Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby Kendall on Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:19 am

I will say that I've found no practical use of LFS other the educational side of it. I did an LFS build a couple of months ago on a flash drive for a friend of mine and was almost at the point of pulling my hair out on numerous occasions (I got paid for it at least). I don't consider this the holy grail of geekdom though as that would be coding an entire OS yourself.

I completely agree with FedoraRefugee in that simplicity is often defined by a lack of choices.

I still haven't had the opportunity to build "my perfect distro" but when I do it'll likely use Ubuntu Mini Remix as a core, some of the lower level Mint stuff, LXDE, and will be very focused on using web apps over installed apps (Google Docs, Sumo Paint, Seesmic Web, etc). I would be VERY tempted to use the Debian Instraller, but I really like using Ubiquity as you can be pretty much guaranteed that the system won't crash due to resource limitations if you can get it all the way through the install process.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby KittyKatt on Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:44 am

Superewza wrote:The only distro i've ever had a problem installing was Arch...


Read The Arch Way to get a better idea. Arch doesn't make anything automatic. It passes all configurations by the user for checking and makes the user do everything. By doing so, the user is in control of every aspect of their system. I personally love this, but some people don't. When it comes down to distribution selection, I'll never say one is better than the other. It's all personal opinion based.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby Robin on Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:29 am

I wouldn't say tha Mint is a "no choice" sort of deal. It's true that tyou get what you get, but after it's installed you can choose more than just window dressings, fonts, and wallpaper. You can still choose among applications, desktop environments, file managers, etc. The thing is to make informed choices. Most folks making their first forays into Linux are simply not informed about what choices they have. But one of the coolest things about Linux is that you can, if you have given plenty of disk space to Mint, try out every one of them! Gnome, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, Openbox, whatever. Then when you've tried several things out and have chosen some favorites, you can remove the ones you don't want.

My first attempt at a build-my-own was minimal Ubuntu (CLI install) with just LXDE and favorite apps and tools. It had nothing I didn't want, and only the things I had chosen. It's very similar to Debian's net-install, where you just install the core system and choose your desktop, applications, etc. It sounds like Arch is pretty much the same thing.

Lord forbid a newbie like to disagree with all you veterans (so correct me if I'm wrong - I don't mind), by I don't agree that Linux Mint offers "lack of choices," except to a novice who doesn't know what he or she wants yet. (S)he can try out several that (s)he reads about and sees screenshots of, and then is empowered to make informed choices - all of which are available in Mint!

Still discovering more choices,
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby hinto on Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:12 pm

OpenSolaris install is dirt simple to install, it's the care and feeding that baffles me;)
Of course, it's like "The worst editor you've ever used is the one you're currently learning", but with so many good Linux distros out there, why bother?
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby FedoraRefugee on Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:18 pm

Robin, when I say lack of choice I mean strictly on the installer. Even at that, Mint is no more limited than most installers these days. The point was that if you just choose all defaults there are no real choices thrown at you. Keyboard (I think? I have installed so many distros lately I forget...), time zone, user name and password...It is designed to be as simplified as possible. Even the root password is locked by default.

Of course once ANY distro is installed you have unlimited choice. Even if a distro has a very limited repo, like Puppy, you can still compile from source and install ANY Linux app in ANY distro. Deps might prove to be a headache, but it can be done.

My point was that with a distro like Arch you will build your system from the ground up. With something like Mint you are kind of stuck with what you are given unless you are prepared to do major surgery. Everything has hooks into everything else. Just try to remove GDM or PulseAudio. You can certainly install other desktops in any version of Mint but chances are good you will run into some compatibility problems trying to get all the Mint tools working right. You will have default apps that you may want to replace, but you will find out when you try to remove them they want to take some important deps with them. Try to remove a simple music player and you may end up wiping out the entire Gnome desktop!

Really, anymore this is getting to be a moot point. Most common distros have the same choices on the installer. Most are written in plain language and are easily understood by anyone with a 3rd grade reading level. In most cases you can just blindly accept all defaults and wind up with exactly what you need. That is why my first post in this thread was to state that I really have no difficulties with any of the latest distros...Well...Except for the handful of advanced ones that do give you lots of choices. The day my 8 year old installed Fedora by himself with no input from me opened my eyes. Really, other than having to get drivers and codecs Fedora is no harder to install than Mint!
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby dawgdoc on Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:26 pm

hinto wrote:OpenSolaris install is dirt simple to install, it's the care and feeding that baffles me;)


FWIW
Hot on the heels of acquiring Sun, Oracle has changed the license for Solaris making it non-free once again.


From Linux Magazine dated 31 Mar 2010.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby AndrewH on Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:45 am

vtired wrote:The problem is that in trying live cd it turns out that I installing and I lose all data, without a warning, or at least a warning that I could understand.

Computer rule #1: Always have your data backed up.
Computer rule #2: Always make sure you follow rule #1. :mrgreen:
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby mick55 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:33 am

AndrewH wrote:
vtired wrote:The problem is that in trying live cd it turns out that I installing and I lose all data, without a warning, or at least a warning that I could understand.

