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FreeBSD first overview versus using Linux

ondra_knezour

Aspiring Daemon

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#27
fonz said:
(...) besides a niftier look, what would be the advantage(s) of a GUI installer? It may look spiffier (and thus more inviting), but I don't see how it would actually make the installation any easier.
You will get a bigger screen and better layout manager - no big gain for a regular FreeBSD user, but useful for displaying more information about what will be done and why, which can be helpful especially for new users.

I am playing with idea to implement some graphics dialog-like tool using the vgl() library, which can by used by bsdinstall() to do the installation in the graphics mode, but beside of general lack of time, imagination of problems which it can bring to all installations done over serial lines, text-only IPMI consoles and similar scenarios I used over time, are keeping me back :)
 

ondra_knezour

Aspiring Daemon

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#29
fonz said:
You mean something like x11/xdialog?
Not exactly. As far as I understand, xdialog pulls in a full X11 environment to work, but I am looking for something which just turns the console into graphics mode and you are working with pixels instead of characters.

Consider the following scenario for yes/no questions for example:

  • dialog: get the screen size - 80x25 chars, clear the screen, place a blue rectangle at the center, place white text over the rectangle.
  • vgl dialog: switch to graphics mode, get screen size - 800x600 px, fill the screen gray, place a nice daemon bitmap in the top right, place a blue rectangle 400x200 px at [200, 100]...
  • xdialog: call the Xserver, WTF? :)
 

tzoi516

Well-Known Member

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#30
ondra_knezour said:
You will get a bigger screen and better layout manager - no big gain for a regular FreeBSD user, but useful for displaying more information about what will be done and why, which can be helpful especially for new users.
For me it's about speed and accuracy. Sometimes it's quicker to type a short command, but sometimes it's easier and quicker to pick from a drop-down menu instead of typing two lines of text that gets fat fingered - <click> <scroll> <click> <click> is faster than typing two lines of text: slapping your forehead because you left off either more text or messed up a switch; scroll up and hit enter and realizing you forgot to fix what you were supposed to; scroll up again and scrolling to the spot in the middle of the first line where the change is supposed to go and then hitting Enter.

It's like having a physical keyboard on your phone - some people are used to that tactile feedback and act like that 50 year-old balding hipping that hates the GUI and won't update their phone until they drop it in the toilet. But once they get used to typing on the screen then they begin to understand the form factor and options that make sense, and their mind begins to expand about future possibilities. To me more options are better than limiting people. Where would we be if we continued to think the world was flat and the sun revolved around the earth?
 

ShelLuser

Daemon

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#31
Of course it would make it easier. Because if you have a GUI then you can press F1 to get the help screen with all the options ;)

Now, I know this may sound a bit like a sneer, it's not intended that way but meant jestingly.

But I still think this is the main issue at hand. Most people in this thread who responded see no difference in functionality between the text installer and one with a graphical interface (myself included by the way). But I think that when people mention a graphical installer they're also pushing some assumptions forward. For example the option I mentioned above; press F1 for help. Or the option to do something else during the installation (as is somewhat the case with some Linux live cd's which also provide an installation function).

It's just an assumption on my part as well mind you. But I think that when people mention a GUI they actually mean a lot more than merely an installer with a graphical interface.

Personally I prefer the text based interface, it makes the procedure a lot easier for me (especially when we're talking about performing remote installations, like on a VPS).
 

ShelLuser

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#32
tzoi516 said:
For me it's about speed and accuracy. Sometimes it's quicker to type a short command, but sometimes it's easier and quicker to pick from a drop-down menu instead of typing two lines of text that gets fat fingered
But that's not something exclusive for a graphical user interface, the same can be achieved on a text screen.

