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What's the real reason Gentoo never got an installer?
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:07 pm    Post subject: What's the real reason Gentoo never got an installer? Reply with quote

I just wonder as there were plans in the past when drobbins were in charge if I'm not mistaken.


I assume the idea was brought probably many times already and voted down by devs.
So what's the reason?

- To safeguard Gentoo from noobs ;)
- It wouldn't be Gentoo any more.
- Options are bad.
- Would remove elitism part of the community and bragging rights.
- Building Gentoo from parts is like assembling IKEA furnitures - you like the product more.



I'm joking of course but I really wonder why Gentoo stick to LiveCD as the official way.
After a number of fresh installs it becomes an inconvenience.
I also use installed ubuntu or similar to build gentoo by mindlessly coping and pasting commands. I think I had my personal list of commands to make the installation semi automatic for my PC.

Opinions?
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Jaglover
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look here, and there are many more. This is already duscussed too many times.

BTW, every time Gentoo gets installed there apparently was an installer ... :P
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what? Technical difficulties to sort out updates vs old packages?
Why not having a LiveCD that at least help to do what normally means coping and pasting?

I kind of mitigate some of the inconvenience by installing ubuntu and preparing Gentoo partitions using gui software.

Then in fully working environment I have a list of commands that I copy to terminal. Why not making simple tools or scripts that can do that?
Installer doens't mean it has to be full of binaries - it still can download stage 3 and compile.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it does have an installer. bash
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am the installer.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:
I kind of mitigate some of the inconvenience by installing ubuntu and preparing Gentoo partitions using gui software.


Oh no, first it was binary installer, now we want GUI tools ...
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doesn't matter what type. I'm asking why.

Is it about pride?
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:
Doesn't matter what type. I'm asking why.

Is it about pride?
the thing about GUI's are they are very,very good and presenting typical options for when a user might not know what they want while command line is more effective when you know EXACTLY what you want. Some things are better graphically while some thing better from the cli. A good example is partitioning, I personally prefer to do it via gparted (can i do it via cli? sure, is it easier to see where a partition is, how big? definitely)


Now take gentoo install. the vast majority of it is editing text files so what difference is embedding vim into a gtk application compared to vim on the cli? There are way too many variables for a reasonable 10click gui to be viable so why put effort? if someone wants to try to make one it wouldn't be rejected just no one see's the point
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Think of all that wasted manpower. And in the end nobody will be using it because it sucks.

BTW, plain gdisk does the job well, with little imagination you can picture yourself the disk layout, never had problem with it. I distrust GUI tools, they don't show what's going on underneath. Unless it is a video editor, then it is an advantage to see where you are cutting it. :P
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naib and Jaglover - thank you for methoric answer. I started to worry this subject can be only joked about and never explained.

Manpower argument speaks to me and I understand devs might enjoy on working on something else than an installer.

I have my doubts why a graphical or menu type installer is limiting. Most people configure kernel using menu while manual file editing would give more options.
Also adding menu or gui type partitioner doesn't limit you from command line most of the time.
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Last edited by C1REX on Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:
Doesn't matter what type. I'm asking why.

Is it about pride?
No. A few thoughts developed as a general consensus on this topic:
  • The manual install is a gate that makes it likely that you have the skills to maintain Gentoo. It was thought that having a completely automated, reliable install would dump too many inexperienced people into the user base, creating a support nightmare for both the developer and user communities.
  • An automated installer would almost have to severely limit choice, which is something that was considered undesirable.
  • No developer or group of developers could muster (or, at least, maintain) the interest in developing the installer.
The summary is that the Gentoo developer community didn't want it. Now, all of these points are debatable (I mean, what isn't?), but this is a reasonably complete distillation of the reasons, I think.

- John
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:22 pm    Post subject: Re: What's the real reason Gentoo never got an installer? Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:
- Building Gentoo from parts is like assembling IKEA furnitures - you like the product more.

That's mine.

Actually instead of an installer I maintain a stripped down setup compiled generically. I then copy that image to a new machine or drive instead of the official stage3. It's actually a stage4 and includes packages from my local overlays.

1. Boot a medium, preferably sysrescue cd.
2. use gparted on the medium to partition my drives.
3. Use scp to copy my stage4 image.
4. Install the bootloader
5. boot into the install.
6. change make.conf to march=native
7. start emerge -ev @world and walk away
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eh, another gparted user? I've never tried it, is it really that good? In gfdisk I type in the sizes of partitions and that's it. Fast, reliable. I imagine in gparted I do the same sliding with mouse? And then get mad because it is hard to get exact sizes with mouse? Tell me I'm wrong.
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jaglover - you slide the mouse and then manually get exact values in the windows underneath.

https://i3g4v6w8.stackpathcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/create-ntfs-partition-gparted-windows-10.jpg



Tony - I had regular stage4 from my fully working system. It's a simple backup but could be used as an installer on another machine.
Whenever I used that I felt like Quick Save/Quick Load :)
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John R. Graham

Thank you for a great answer. I understand that devs just don't want to do it because of time consumption and consequences that would follow.
For me would be pride and bragging rights then (BTW: I use gentoo).


