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Re: Graphical Installer - Call for Testing.

From: John Darrington
Subject: Re: Graphical Installer - Call for Testing.
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2017 07:55:48 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)

Hi Chris,

Thanks for this very comprehensive feedback.  I hope you will forgive
me if I don't respond to every point you have raised.  I have however read
them all, and they are all relevant and useful.  So thanks very much.

Some particular points however:

* Currently there is no mouse support at all.  I hope to add that later.
* It would be great if you could try to find out why your wireless failed.
* I hope, eventually, to remove the reliance on cfdisk.
* From your comments, and those from others it is clear to me that the
  part of the user interface involved with creating filesystems and allocaing
  mount points needs to be redesigned. - so after that, there will be a whole
  different set of issues!
* What would you suggest instead of the "Reboot" message?
On Sat, Jan 14, 2017 at 08:06:09PM -0800, Chris Marusich wrote:
     Hi!  I successfully installed GuixSD on my Libreboot laptop using the
     installer!  It's awesome to see some work in this area.  Thank you!
     I've got a lot of feedback.  Some is minor, some is less minor.  Even if
     you don't incorporate all of it, I hope that it will help make the
     installer better!
     * Left-clicking on buttons, entries, etc. had no effect.  I expected it
       to be equivalent to pressing enter or space.
     * Left-clicking leaves the clicked square (i.e., row+column
       intersection) highlighted, which is visually distracting.

     * The installer should either guide the user through a linear series of
       steps, or explain at the beginning what the user should do.  I wasn't
       sure what to do at first when I was dropped into the installer.  This
       doesn't preclude a non-linear path through the installation phases,
       but I do think a more guided path would be less confusing.
     * The installer begins with nothing selected.  This contributed to my
       initial confusion: what am I supposed to do?
     * The installer should display a keymap, or a hotkey which displays help
       info (like the help page in cfdisk, or top).
     * I think you made the first letter of some commands bold (like the "C"
       in "Continue"), but I didn't notice it until I tried the installation
       on a machine with a different monitor.  More contrast, or an
       underlined character, might help call that out more.
     * I'm not sure how, but I got stuck in a menu loop between "Partition
       the disks" and "Choose mount point".  Hitting "Continue" and "Go Back"
       in any order never took me to any other step, or back to the main
       menu.  I worked around the issue by getting a shell and rebooting.
     * Partition the disks: when launching cfdisk, consider explaining that
       we're going to launch cfdisk to do the actual partitioning, and the
       user needs to quit cfdisk to come back and continue the installation.
     * The interface was at times sluggish - there was a noticeable delay
       (hundreds of milliseconds) between pressing e.g. the left-arrow key
       and the next bottom-menu item being selected.
     * By default, this installer provides a lot of manual control over how
       the disks are partitioned, what file systems will be installed, and
       what their mount points will be.  Perhaps by default we should offer
       one or more common configurations - e.g., one partition, containing an
       ext4 file system, mounted at / - and move the finer-grained manual
       controls into a sub-menu of some kind.  For comparison, I've just
       installed Ubuntu and Debian today, and both of their installers offer
       such simplified paths for installation. - useful if someone does not
       know much about that stuff yet or they just want an easy default.
     * Following that note, if we presented pre-set combinations of
       partitions/file systems/mount points, I can imagine adding another
       "simple configuration" to that list, for encrypted home partition, or
       an entire encrypted disk.  For various use cases.
     * The installer contains various input text boxes (e.g., for file system
       label).  These boxes are invisible; a border would help call them out
       (I almost didn't realize they existed).  Also, left/right arrow keys
       did not scroll left/right, which surprised me, but backspace and
       delete worked well enough.
     * The generated operating system configuration should use file system
       UUID or label, if possible, rather than device path.
     * Choose mount point: since you can also set the label here, maybe
       change the title of the section to "Choose file system and mount
       point" or something?
     * The installer takes a "window within a window" approach for
       installation phases.  This conflicts with the "replace the whole
       window" behavior that occurs when running cfdisk.  I think that using
       a "replace the whole window" approach for the whole installer would
       help unify the overall look and feel.  So, instead of creating a
       window within the installer window for the "Partition the disks"
       phase, just replace the entire window with the relevant interface for
       the sub-menu.
     * Choose mount point: clarify what the actions Check, Write, and
       re(Create) mean.  I wasn't sure until I tried them all!
     * Passphrase entry (for wireless setup): after inputting my wireless
       network's passphrase, the message "Successfully initiated
       wpa_supplicant" was displayed without a newline on the same line where
       I had just put my passphrase, which looked clunky.
     * I couldn't get wireless working, so I had to plug in an ethernet cable
       to continue the installation.  I'm not sure why the wireless failed.
     * I didn't realize that "enter" performed a different action than
       "space."  On some menus it seems to matter which one you use, but on
       others, it seems like they behave the same.  I think clarifying the
       keymap/interface will help with this.
     * Generate the configuration: for some reason, when I entered this menu,
       I was dropped back into the "Allocate disk partitions" menu, which was
       confusing.  Perhaps I was just confused and hit the wrong button!
     * Allocate disk partition: label the header.  I didn't realize there was
       a column for "mount point" until I set up a mount point; a header
       would have helped call out the fact that I had not yet set up a mount
     * Install the system: there was a 10-20 second delay after pressing
       enter to begin the installation, during which I wasn't sure if
       anything was actually being done.  Not sure if that's the installer's
       fault, though.  After that, the installation began.
     * Install the system: there were a lot of ^[[ characters at the start of
       the lines which were output in the window showing the progress of the
       installation.  Also, there was a lot of flashing underneath lines like
       "Downloading | 3.4 MiB transferred",
       as if the underscore symbol was being moved super fast from the start
       of the line to the end of the line repeatedly.
     * Final step: the installer told me to remove the installation device
       and reboot.  I followed these instructions by removing the device.
       When I tried to reboot, the program crashed with a kernel panic - not
       surprising, I guess, since I had removed the entire system out from
       under it...  This was benign, since I was able to just power cycle my
       system, but maybe we need to change the wording or something here?
     * My opinion is that the reasonable default is to create a user, or at
       least give an opportunity to ask for the creation of a user.  I
       understand this is not what you want in an installer, since you use
       LDAP for account info, but I suspect most people would expect this.
     Thank you again for taking the time to make this installer.  All in all,
     it was really easy to use!  The biggest usability issues were failure to
     set up wireless, getting lost in a menu loop which required a reboot to
     break out of, and the final kernel panic which was benign but scary.

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