Quite frankly it's what's already present. For example; during a network installation you need to select the media which you want to use, and sometimes also the location of the repository. All of that is done using a menu. Not so much a drop down menu, but still a selection which you can navigate through (using the arrow keys or page-up / page-down) and hit enter when you're satisfied.
 

fonz

Son of Beastie

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#33
tzoi516 said:
but sometimes it's easier and quicker to pick from a drop-down menu instead of typing two lines of text that gets fat fingered
However, when during a typical (or any) FreeBSD installation does one need to type such long and/or complicated commands? I've been looking over my notes for a complicated manual install with GELI and jails, but I can't find anything like that.

tzoi516 said:
It's like having a physical keyboard on your phone - some people are used to that tactile feedback and act like that 50 year-old balding hipping [You meant hippie I presume? -- fonz] that hates the GUI and won't update their phone until they drop it in the toilet. But once they get used to typing on the screen then they begin to understand the form factor and options that make sense
Not to sidetrack the discussion, but... I had a Samsung Galaxy but hated it with passion, so I ditched it and instead got a GT-B2710 - it has normal keys and no effing touch screen. FWIW: I'm not 50 years old yet, I'm far from bald and although I can be romantic at times I sure wouldn't call myself a hippie ;)
 

tzoi516

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#34
ShelLuser said:
tzoi516 said:
For me it's about speed and accuracy. Sometimes it's quicker to type a short command, but sometimes it's easier and quicker to pick from a drop-down menu instead of typing two lines of text that gets fat fingered
But that's not something exclusive for a graphical user interface, the same can be achieved on a text screen.

Quite frankly it's what's already present. For example; during a network installation you need to select the media which you want to use, and sometimes also the location of the repository. All of that is done using a menu. Not so much a drop down menu, but still a selection which you can navigate through (using the arrow keys or page-up / page-down) and hit enter when you're satisfied.
ShelLuser said:
For example the option I mentioned above; press F1 for help. Or the option to do something else during the installation (as is somewhat the case with some Linux live cd's which also provide an installation function).
I think you articulated it better than I did - I don't have time to write a novel with examples. :) Speed can be anything from having a ready reference in the menu to having an interactive man, or having side-by-side terminals up without having to alt-F-key it - which makes it even harder to not fat-finger. "People, use your imagination." - Barney the Dinosaur
 

graudeejs

Son of Beastie

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#35
andreyves said:
So what I really want to show here is that first I am a power user, I am a Sys Admin sysadmin and I am able to do alot a lot to get stuff working, but what FreeBSD is missing out on, as well as Linux, is to get it working for the losers.
Please stop using the "losers" word please. It sounds very offensive. We as FreeBSD community are usually much more tolerant than in the Linux community (AFAIK). "noobs" or "newbies" is a much better word to use.

Thanks.
 

fonz

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#36
ShelLuser said:
tzoi516 said:
For me it's about speed and accuracy. Sometimes it's quicker to type a short command, but sometimes it's easier and quicker to pick from a drop-down menu instead of typing two lines of text that gets fat fingered
But that's not something exclusive for a graphical user interface, the same can be achieved on a text screen.
Which reminds me, I used to have (something very much like) the following in my ~/.signature:
How do I type for foo in *.jpg; do convert -resize 200x200 $foo `echo $foo|sed -e s/jpg/png`; done in a GUI?
 

tzoi516

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#37
fonz said:
However, when during a typical (or any) FreeBSD installation does one need to type such long and/or complicated commands? I've been looking over my notes for a complicated manual install with GELI and jails, but I can't find anything like that.
That's your experience. How does your experience translate to "all" users, not ones that work in the same manner as you do? For me I get thrown a laptop with no manuals and have to customize it to the user all of the time (modifications range from extreme security to a ton of applications, or both). I generally will have an iPad open with a relevant PDF that I found on the Internet, another computer nearby with an open terminal and browser, and throw in a few test installs. It's not easy to work in the blind all of the time, and I don't think I'm the only one in that type of element.

fonz said:
Not to sidetrack the discussion, but... I had a Samsung Galaxy but hated it with passion, so I ditched it and instead got a GT-B2710 - it has normal keys and no effing touch screen. FWIW: I'm not 50 years old yet, I'm far from bald and although I can be romantic at times I sure wouldn't call myself a hippie ;)
"You don't bring me flowers anymore" - Barbara Streisand :)

I do think it's the same mentality - sometimes you have to force people to do something before they can move their brain forward and comprehend that things don't limit but enhance.
 

tzoi516

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#38
fonz said:
Which reminds me, I used to have (something very much like) the following in my ~/.signature:
How do I type for foo in *.jpg; do convert -resize 200x200 $foo `echo $foo|sed -e s/jpg/png`; done in a GUI?
<click><click><Convert> - hard to fat-finger that, and the accuracy might be more consistent.
It's also great when you have to shrink and convert a lot of images too. :) Oh, and the app has it built in, so no need to worry about having ImageMagik installed or updated.
 

protocelt

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#39
I don't personally have any problem with a graphical installer being added. I just remain curious to how that would help a new user understand how to use the OS after installation. It seems to me at this point of time it would just cause more confusion for some new users by creating a false sense of confidence in understanding until after installation rather than improve anything in general. I would find an improved text installer appealing myself at least.
 

roddierod

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#40
throAU said:
andreyves said:
The installation is only available in text mode, what about if I am a loser using FreeBSD?
This one always makes me laugh.

