[TriLUG] different versions of 7.2 for sale]
Sat, 03 Nov 2001 16:21:46 -0500
> So I guess the question isn't just to Roy, but to everybody:
> What can we do to make the Red Hat Linux installer better?
I just finished setting up a new laptop (from my new employer, yay!) to dual
boot between W2K and RH7.2. I am happy to report that Red Hat installed
everything flawlessly. However, RH seems unsure of itself, whereas W2K is
too sure of itself. RH correctly detected and installed my video card
(NeoMagic), but gave me a scary-looking screen anyway that listed all
possible video cards (with the correct one pre-selected). (On the other
hand, W2K couldn't identify it at all, but didn't tell me this until after
rebooting and I found myself looking at a crappy 640x480x256 VGA screen.)
Suggestion: implement novice/expert mode (like Mandrake does). In novice
mode, if you find a video card and you're sure enough of it to make it the
default choice, *don't ask me to confirm your choice*. Just do it. Ditto
for monitor. Ditto for sound card. Your installation program currently
feels like a little kid tugging at my sleeve -- "Look at me, I found your
video card; look at me, I know what monitor you're using." As a geek, I
appreciate the magnitude of this feat; as an end user, I wish you would get
over yourself and stop trying to impress me.
Other suggestion: completely revamp the whole partition + bootloader
sequence. It is currently task-oriented (first select or create a
partition, then select a partitioning scheme, then select a bootloader, then
configure the bootloader). It should be goal-oriented, and many of these
choices should simply go away (at least in novice mode).
Example: I already had Windows 2000 on my machine, plus enough unpartitioned
space to hold a complete Linux partition. You should figure out that I
probably want to keep the Windows 2000 installation and install Linux in the
unpartitioned space. I don't want task-oriented questions like "install in
unpartitioned free space?", "select bootloader", "select MBR vs. boot
sector", "select default boot image". I want goal-oriented questions like
"Do you want to keep your Windows 2000 installation?" and "Do you want to
make Linux your default operating system? (You can still choose a different
one when you start up your computer.)"
Do not, under any circumstances, force a novice user to choose between GRUB
and LILO. If GRUB is better, prettier, and stable, then install GRUB for me
Do not, under any circumstances, force a novice user to choose between
installing the bootloader on the MBR and on the boot sector. If it makes a
difference what version of Windows I have, go figure that out, then make the
appropriate choice for me without asking.
You've done very well in simplifying other parts of the install
(particularly the "workstation/server/laptop/custom" choice). I know there
are lots of possibilities for how to set up a dual boot system, but if you
do some research, you'll probably find that only one or two are very common.
Most users probably don't have unpartitioned free space (I only did because
I'd just done a clean install from scratch and had intentionally left some
free space for Linux). Maybe most users want to leave their C: drive intact
but use their D: drive for their new Linux installation. I have no idea.
Go find out the most common scenarios and make those super-easy.
Hope this helps.
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