[arch-releng] Notes/ideas on 'aif -p interactive'

Dieter Plaetinck dieter at plaetinck.be
Mon Apr 13 12:40:14 EDT 2009

On Mon, 13 Apr 2009 16:48:07 +1000
Jud <jud at judfilm.net> wrote:

general note:
- we don't have a "policy" on upper/lowercasing pieces of text such
  as menu items yet.  In /arch/setup it had Importand Words uppercased
  but personally I'ld rather stick to capitalised first letter, rest
  lowercase unless they are exceptions like acronyms (eg: follow normal
  spelling rules.).  Right now the code base is a mix of both hehe :)
  Is there a good reason to capitalise "normal" words?
- I currently cannot use virtualbox :( so my testing works are "paused"

> aif (repo/extra) version 2009-04-08 plus FTP
> patch Tested on
> VirtualBox 2.2.0 64bit Host, 32bit Client booted from
> 'archlinux-2009.02-ftp-i686.iso' also installed ntp and ssmtp
> Notes/Ideas from a test installation:
> ---------------------------------
> Cosmetic: 'Main Menu' not centred vertically but with grub kernel
> option vga=773 it seems ok - maybe a line out but you'd need a
> ruler :)
> 'Select Source' idea for better title 'Installation Source' or
> 'Install Method' or 'Installation Type'
I disagree. it's not about a method or type. it's about the source
where pacman will get its stuff from.
> 'Select Source' Could it be possible here to have; if no option
> selected then it selects/reverts to the boot media?
the problem is ftp images don't contain packages.
What I will do is check the existence of /src/core/pkg and based on
that set a different default value.
> FTP Installation:
> Pressing the 'Cancel' button seems to do nothing, shouldn't it return
> to 'Main Menu'?
Yes it should.
are you talking about this code block?
        ask_option no "Source selection" "Please select an installation
source" required \ "1" "CD-ROM or OTHER SOURCE" \
    "2" "FTP/HTTP" || return 1
note the 'required' option, which should cause ask_option to return >0
on cancel, hence returning to menu.

> Mirror Selection dialog takes up all vertical space, shouldn't it be
> kept below the 'Arch...Installation' header line?
Yes, I consider this low prio though.
> Could it be possible to have an option to run the pacman 'rankmirrors'
> script? note: I think it requires python
Is rankmirrors an officially supported script? then we could
incorporate it yes.
> Once you select a mirror, it takes you back to 'FTP Installation'
> dialog, shouldn't it take you back to the 'Main Menu' and pre-select
> 'Set Clock'?
Yes that's quite odd, since the code that controls the flow is this:
                                                        execute worker
select_source; ret=$?; [ $ret -eq 0 -a "$var_PKG_SOURCE_TYPE" = ftp ]
&& execute worker select_source_extras_menu [ $ret -eq
                                                                                              0 ]
                                                                                              NEXTITEM=2 ;;   

> Set Clock:
> 'Set clock' should be 'Set Clock' -- patch to follow
> 'Date/Time Configuration' dialog - needs some Upper Case for items -
> too match rest of the menus. -- patch to follow
> It displays the current time in UTC (if utc selected) not the users
> localtime (UTC +- TIMEZONE)
Hmm thanks i'll investigate.
> The ntp option needs ntp installed, could this be added to the
> packages.list? Great work on the slick dialogs here!
Yep.  http://bugs.archlinux.org/task/14088?project=6
> 'Return' option doesn't take you back to 'Main Menu'.
> Shouldn't it take you back to the main menu and pre-select 'Prepare
> Hard Drive(s)'?
yes. looks like a bug. are you talking about the "Date/time
configuration" dialog? weird because we do `[ "$ANSWER_OPTION" = 3 ] &&
break` in the wile loop.
> Prepare Hard Drive(s):
> Could the information from dialog 'Available Disks:' be presented in
> the next dialog 'Disc Selection'?
yeah that would make more sense. i've put it on my todo.
> If you go in and out of 'Partition Hard Drives' the line 'Disabling
> all swapspace...' appears multiple times.
i'll look at this someday.
> After using cfdisk to manually create partition(s) should it preselect
> the next drive or 'DONE'?
I don't care.
> After selecting the 'Manage Filesystems' and setting the disk options
> it returns you to the same spot, should it preselect the next
> drive or 'DONE'?
probably the next blockdevice.
> Option 4 - 'Rollback...' Could this option appear only if needed? atm
> it does seem confusing to have an option but is not needed
really? i was hoping the help text between '( )' (eg 'you don't need to
do this') would help. this text changes if you've made changes.
> Select Packages:
> 'Select Packages to Install" Again another large dialog box - too
> tall.
well, we use dialog's autosizing feature everywhere.
are you saying the contents overlap the title again?
that sucks :( sounds more like a bug in dialog to me.

