Technology Roadmap

mrbeastie0x19

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Sounds like an absolute nightmare.

- Requires a network (currently I can extract sets on another machine without a network interface).
- Requires remote authentication (otherwise a malicious attacker could target my machines address and format my drives).
- Requires 4gb ram to boot (does that sound like a bad use of resources to anyone else?)
- Looks difficult to configure, what happens when I need to drop into a shell because the installer is not flexible enough?
- If for some reason it fails (which it will) I still need to drop into a shell, except now I have more barriers to do so.

A far better installer would be a simple shell with two options: Novice and Expert. Novice will default all settings so new users just have to press enter, type in a keymap and fill in a username and password and they're up and running within minutes with sane defaults. Expert would allow manual partitioning, messing around with security hardening etc. When the project switches to pkgbase optionally there could be a prompt to install third party software, providing a simple dialog interface to browse the ports tree and select any packages of interest, or to skip that and stick with the base system.

That installer prototype is a step in the wrong direction in my opinion!
 

chrbr

Aspiring Daemon

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About the installer prototype: the page says:
Code:
That means you can put the install disc for FreeBSD into a headless machine on your network, 
and use the browser on your laptop or even smartphone to access the installer. 
The Graybeards will point out that savvy users have always been able to access 
the text installer from another computer over SSH, but even the most staunch 
Luddite has to admit that simply opening a browser on whatever device you have 
handy and pointing it to the target machine’s IP address is a big usability improvement.
Is that serious? Sure, all newcomers have headless machines around and the only issue with the FreeBSD installation is that currently there is no access to the installer by a browser. I am too stupid for this world.
EDIT: I am not a native English speaker. May be I misunderstand everything. But I do not think so.
 
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grahamperrin

grahamperrin

Daemon

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<https://forums.freebsd.org/threads/82216/#post-533608> jbodenmann you didn't ask about the Thunderbolt 4 ports (I didn't expect you to), but this is worth noting:

… early stages of evaluating work on Thunderbolt 3 / USB 4 support. …

For what it's worth: a few days ago, I booted an HP EliteBook from FreeBSD 14.0-CURRENT for a few hours (to test its camera) and if I recall correctly, could not use a Microsoft mouse with the USB ports in an HP Thunderbolt 3 Dock.

(Not a particularly useful observation, because the ports seem to be intermittently not driven with Windows, and it seems that neither HP Support Assistant nor HP Image Assistant automatically provides what's required. Addressing this is on my to-do list for Monday.)
 
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grahamperrin

grahamperrin

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Requires 4gb ram to boot (does that sound like a bad use of resources to anyone else?)

The wish to require less is shared by:
  1. the developer of helloSystem, on which that particular experiment was based at the time
  2. the developer of Airyx
  3. the author of the article
  4. me and various other people, including developers whose names are not immediately apparent.
Respectively (1–3):



"the experimental installer ISO won’t even boot unless it detected at least 4 GB of RAM onboard."



Also, for reference:


… not so much is required for installed systems (without the .iso). …
 

mrbeastie0x19

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False.

Please: where did you get the misinformation? Or did you test, and encounter a failure?

View attachment 11552
From the article you linked
"Once the user has booted into the live OS, they simply need to point the browser to the loopback address at any time to access the installer’s GUI."

There is an option to do this locally then? Ok fair enough I guess it can be done, but the subsequent paragraph mentions network installs so that was the source of confusion.
 

mrbeastie0x19

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Messages: 95

The wish to require less is shared by:
  1. the developer of helloSystem, on which that particular experiment was based at the time
  2. the developer of Airyx
  3. the author of the article
  4. me and various other people, including developers whose names are not immediately apparent.
Respectively (1–3):



"the experimental installer ISO won’t even boot unless it detected at least 4 GB of RAM onboard."



Also, for reference:

I'm only using the information you provided (the article), if there's anything wrong with it do let us know. And expressing a desire to use less resources isn't quite reassuring enough to replace bsdinstall is it? Results need to happen.

*one of the developers in a link you gave seems to suggest he has no interest in supporting machines with lower resources, now it's the 21st century so I'm mostly OK with that, but it doesn't bode well for FreeBSD as a platform for small embedded devices like routers...
 
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grahamperrin

grahamperrin

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Sorry! My bad. Not thinking straight. Force of habit, I dived into the older GUI that's not web-based. I deleted my post.

point the browser to the loopback address

Re: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loopback#Virtual_loopback_interface> I hope to find that localhost works, for the proof-of-concept installer, with no network hardware present. I'll retest, please watch this space.

Results need to happen.

Point (2) is probably the result that we want.
 
