall (unless this project is better)
.........................................

Reply Score: 1

I'm in...
by Anonymo on Fri 31st Aug 2007 14:45 UTC
Anonymo
Member since:
2005-07-06

as long as this fixes the geometry bug. ;)

Reply Score: 1

They don't this ....
by dindin on Fri 31st Aug 2007 14:56 UTC
dindin
Member since:
2006-03-29

I am not sure where this is important. I have been using the installer for years and it has worked just fine. They need a binary package manager more than this ... IMHO.

Reply Score: 1

Looks Nice
by Jedd on Fri 31st Aug 2007 15:42 UTC
Jedd
Member since:
2005-07-06

Looks good. I'm hoping that this will help existing windows, os x users, and mandriva users to maybe try out FreeBSD as an OS. So that maybe there will be more options available out there to everyone.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Looks Nice
by Doc Pain on Sun 2nd Sep 2007 14:55 UTC in reply to "Looks Nice"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"Looks good. I'm hoping that this will help existing windows, os x users, and mandriva users to maybe try out FreeBSD as an OS. So that maybe there will be more options available out there to everyone."

I don't think this is their goal (or could even be). The kind of users you're refering to won't try FreeBSD, they would try PC-BSD or DesktopBSD. This is because users don't want an OS (which FreeBSD would be), they want a preconfigured distribution of an OS and preinstalled software for what they're refering to as "common tasks". On the other hand, a shiny graphical installer could help promote an OS (what a strange relationship!) due to people judging from visual impressions, so people know it exists.

As you may know, FreeBSD is user friendly. It's just picky about its users. :-)

Reply Score: 2

better disk preparation
by trenchsol on Fri 31st Aug 2007 16:09 UTC
trenchsol
Member since:
2006-12-07

I think that any and all installers need better and more clear disk preparation ("partitioning") utility. It should emphasize the difference between slices and partitions.

Reply Score: 2

RE: better disk preparation
by Doc Pain on Sun 2nd Sep 2007 14:59 UTC in reply to "better disk preparation"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"I think that any and all installers need better and more clear disk preparation ("partitioning") utility. It should emphasize the difference between slices and partitions."

I completely agree here. While PC-BSD and DesktopBSD (if I remember correctly) stuff everything into one partition (which may lead to problems if inconsistencies and disk errors start occuring), FreeBSD's sysinstall has an "auto" setting that does a ood job, but you still have to know what you're doing. I agree that having everything in / can be quite comfortable (don't need to plan / know about disk capacity occupation tendencies) and surely is okay for users who just want to try and delete, but for professional users who know about the advantages of proper partitioning this won't be a solution. Maybe some defaults (all in /, partitions autoconfigured, partitions entered manually) could be a way to go?

Reply Score: 2

Hmm
by Xaero_Vincent on Fri 31st Aug 2007 18:08 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

Well does this installer fix the HDD geometry detection bug FreeBSD seems to have had for years?

Reply Score: 2

Finstall?
by bornagainenguin on Fri 31st Aug 2007 19:26 UTC
bornagainenguin
Member since:
2005-08-07

Great! The next time I give *BSD an effing install I can see what the big effing deal is... maybe this time I can get past the effing partition stage with all the slices and figure out how well *BSD would work on my effing hardware!

;P Anyone else think this might've been an unfortunate name choice?

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 2

I like the idea of the "makeimage" script
by obsidian on Fri 31st Aug 2007 22:03 UTC
obsidian
Member since:
2007-05-12

Really good to see the inclusion of a script to make the process of creating a Live CD easier.

FreeBSD's stability and general design are excellent, so a big "well done!" to this dev for making it easier to create Live CDs. Great to see! Keep up the good work!
- obsidian

Reply Score: 1

sysinstall is nice
by tore- on Sat 1st Sep 2007 11:18 UTC
tore-
Member since:
2005-11-13

I've never had an issue with sysinstall, and so long they don't touch that I'm all in favor of creating a GUI version. Allthough, I don't see why it is needed.

Reply Score: 1

Good job....
by Pr3st00 on Sun 2nd Sep 2007 02:27 UTC
Pr3st00
Member since:
2005-12-02

I like the idea of having a graphical installer tool so more an more people start using FreeBSD.... as long as we still have the choice of using sysinstall.

Reply Score: 1