While being on the subject: How does CalculateOS installer work? I've tried Sabayon and it was horrible.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:


I kind of mitigate some of the inconvenience by installing ubuntu and preparing Gentoo partitions using gui software.



Seriously ? I find fdsik much, much more convenient and, I would say, feeling safe. With gui's I am always worried that I have left some option ticked/unticked in some hidden menu.
With fdisk I know exactly where I am at every step. For instance, I would never be brave enough to resize old partition with data with gui's
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C1REX
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just double check with fdsik to feel better :)
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I simply can't see how you can organically introduce a new user to the concept of USE flags with just a graphical installer, not only that, but also with manual kernel configuration, grub options, initramfs etc. You can't just list 999 of possible options, or spit to the screen a huge cloud of USE flags without any info about them. The proper way is to read the documentation, learn, pick what you need and install it that way. It's not a question of pride, in Arch it may be, their install is more or less straight forward, and the base is always comes with premade kernel etc., but in Gentoo it's different, people install Gentoo probably because they want to configure their system to a very specific state, otherwise why would they spend time to install something like Gentoo?
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:39 pm    Post subject: Re: What's the real reason Gentoo never got an installer? Reply with quote

Tony0945 wrote:
C1REX wrote:
- Building Gentoo from parts is like assembling IKEA furnitures - you like the product more.

Actually instead of an installer I maintain a stripped down setup compiled generically. I then copy that image to a new machine or drive instead of the official stage3. It's actually a stage4 and includes packages from my local overlays.

1. Boot a medium, preferably sysrescue cd.
...
7. start emerge -ev @world and walk away


Having installed many versions of different linux distributions over the years, I knew I finally found one for me when installing Gentoo for the first time. At about step 3 of one of the installation guide notes how to optionally start an sshd daemon. Oh how lovely that was. I can do just about the entire gentoo install remotely, from wherever.

To tell the truth, I've never dug down and properly investigated what all the proper definitions in Gentoo speak of "stage[1|2|3|4]. After my initial install, most of my install's have been like Tony's - some sort of hybrid. Boot some medium to get a prompt. Start ssd daemon, then do everything else remotely.

I've done Gentoo Raspberry-PI installs from work, on a PI sitting back home in my garage, just connected up to an Ethernet port. Gentoo installs (any installs for that matter) are a lot of tweak this, tweak that, then go (emerge @world for gentoo). I can start it, minimize the window while it chugs away, and do other things while it works.

Gentoo certainly seems like a haven for us command line junkies.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jaglover wrote:
Tell me I'm wrong.

OK. You're wrong. :-)

As CIREX said you can do either way. I usually only have two partitions, UEFI BOOT and Root. You can format at the same time and you can review what it's going to do before pressing the final button. Or, if you really hate GUI's, use parted. Gparted is just a front end to parted. I like the Visual display of the partitions. Less chance of a horrible mistake.

Used it a few days ago to make a partition on a hard drive to house an Ubuntu VM. Ubuntu wants a lot of space that I'm unwilling to spare on my SSD. Why Ubuntu? I had some program that only had an Ubuntu installer. Turned out that there was an ebuild for it, in official Gentoo repo no less! Program's home page only mentions Ubuntu and RedHat.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Etnull

Gentoo already has menu type USE flag manager. It's awesome as it gives descriptions what they do and you also see all of them to know what's possible.


Kernel config isn't manual in Gentoo. It's using menu and cursors. No manual file editing or typing.

Many people do backups so no need to reinstall but even then you could have most or all commands saved and just copy them.

Especially if installed on the same pc with the same partitions.

Kernel config also can be saved and copied.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C1REX,

What?
There is more than
Code:
make config


The liveDVD has or had an install wizard. It needs your webcam though.

Gentoo has had three or four installers over the years. They have all died of neglect though.
I suppose its because you only ever install Gentoo on a particular system once, then mould it to be your gentoo.

Google for the Gentoo Reference Platform to readabout the oldest and probably longest lived Gentoo Installer.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:31 pm    Post subject: Re: What's the real reason Gentoo never got an installer? Reply with quote

gtwrek wrote:


Gentoo certainly seems like a haven for us command line junkies.


Yeah just like debootstrap, arch-bootstrap.sh or fedora-bootstrap .... and some people was using debootstrap long before gentoo even existed ... and it was very common way of installation among all other distros of the time
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every time I've installed a Debian derivative I've ended up wasting more time figuring out how to fix its opinionated defaults and prevent it silently changing them back than I would've just setting up a stage3 the way I want to begin with.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was the very reason I came to Gentoo. I was an avid Debian user until there was some FAM bug which caused it going berserk and putting the CPU on overdrive. When I tried to get rid of it that supercow apt-get always managed to sneak it back in. Finally I learned I have two options to get rid of it, to build a fake package to satisfy the supercow or switch to Gentoo. This was 16 years ago and I still remember the fight.
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