An installer needs to do two things: display information to you in text form, and require user input, which is typically either up arrow/down arrow or text input. Why is that required to be graphical? If text-mode is a barrier to being able to install the OS, you're probably out of your depth installing ANY operating system anyway.
Thank you! I've been trying to figure out a nice way to say that and you did it for me.
 

SirDice

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#41
graudeejs said:
Please stop using the "losers" word please. It sounds very offensive. We as FreeBSD community are usually much more tolerant than in the Linux community (AFAIK). "noobs" or "newbies" is a much better word to use.
Noob is the derogatory version of newbie, it's usually used in an offensive manner ;)
 

graudeejs

Son of Beastie

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#42
SirDice said:
graudeejs said:
Please stop using the "losers" word please. It sounds very offensive. We as FreeBSD community are usually much more tolerant than in the Linux community (AFAIK). "noobs" or "newbies" is a much better word to use.
Noob is the derogatory version of newbie, it's usually used in an offensive manner ;)
I know, but it sound so much better than "loser".
 

tzoi516

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#43
I baseline everyone at "user". Then it goes from there: "experienced user", "power user", etc. Comes in handy when I have to get technical with senior people who aren't familiar with computers outside of their day-to-day tasks, and it doesn't insult anyone. What's the point, unless I don't want to be employed?
 

graudeejs

Son of Beastie

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#44
tzoi516 said:
I baseline everyone at "user". Then it goes from there: "experienced user", "power user", etc. Comes in handy when I have to get technical with senior people who aren't familiar with computers outside of their day-to-day tasks, and it doesn't insult anyone. What's the point, unless I don't want to be employed?
Great remark, thanks. Now everyone - let's get back to the subject.
 

OJ

Daemon

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#45
Juanitou said:
Maybe we are forgetting that GUI installer implies mouse-driven… ;)
I think so.

@tzoi516 suggests drop down menus are handy. I agree. I've been using them on a green screen DOS machine for years, and still do. Is that a GUI? I don't think so if we're going to define GUI as being mouse-driven - and I think we should.

@ShelLuser suggests that we need a GUI to get function key (F1=help) use. Again, I rely heavily on the use of function keys on my DOS machines. And again, there is no mouse.

The use of a mouse can be handy for some things, but adds very many extra steps for the user. Using hand/eye coordination; watching the pointer carefully so that it gets lined up with the target, thus drawing attention from other tasks; moving the whole arm to do even simple things, particularly when shifting from mouse to keyboard - to mention just a few. The animated physicality of using a mouse is one of the more inelegant, and frankly embarrassing, developments in human/computer interface design. These things become second nature to those who enjoy them, but are in fact energy consuming. They make it impossible to do simple office tasks which used to be taken for granted - such as transcription, or watching/monitoring other events while doing related input. I have a huge dislike for that kind of thing because I use computers for practical purposes and don't imbibe in games or trivial behaviour without being forced to do so. This has partly to do with my disabilities, but also to do with common sense. I do not see the point in using extra steps to do anything - and particularly don't see the point in a program forcing other people to do so unless it actually is supposed to be a game.

If someone has difficulty understanding the concept of "extra steps", I would ask them to imagine each muscle movement, and its connection with your body, brain, and eyes, that is needed to do whichever task you are concerned with. You will see that without even getting very analytical, you will be adding dozens of steps simply for the privilege of using a GUI.

PS: Relating to the previous stretch of loser/noob discussion. I consider myself an amateur. It's an old word which does not imply any particular level of expertise. From a professional point of view my computer skills are actually not very advanced, so the OP is welcome to call me a loser in that regard. :)
 
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throAU

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#46
Juanitou said:
Maybe we are forgetting that GUI installer implies mouse-driven… ;)
Which means that I need a mouse.

