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Re: FC-4 -- unhappy experiences

On Sat, Jun 18, 2005 at 04:53:03PM +0100, Timothy Murphy wrote:
> Just to explain a little better what I mean.
> What exactly is the basic aim of the anaconda developers?
> In my view, it should be to ensure 
> that Fedora can get to the point of installation
> on as wide a range of machines as possible.

Sure, that's definitely got to be one goal -- although there's always the
tension of adding junk to deal with bizarre corner cases vs. a nice
straightforward clean install for the vast majority of normal situations.

> That was always the aim of Linux distributions in the past,
> with half-a-dozen different boot disks offered
> for every conceivable situation,
> together with driver floppies for special devices.

And as I remember it, pretty much everyone hated that. But the truth is, the
shift to CDs and modular kernels makes it so all of those drivers can be on
one disk.

> I follow the anaconda development mailing list (though not diligently) and
> it seems to me that most time and energy is expended on what I would
> regard as secondary matters, while what I take to be the primary aim above
> is largely ignored.

Your secondary matter is someone else's urgent crisis. But I think you're
getting a skewed picture from the anaconda list, as the development isn't
really centered around that. (Check the changelog to see what's actually
been going on.)

> > It does to me. Eventually, really old hardware and weird situations have
> > to get dropped, or you get *more* excessive complication and cruft. You
> > can't have it both ways.
> I don't think that is true. I would imagine that if changing code at
> critical points, one could add a clause to the effect that if the new
> version does not work then one should fall back to the old.

It's not that simple, because it's not just the installer -- it's the
kernel, and hardware probing infrastructure, and more. And "clauses that
fall back to the old version of the code" is pretty much the *definition* of
crufty code.

> For example, the kernel itself seems to be written to this principle.
> I can't recall anything that used to work in the kernel
> that has ceased to work
> (admittedly, after researching choice of modules in some cases).

Actually, sounds like the SCSI problems you're having are directly kernel
related (although I didn't ever see a message about the exact SCSI hardware
-- I may have missed it).

> This is exactly what happened, anyway.
> I've had problems before when grub became confused
> about the various SCSI and IDE disks.
> Basically, I think grub likes to call an IDE disk hd0 
> unless persuaded otherwise.

Yes. And recent versions of anaconda have code for doing that 'persuading'.

> However, I didn't look into this.
> All I know is that after upgrading to FC-4,
> /dev/hda was no longer found, eg by fdisk.

That sounds like the kernel to me....

> >> but after it I get innumerable errors
> >> when trying to compile a virgin kernel.
> >> Eg "make xconfig" does not work because qtlib is not found.
> > This isn't an installer problem at all. This is a
> > person-building-the-kernel problem.
> It isn't an installer problem (I didn't say it was)

Err, but your rant was about the installer....

> but it isn't a person-building-the-kernel problem either.
> It is a problem with the x86_64 distribution
> regarding the libqt library.
> (There are various versions of this library on the system,
> and it fails to link to the correct one.)

Okay. I don't see how that illustrates that anaconda development is

Matthew Miller           mattdm mattdm org        <http://www.mattdm.org/>
Boston University Linux      ------>                <http://linux.bu.edu/>
Current office temperature: 76 degrees Fahrenheit.

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