Home > FreeBSD > LiveBSD 5.3 with KDE 3.3 and BSD Installer Beta 1 LiveBSD 5.3 with KDE 3.3 and BSD Installer Beta 1 Submitted by GeekGod 2004-10-18 FreeBSD 20 Comments LiveBSD has just released a LiveCD based on FreeBSD 5.3 which is a heavily modified FreeSBIE that includes an installer that can be invoked via NCurses, CGI and even QT. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 20 Comments 2004-10-19 1:05 am That installer project by the DragonFly BSD team looks quite interesting and promising. If they manage to develop a reliable and easy-to-use (GUI!?) installer with all the necessary features, my guess is that it would make a lot more non-expert and non-BSD users interested in (DragonFly) BSD. Then, if they also developed some easy to use GUI config tools and improved the hardware autodetection (including having 3D nVidia drivers for DragonFly), voilà, you could have what it takes to make BSD as popular as many mainstream desktop Linux distros are. 2004-10-19 1:25 am No sorry. I think that this installer sucks and blows at the same time. It’s terrible and it feels so ’80s backwards. For a good Linux installer, take a look at Anaconda. While the code of Anaconda itself is spaghetti (from what I hear), the overall ease of use, usability and aesthetics are great. All they have to do is port it to be more Unix-friendly (as opposed to be linux-only) and add/modify the screens that require special stuff for Unix. Re-inventing the wheel is wrong. Especially when the result of the effort is as yuky. 2004-10-19 1:59 am I’ve not tried yet DragonFly, but I think that the FreeBSD and the DragonFly install are very similars and they fulfill its objectives. Both of them provide an easy to use, guided and instuitive method for installation. Maybe could be better if they ask a few less questions and make it more “easy”, but I really happy with what they do and how they do it right now. 2004-10-19 3:09 am Just curious, which frontend did you use Eugenia? 2004-10-19 3:36 am I should point out, that I haven’t seen an OS that can be installed via the web yet except for BSD Installer based versions. Is there any others? 2004-10-19 4:08 am “It’s terrible and feels so ’80s backwards”. Why is it terrible, and why is it so backwards? Because it is curses-based? I think the installation questions are pretty simple. The choices are not so different as the ones presented to you via an anaconda installation, just not as flashy. Any installer that can install a complex operating system (BSD-based, Linux-based) that are designed to range from a simple desktop system, to a developer’s workstation to a backroom server with only a few penetrating questions should be lauded. Mike 2004-10-19 4:40 am i didnt like (handle)the freeBSD install i love the netBSD install i can handle openBSD install (last time was yesterday) this one seems great and I hope that freeBSD will use this, maybe openBSD may think about it especially the partitioning & disklabeling and to the dragonflyBSD team – cheers and keep up the good work greetings from Sweden/Stockholm 2004-10-19 6:26 am I started using for the first time FreeBSD with version 4.3 This gui doesn’t look that bad, maybe we are all to spoiled. But then again in my humble opinion what is more important is what is underneath the gui.I have seen many fantastic looking installers that behaved badly.Function before fashion. Interesting project 2004-10-19 6:37 am I only hope they will upload the iso’s to a fast mirror. Bittorrent realy sucks . 2004-10-19 8:36 am I don’t think web installs are that special?! SuSe can do it and the installer is the same as for the CD/DVD version from look + feel. There should be others.. (?) 2004-10-19 8:38 am I don’t know what’s happening, but BT always freezes my system after a couple of minutes.. I’ll have to wait for an FTP. 2004-10-19 1:21 pm Though I like DragonFly, I dislike their installer. Frankly I don’t see why you should need a web-based frontend. Besides, they neglected to fix the biggest flaw in the freebsd installer : that it also does system configuration. It’s high time someone wrote a ‘smitty’-like program for the bsds so this functionality can be seperated out. 2004-10-19 1:45 pm @Eugenia Well, I know and knew nothing else about the installer except the little information that I could grasp yesterday from the website and the screenshots, not to mention that I had yet tried it. But in that sense, as a new project (at least to me) the instaaler sure looks quite promising, something that all the BSDs have lacked so far. So, what’s the problem, could you give a more detailed explanation why you are so critical, Eugenia? It’s a new project so much can still change and improve too, right? I’m sure the developers would be happy to read some constructive criticism. Ncurses-base: I don’t know if it makes using it so much more difficult? (I know from experience that the old 100% text-based installer of Libranet Linux was easy even for a newbie.) Besides, I was really impressed to see those screnshots of the CGI-based GUI version of the installer. A GUI installer, even if a bit old-fashioned one, is simply quite a revolutionary thing in the BSD world… 😉 As to BSD installers in general, of course the current ones are easy to use by current and typical BSD users. A person who needs to install and configure a server OS, really should be able to cope well with the current spartan BSD installers and tools. But I was referring to the large desktop OS user crowds, people like the thousands of Mandrakelinux users out there. I’m sure that anything (installers, config tools) that looks even a bit easier than the current tools could make BSDs more popular. 2004-10-19 2:01 pm Yes, Anaconda is a good GUI installer, but not perfect. It lacks partition resizing, for example, that e.g. the otherwise quite similar Mandrake installer has. I think that the only reason why Anaconda is used so much by other Linux distributions is the fact that it is a Redhat/Fedora installer, and Redhat just used to be the Linux distro that everyone wanted to copy (though maybe not anymore). Considering the spaghetti nature of Anaconda code, mentioned by Eugenia above, and the difficulties in porting it to quite different BSDs, would it really be that more difficult to write a completely new (GUI) installer for (DragonFly) BSD? You would have to redesign the wheel quite much even if you used Anaconda. 2004-10-19 2:13 pm I don’t think web installs are that special?! SuSe can do it and the installer is the same as for the CD/DVD version from look + feel. There should be others.. (?) Both OpenBSD and FreeBSD (probably NetBSD, too, but I haven’t tried) have the same installer for their FTP installs as for their CD installs. 2004-10-19 3:12 pm >Besides, they neglected to fix the biggest flaw in the >freebsd installer : that it also does system configuration. There is a configuration component to this installer. In fact, we have embraced Lua to allow us to easily extend the installer in the future for plug-in conifugration modules, etc. 2004-10-19 4:07 pm On the other hand, I’m not of the impression that system configuration belongs in an installer. They’re both generally similar, since some configuration does need to happen to have a system, but, unlike in several Linux distributions, system configuration doesn’t vary across installations depending on the machine or distribution. However, configuration simplicity is a vital part to make a system usable, and I’m glad our project is looking into that as well. We’ve definitely got a ways to go with it, but look at it this way: we’re a group of about 8 developers who contributes to it in our spare time, not being paid for any of our work on the project. Our installer is working for FreeBSD, and we’ve got interest from OpenBSD users to make it work there as well. I think in the 6 months that we’ve been working on this, we’ve accomplished a lot (certainly in the first three months). Then again, it might just suck and blow at the same time (thanks for the compliment) and I’m just obtuse. 2004-10-19 4:23 pm “No sorry. I think that this installer sucks and blows at the same time. It’s terrible and it feels so ’80s backwards.” I’m reminded of an old adage… “It’s a lot easier to make something that works pretty, than it is to make something pretty work.” 2004-10-19 4:24 pm You can always call /stand/sysinstall from a running system. In fact, that’s what I always do anyways. Freebsd is fairly easy: you do the express install, select everything except XFree86, set your root password and reboot. After that, you can use /stand/sysinstall or edit files to do the configuration. 2004-10-23 11:01 pm The point isn’t that it installs over the net like so many OS’s do, there’s actually a web based interface to install it off the CD.