You can also do mouse stuff in text mode if you really want to, but seriously, the benefits? The "hard" part about installing any OS is determining where to install it, how to partition the disks/LVMs/etc., which filesystem to use and what packages to install.

None of those questions will be answered for you with a GUI.

You could perhaps refine the text-based install a little bit to say, not take up the full screen and have helpful hints off to the right or something (e.g., left half of screen = data entry, right side = context sensitive help - then again, top/bottom split in 80x50 or 80x60 text mode will account for full-screen CLI tools running in the top half with help in the bottom), or even better a hyperlinked install guide, but again, you could just as easily do that in text mode, which will then actually work well over the WAN via KVM/SSH/etc.

I guess where I'm coming from is that the not-insignificant time and effort expended on writing fancy GUI installers to then have to maintain as well as the text-based version is effort that could be better spent refining the questions asked on install and doing more intelligent hardware detection.

(I'm aware that the same people may not be involved in writing both different aspects of the project, but hopefully you see my point.)
 

OJ

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#47
throAU said:
I guess where I'm coming from is that the not-insignificant time and effort expended on writing fancy GUI installers to then have to maintain as well as the text-based version is effort that could be better spent refining the questions asked on install and doing more intelligent hardware detection.
I agree. Although I find the installer to be just fine compared to what other OSs are doing these days, I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be significantly better - and still be text mode. If DOS 2.0 (1983) and up can do drop down menus and all that old fashioned stuff, then I'd be surprised if FreeBSD couldn't at least come close.
 

JWJones

New Member


Messages: 10

#48
I don't see the need for a GUI installer in FreeBSD. At the end of the day, GUIs = obfuscation. My preferred Linux distribution, Slackware, also does not use a GUI installer. Cleaner and simpler code this way, especially considering that many will be using the likes of FreeBSD or Slackware as headless servers.
 

nestux

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#49
ikbendeman said:
nestux said:
FreeBSD was made for servers, in Desktop on the desktop the system has some cons front [compared to? -- mod.] Linux like hardware support. For instance, I can't get the sound working on my motherboard GA-Z77X-UD5H. I'm not a developer, so I have to wait until someone fixes this with a driver or something like that.

Besides that, FreeBSD is a great OS and I love the "non GUI" feeling on the installer :)
Try adjusting hw.snd.default_unit and hw.snd.default_auto using sysctl or /etc/sysctl.conf. These were 2 on my last motherboard, and need to be 1 on my current motherboard (for HDMI-passthrough). Use the search engine for more information. Here's my sysctl.conf:
Code:
# $FreeBSD: release/9.2.0/etc/sysctl.conf 112200 2003-03-13 18:43:50Z mux $
#
#  This file is read when going to multi-user and its contents piped thru
#  ``sysctl'' to adjust kernel values.  ``man 5 sysctl.conf'' for details.
#

# Uncomment this to prevent users from seeing information about processes that
# are being run under another UID.
security.bsd.see_other_uids=1
vfs.usermount=1
hw.snd.default_unit=1
hw.snd.default_auto=1
# Move and use the following in /boot/loader.conf, experiment with values
#kern.ipc.shm_allow_removed=1
#kern.ipc.shmmax=67108864
#kern.ipc.shmmax=134217728
#kern.ipc.shmall=32768
#kern.ipc.shmall=65536
#kern.ipc.shmmni=1024
#kern.ipc.shmmni=2048
#kern.ipc.shmseg=1024
#kern.ipc.shmseg=2048
#kern.maxfiles=25000
#kern.maxfiles=30000
kern.module_path=/boot/kernel;/boot/modules;/usr/local/modules
net.link.tap.user_open=1
hint.acpi_throlle.0.disabled=1
kern.ipc.shm_allow_removed=1
Thank you very much, I will try that and see what's happend. :beer
 

phoenix

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#50
OJ said:
fonz said:
. . . I don't see how it would actually make the installation any easier.
Of course you don't. Because it wouldn't.
It depends on the UI. Some GUIs make it very easy to do disk partitioning; some TUIs do as well. And, other GUIs make it hard to figure out what's going on; the same with some TUIs.

It's not the graphical part, in and of itself, that makes a GUI better than a TUI. It's all in how the information is presented.

I still prefer the Debian/Ubuntu text installer over any of the GUI Linux installers I've used. And the bsdinstaller TUI is really shaping up to be its equal.