> Install Packages:
> Really need the dialog box "Package installation..."?
i think it's useful.
> Progress dialog box - takes up whole screen??? What if it could be
> 80/90% of screen?
ideally would be as much as possible without overlapping with the
> It doesn't preselect 'Configure System' on returning to 'Main Menu'
fix committed to experimental
> Configure System:
> /etc/rc.conf /etc/locale.gen
> Would it be possible to have the correct/best guess setting for LOCALE
> based on the TIMEZONE setting?
maybe. see other mail
> /etc/fstab
> Would it be possible to use UUID like /arch/setup?
we don't ? uh oh. i screwed up somewhere. sigh. i'll check it out.
> /etc/hosts
> Great work with adding HOSTNAME to the line!
> 'Rebuilding initcpio images...'
> Sometimes a message will jump outside the dialog box.
that's not good.
> Install BootLoader:
> Software RAID dialog - could it be possible to only show this if more
> than 1 Hard Drive processed/present?
I think this dialog is not even needed, we already have a dialog to
select a blockdevice.  We discussed about this a while ago but I can't
find it back :((
> Exit Install:
> The last dialog box doesn't fill me with confidence, is there a better
> way?
yes, i could show the summary report, but it doesn't work yet.  it's
the same box as in the previous installer btw.
> Could it be possible to clear the screen then exit to prompt?
yes, i don't see the benefit of that though.
> General/Misc:
> Would it be possible to have "Test Version: $rel_date" or something
> after the 'Arch Linux...' header, only for test versions, it would
> make it much easier for future testers to help out.
good idea.  i don't know a clean way to implement it though.
anyone knows how i should do this? automatic git tags?
> Some of the dialog boxes seem to have
> crazy line
> breaks in them, shouldn't infofy/notify handle this
> automatically?
> "Please wait. Polling DHCP Server on $INTERFACE..."
> "The Network is Configured"
> "GRUB was successfully installed"
> There are a few more dotted throughout the installation process.
Probably. i really haven't fixed the details in the layout.  I just
know I want the messages to look okay on both cli and dia mode.
> DIA_MENU_TEXT - "Use UP and DOWN arrows etc" - could this
> only appear on the 'Main Menu' or only appear via a 'Help' option
> and/or key 'F1' or something?
yeah. patch welcome.
> Kernel - does it really need to create 'initial ramdisk' straight
> away? It is done again after configuration which makes sense. (PS
> they take forever under VirtualBox)
I know they take a long time under vbox, i hate it too.
Basically to implement this we should just figure out what's a clean
way to implement it.
> locale/glibc - does it really need to process straight away? It is
> done again after configuration which makes sense.
hah.. that's new for me. where exactly does it happen where it
> FTP, no Mirror selected Breakage:
> I was trying to make it break, FTP install, no mirror selected
> 'Pacman preparation failure' ... Check /dev/tty7 for errors"
> tty7 log:
> "[LOG] ... *** Executing worker package_list
> :: Synchronizing package databases...
> error: failed to update core (could not find or read directory)
> error: failed to synchronize any databases"
> It then lets me continue, shows a dialog to select base, then hit
> enter, when It dumps to a prompt with this error message:
> "ERROR: ask_checklist make only sense if you specify at least 1 thing
> (tag, item and ON/OFF switch)"
> How can this be prevented in the code?
show_warning when the user says he's done when he hasn't selected a
mirror and is using ftp mode. patch welcome :)
> Overall a very good job by Dieter, previous authors and the Release
> team, thanks for all you hard work!
You too, thanks for the input.


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