[arch-releng] the future of quickinst

Dieter Plaetinck dieter at plaetinck.be
Mon Mar 9 15:55:15 EDT 2009

On Sun, 08 Mar 2009 23:00:00 +0100
Thomas Bächler <thomas at archlinux.org> wrote:

> Dan McGee schrieb:
> > On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 10:05 AM, Dieter Plaetinck
> > <dieter at plaetinck.be> wrote:
> >> quickinst:
> >> http://projects.archlinux.org/?p=installer.git;a=blob;f=quickinst;h=23e41ccbec63e7527b2006ffc3552b99510862c3;hb=80ca34643e1c3db5ac5bbc856590ae44b559a6a1
> >> Is there anyone who actually uses this? If so, can you tell me why?
> >>
> >>
> >> It's stated quickinst is meant for people who want to mkfs/mount
> >> their filesystems themselves, okay I understand that. But, as a
> >> "consequence" you can only install the base packages, your
> >> keyboard/time/.. settings don't go into /mnt/etc/rc.conf
> >> automatically, you need to install the bootloader manually (which
> >> means having to mount some things yourself, chroot etc.
> >>
> >> What is the advantage of this over just using the normal installer
> >> and skipping the steps you don't want to do?
> > 
> > Because the normal installer is a manual process. You can't easily
> > do a remote install on 30 machines with a dialog-based installer,
> > while with quickinst that becomes quite easy.
> I never used it, but I imagine that is its purpose.
> Dieter, didn't your original AIF design say that you can do automatic 
> installations as well? Can you provide a quickinst equivalent based
> on AIF? If so, it can replace quickinst.

That's correct.
The automatic procedure is not ready for use, but it's being worked on
as we speak :)

So, quickinst is a means to get a basic system with very low
interactivity (though partitioning etc still needs to be taken care of

Well, first of all scratch my idea of implementing a partial procedure
for package installation, it wouldn't offer much added value over a
plain "pacman -S --root /mnt --config ..."

Instead I'll just continue to work on the automatic procedure.
The way I think it should work is like this:
(invocation: explanation)

* aif -p automatic:
do the sort-of equivalent of quickinst. (this is
actually more a side effect then a design goal) if no separate
filesystem in mounted on /mnt bail out.  I don't think I'll bother to
  allow passing things like ftp/packages path/.. through command line
  arguments. unless maybe if i have enough spare letters :)
One thing that I think would be useful to pass as commandline argument
is a block device (eg -aif -p automatic -<something> /dev/sda), which
would setup /dev/sda in a default layout (like autoprepare but with
values pre-filled in)

* aif -p automatic -c /path/to/configfile:
the recommended way: you have
the ability to specify partitioning/filesystems/package lists/hostname
etc in a config file format which i'll try to keep as simple as
that, and the ability to define custom hooks and whatnot to implement
custom logic in your config

We could also deliver one or more simple sample configs, that should
compensate the lack of commandline arguments in the first method of
invocation. (think of at least a sample config that contains some
clearly documented variables such as ftp/cd, location of target
system,.. basically the variables which you can pass to quickinst
now ;-)


PS: an example of a config file for the automatic procedure:

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