[arch-dev-public] New install iso - proof of concept

Dieter Plaetinck dieter at plaetinck.be
Sun Jun 24 18:49:12 EDT 2012

On Sat, 23 Jun 2012 21:14:23 +0200
Pierre Schmitz <pierre at archlinux.de> wrote:

> Hi all,
> it being discussed o IRC for some time now but I guess it's a good idea
> to sum our current progress up. I'll also add a few suggestions about
> how we might improve our iso releases.
> I created a testing iso which can be found at:
> http://pkgbuild.com/~pierre/ Besides the patches I had sent to the
> releng list it includes pacman-key from Allans working repo and Dave's
> arch-install-scripts. In addition to an updated set of packages another
> noticeable change is that signature verification is now supported and
> works out of the box. The keyring is initialized on boot and so you can
> install new packages within the live system as well.
> Overall I would suggest this:
> * Decouple aif, install-scripts, archiso and actuall iso releases. This
> means have tags for those and provide packages in our repos.

what exactly do you mean with this? these things are already "decoupled" in the sense
that they are separate projects with separate releases.  However, sometimes changes in one project require changes in another
for example sometimes aif needs to be adjusted to work with archiso changes, the same will hold true for install-scripts
I don't see how you can "decouple the projects" any more. (of course if we don't include aif on the iso, we don't need to care so much
about updating aif after archiso changes, but I don't think that's what you're referring to here?)

> * It's not a bad thing to start off with an iso that does not include
> aif a first. This should actually speed up development and hopefully get
> us more help from the community.

I don't think including a broken aif per se is a bad thing, we should just be clear in the documentation and release announcement about its status,
and be clear to our users about what we recommend and support.
a few years ago we had the old installer on the iso + aif as beta/unsupported.
If you want to attract more people to help out on archiso or install-scripts, that's all fine by me,
but I doubt you'll get more help by merely not having aif on the iso.  I would keep it on there, but mark it as outdated/unsupported as long as it's not properly maintained.

btw aif doesn't need much work to become non-broken, but there's not enough interest in it at the moment.

> * archiso should be changed in a way that would allow anyone to easily
> create official isos with one command. It should result in the same iso
> no matter how the host is configured.

big +1; this would probably simplify
http://projects.archlinux.org/users/dieter/releng.git/ as well.
I've never felt entirely comfortable dealing with the whole iso building process, precisely because it's depending on "hidden" factors of the host OS.
(probably only pacman.conf but what do I know)

> * We should treat the iso more like our other package and not aim for
> the most perfect product. Instead let's release new isos regularly; e.g.
> every month.

this is nothing new.  this has always been the idea,
but some level of testing is *always* needed, we should never publish broken images.
better to have images that are a bit older than images that have bugs that prevent installation on a specific architecture, installation medium, etc.
a user should never have to download an iso, only to find out something is broken during the installation process.

http://www.archlinux.org/releng/feedback/ is a good tool to track that.

we've failed to achieve frequent releases basically because I can't keep up.

> I'll stop here to not make it too long and boring. What do you think?

I think this is all releng related and should go on the releng mailing list.


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