Computer rule #1: Always have your data backed up.
Computer rule #2: Always make sure you follow rule #1. :mrgreen:


And, as the old saying goes; there are two types of people:-

Those who lose data....

...and those who lose data again. :mrgreen:
Things are more like they are now than they ever were before.

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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby hinto on Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:52 am

@dawgdoc
I didn't know that.... I had installed it (OpenSolaris) for real, once, then ran out of space on some slice (tho I had a 320gb drive).
I then couldn't remove any packages since I had no space (I'm sure I could have purged it somehow). Additionally, at that time, the package manager wouldn't work through a proxy (tho I could have used the command line). So I rolled up my sleeves and install Debian SID (again). With nits like those in OpenSolaris, it's so easy to choose a Linux distro (like Mint) that fits most of your needs. I do periodically install OpenSolaris on a VM to see its progress, but not much more than that.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby dawgdoc on Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:07 pm

mick55 wrote:And, as the old saying goes; there are two types of people:-

Those who lose data....

...and those who lose data again. :mrgreen:


And I thought there were 3 types of people:

Those who are good at math....

...and those who are not.

:D
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby MALsPa on Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:52 pm

dawgdoc wrote:And I thought there were 3 types of people:

Those who are good at math....

...and those who are not.

:D


:lol:
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby mick55 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:40 pm

dawgdoc wrote:
mick55 wrote:And, as the old saying goes; there are two types of people:-

Those who lose data....

...and those who lose data again. :mrgreen:


And I thought there were 3 types of people:

Those who are good at math....

...and those who are not.

:D


Actually there are 10 types of people:

Those who understand binary.....

....and those who don't. :? :shock: :mrgreen:
Things are more like they are now than they ever were before.

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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby vtired on Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:21 am

Debian Knows that we don't like reading manuals. I got this from their installation guide (http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/pr01.html.en) "[b]We understand that many of you want to install Debian without reading this manual".
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby Joylove on Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:25 am

Really wish Mint had an alternative install mode where you get to pick which WM/DE you get (the last distro I've seen having this feature was Mandrake).
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby MALsPa on Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:45 am

Joylove wrote:Really wish Mint had an alternative install mode where you get to pick which WM/DE you get (the last distro I've seen having this feature was Mandrake).


I'd like that, too!
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby hinto on Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:11 pm

@Joylove & MALsPa

Will that make an installation simpler? ;)
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby MALsPa on Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:38 pm

hinto wrote:@Joylove & MALsPa

Will that make an installation simpler? ;)
-Hinto


No, probably not. Again, as FR was saying earlier in the thread, simpler often means fewer choices.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby Joylove on Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:16 am

Standard Installation method is still available wherein "Custom" lets you pick what you need. Simplicity is maintained at the same time adding customizability.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby hinto on Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:02 am

"Custom" == "Advanced" != "Simplicity"

I'd like installations to allow me to set my user id number when I create my initial user, but they don't.
(This is for passing nfs authorizations around nfs mounts).

So, for simplicity, I have to create a dummy account, then a real one with the appropriate user id number.
For years, Debian took the brunt of jokes about being overly complex. So much so, that it was encouraged to install Knoppix, then change the sources.list file to the "Debian" ones and do an dist-upgrade. Then you'd have a Debian system, using the much simpler Knoppix installer.

I'm glad things are simpler. My rule of thumb is that the distro needs to have a liveCD (or grudgingly a liveDVD) and be able to have a complete "base" system installed/running configured in about 15 minutes. That's start to finish. Finish includes hitting my nfs mounts, cvs access, and a development environment. Most distros do that (at least the top 10 on Distrowatch)

-Hinto
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What brought me to SID was apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade.
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Re: Why don't other distros make their installation simple?

Postby DrHu on Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:06 am

Robin wrote:I have installed Linux Mint....
I'm about as non-geeky as it gets. I'm an autistic, artsy-craftsy kinda kid, into dance, music, and theater, not technology much (until recently - it fascinates me now and never did before). If I can install all these without difficulty, I really can't sympathize with people who can't install a super-easy distro like Mint.

If I can install all these without difficulty..
All true and all great advice before installing list..

Whether the simple as can be method and designed for newcomers helps or not, it exists, and Linux as a desktop OS probably needs that method..

However, I still think that the automated methods (simplest) installations available, can and often enough do cause problems for the user/customers
--windows OS is no better in this regard nor might be Apple's OS-X

Actually; earlier Freespire (Linspire/Xandros) had about the simplest install Linux desktop install available, as did Libranet
  • Computer name
  • Date
  • Install
    Although when it failed due to hardware issues, it definitely caused a problem..
http://wiki.freespire.org/index.php/ISO ... ation_Tour
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libranet

Whether it is a graphical (GUI) install or not shouldn't matter that much..
But even the default terminal method (non GUI) style of selection that all Linux's used prior to the idea of a desktop OS that was Linux developed much beyond the talking stage, were not non-intuitive: if you could read and follow instructions
--the only OS type, I can think of, that is not that intuitive are the BSD systems, they are pretty geeky with their terminology..
http://www.openbsd101.com/installation.html#install3
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