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grahamperrin

grahamperrin

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I hope to find that localhost works, for the proof-of-concept installer, with no network hardware present. I'll retest,

It does work for most preparations, however (from the article):

… the manual network configuration panel currently only works with WiFi interfaces, as that’s all he personally has to test with. …

Conceptually, what's missing is an http://localhost/ (installer front page) option to Skip networking. Instead, with hello-0.6.0_gitfe7bf19-FreeBSD-13.0-amd64.iso:

1633254668624.png
  • in the absence of compatible wireless hardware, the Connect button is non-effective, and (front page) installation of FreeBSD can not begin.
Hints:
  1. the Install FreeBSD icon pictured above is not related to the Install FreeBSD web page (the proof-of-concept that featured in the article) – it's an helloSystem application
  2. to have something visible – not blackness – during the very long silence at boot time (an issue with helloSystem), unset boot_mute as pictured below.
1633254642504.png
 

mrbeastie0x19

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Messages: 95

It does work for most preparations, however (from the article):



Conceptually, what's missing is an http://localhost/ (installer front page) option to Skip networking. Instead, with hello-0.6.0_gitfe7bf19-FreeBSD-13.0-amd64.iso:

View attachment 11554
  • in the absence of compatible wireless hardware, the Connect button is non-effective, and (front page) installation of FreeBSD can not begin.
Hints:
  1. the Install FreeBSD icon pictured above is not related to the Install FreeBSD web page (the proof-of-concept that featured in the article) – it's an helloSystem application
  2. to have something visible – not blackness – during the very long silence at boot time (an issue with helloSystem), unset boot_mute as pictured below.
View attachment 11553
Interesting thanks for looking at that, yes if there is a loop back address that can be accessed without a 'real network' as such that is a little better, I suppose the base system could do with some kind of http daemon anyway so using it for an installer wouldn't be too bad, however I do worry still about the resource usages and my experience with graphical installers is often quite bad (Ubuntus is actually pretty good though)

GhostBSD was never intended for such devices.
Sure but the road map mentions a new installer on the way possibly for FreeBSD. I'm just hoping this is not the kind of road taken given the additional overhead it'd put on non desktop setups, which being realistic account for the larger number of FreeBSD installations in terms of practical usage these days.

It all depends on how it ends up looking though, because outsourcing the installer to another machine doing a headless install to another device might actually be a smarter approach for a smaller system.
 
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grahamperrin

grahamperrin

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… the additional overhead it'd put on non desktop setups, …

I'm not aware of any plan to deprecate bsdinstall(8). Expect it to be available alongside a web-based installer, and so on.

Airyx, the system mentioned above, boots fine with 1,024 MB memory, which should be more than enough for a web browser to handle a web-based installer.

VirtualBox_Airyx_03_10_2021_12_17_18.png
 

kpedersen

Son of Beastie

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I guess this web server based installer is meant to compliment bsdinstall. Possibly intended for the younger generation who have never experienced the elegance or simplicity of installing via serial/RS-232 and only know ethernet (personally I would rather only put a new server on the network *after* finishing all configuration).

That said, the ethernet solution does feel "big, clever and enterprisy" (Solaris and AIX use(d) similar I believe).
 

mrbeastie0x19

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Bumping this because I have something relevant to say and the thread is still relevant. (It is the current roadmap).

With respect to the installer I would like to see an initramfs, similar to the openbsd ramdisk kernel, if you take a look it allows you to produce an installer image that's about 5mb in size... Obviously the sets are then fetched from the net (which they probably should be to make sure you are up to date anyway). I still think this is very impressive.
 

mer

Aspiring Daemon

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mrbeastie0x19
That is the way a good number of Linux distributions do things. An issue is networking: what is needed to get on the network so we can install packages. If you have a wifi connection, you need the right stuff to get that going, but if you need a package, now that needs to be in the initramfs. Next guy has different hardware so you add another package. Pick a point where you stop and someone is going to complain.
Now done properly an initramfs could be told to point at a local device like USB drive for packages instead of Internet, but you still need to present that choice.

As for the old sysinstall discussions, yes, I certainly was around using it and agree with the arguments against it. Some of the things weren't bad, if you looked at "meta-things". Install X? Workstation? Server? One can envision a simple server vs workstation install, with workstation ask about preferred DE, do you want compiler, but there have been and always will be arguments around this.

To me, it's very simple:
Default install. Decide on that, figure it out, lock it down.
Make it painfully obvious and easy for "what next" beyond the default install. Now I've always found this trivial and easy to understand but I realize not everyone does. Better documentation, better "stuff" would help.

I'm really tired of the "default editor" argument: vi and ee are both installed by default, so there really should be no argument. If you want something more hand-holding the only thing making sense to me is:
When the installer asks about "adding a user", ask for default editor preference for that user only, then set EDITOR correctly in the shell init files.
Doing anything other than that is forcing the setting on all the users which is the wrong thing to do.

The current "dfault editor discussion" seems to be:
50% of the people want ee as default, the rest want vi as the default.
Since vi has been the default for "just about forever", we should switch the default to ee so the "other" 50% have to do something to get vi as default. It's only fair because the 50% that want ee as default have been doing something and they shouldn't have to.
 

mrbeastie0x19

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True UNIX admins know the real editor is not vi, not ee, but ed /s. I don't see any strong reason for any of them in honesty, they're all fairly bog standard text editors that can edit text but have a very unfriendly ui (from the modern perspective) yet they do one thing and do it well. Pick one, or three, doesn't bother me, they take absolutely no space really.

Looking at the ram disk kernel as I said above the openbsd image supports networking even on the 5mb image, not sure what magic it does but it just fetches the base sets after. By comparison the freebsd memstick img is hundreds of mbs, and that's about on par with most linux distros like Debian. For the life of me I can't work out why the openbsd way isn't being taken by more systems.
 
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