[Mageia-discuss] Suggestions

Michael Scherer misc at zarb.org
Tue Oct 26 03:48:58 CEST 2010

Le mardi 26 octobre 2010 à 02:28 +0200, Wolfgang Bornath a écrit :

> In the individual package selection at system installation all these
> descriptions are missing completely.
> If somebody wants to pimp his installation and searches for
> applications to be installed at system installation time all he sees
> is the category (example: office), the package name and version and
> then a mere "useful" or "important" or "comfortable.", etc. Nobody
> tells him (examples:) what bvi is and how should he know what
> "alexandria" does (is it an egyptian font?). This is where the
> descriptions are missing completely although they are available in the
> packages!
> So, here the task is to include the descriptions in the installer and
> providing the translations as in rpmdrake.
> As we can see most parts of the package description issue are not
> related to packagers, rather to developpers of rpmdrake and the
> installer - and to the translators, of course.

To the defense of the drakx developpers, I do not think that choosing in
the installer is really a so good idea :

- during installation, you do not have web access. Thus, you will have a
hardtime to really find information on what does a software. If you use
rpmdrake, you can ask to friend, ask on forum, ask on a search engine.

- during installation, you do nothing except looking at installation.
That's fine, but IMHO, it is better to have a fast installation, and
later be able to listen to music, etc, while installing software. 

- looking at software in drakx or in rpmdrake will likely take the same
time. If you take 1h to select rpm in drakx, you will likely spend 1h in
rpmdrake. The computing is taking less time that the human mind to
decide. Of course, people will perceive differently ( ie they will feel
the installation is incomplete if they need to do thing after the first
boot, even if they have to do the exact same task taking the exact same
time in drakx and rpmdrake ), but then that's just a perception.
Unfortunately, perception is what count more than reality.

So why don't we have this description. I am not sure about this, but I
think drakx use synthesis hdlists, ie a shorter version oof the packages
index. And parsing description is one of the reason rpmdrake is spending
time at startup. Synthesis is 750 k big, hdlist is 46 m big. There is a
huge gap. This would take place on the cd, this take place in memory,
and this make drakx be slower when solving dependency ( even if I do not
know how much slower it would be, maybe that's negligible with nowadays
computer ).

Then, in order to accelerate the installation for the people who do not
select package one by one at install time ( that's IMHO the common use
case of drakx ), part of the confort of those that does was sacrified,
mainly because this feature is aimed to advanced users more than new
users discovering Linux ( who would and should take the easiest road of
keeping default selection ). 

I think drakx could implement the required behavior, but I do not think
it would come with problem by itself. And so, we need to evaluate the
rpos and cons of the change ( and as I said, I think the current
situation is better for a majority of users ).

Finally, in order to mitigate the issue, I would propose to add a
warning or a label saying "this is for advanced users, we suggest you to
do the customization after installation, as we would be able to show
more informations about packages". This would not solve anything for
people who still want to do it in drakx, of course, but at least, it
will explain how to have a better experience for the new user. I am not
sure if we should add explanation about why it is like this ( maybe too
technical ).

Michael Scherer

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