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Re: Graphical Installer - Call for Testing.

From: Thomas Danckaert
Subject: Re: Graphical Installer - Call for Testing.
Date: Wed, 04 Jan 2017 14:18:33 +0100 (CET)

From: John Darrington <address@hidden>
Subject: Graphical Installer - Call for Testing.
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2017 08:59:28 +0100

The wip-installer branch is ready for testing and general review.

This branch provides a curses based graphical interface to the disk
images used for installing GuixSD. It is intended to allow users
unfamiliar with bash and other aspects of unix-like operating systems to easily install GuixSD. This means, it should allow you to install
GuixSD on a bare PC, without ever touching a shell (whilst still
providing that option for those who want it).
Please report coding and usability issues.


I was just playing with it a bit yesterday (I built my own installation image according to the instructions in the manual), and tried to install to a qemu vm. I also ran the installer from my git checkout (running ./pre-inst-env guix system installer and browsing the menus without actually installing anything).

Here are some remarks, which perhaps mostly illustrate my own confusion, but might serve to make the interface easier to understand :-)

 - General usability: It would be nice to have something like a
   tooltip (text at the bottom of the screen?) explaining what each
   button does when it's highlighted.  It wasn't obvious to me what
   buttons such as “Continue” “Back” “Save” “Write” or “Check” would
   do, and which buttons were required or optional.  Maybe my
   confusion was partly caused by the fact that some buttons don't
   seem to work (see next).  This is just a suggestion, I'm not sure
if there's room on the screen for more text. A manual accompanying
   the interface could also help, but a self-explanatory interface is
   of course better :)

 - From“partition the disks”, I can only go back to the main menu by
   highlighting “Continue” and pressing enter/space (using the “Back”
   button or “B” doesn't seem to work).  In the “allocate disk
   partitions” menu, the Back and Continue buttons work when I select
   them and press “space” or when I press “B” or “C”, but not when I
   select it and use “enter” (this takes me back to the allocation
   menu for the currently selected disk, possibly this is intended?)

 - For those not used to curses-based interfaces (like me
   apparently?), some explanation of which buttons to press (enter or
   space?) could help.  Also, the shortcuts (e.g. “B” for back) are
   highlighted when I run the installer from my system (in my case,
   from gnome terminal), but in the tty on the VM, this highlighting
   is invisible.  What about a pure ascii way to highlight the
   shortcuts, like “<B>ack” and “<C>ontinue”?

 - When I choose a mount point for a partition and run “check”, part
   of the check output seems to fall off the screen (see attached
   screenshot).  Is it possible to wrap the text lines so they fit in
   the screen (and maybe make the output scrollable?).

 - Possibly a qemu issue: the interface was rather slow to respond to
commands on the qemu VM. Running the installer menu “natively” from
   the guix source dir, everything was snappy.

 - Probably a qemu issue on my system: somehow I can't get networking
   to work like it says in the manual (manual says to specifiy “-net
default” but my qemu complains this option doesn't exist, I have to use “-net user”, but then don't seem to get a network in the VM :-/
   ) , and the networking setup crashes the installer (“Command
failed: no such device (-19)”) and causes a renewed automatic login.

Because of the networking issue in my VM, I couldn't proceed with the
actual installation.  Will report back if/when I solve it.


PNG image

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