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What's the real reason Gentoo never got an installer?
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figueroa
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the kind of question someone might ask after being away from Gentoo for 15 years. It's not in the DNA. Anyone intending to use Gentoo can follow the guide and when they are done they are at least minimally prepared to continue to use and maintain their operating system. A GUI installer like used by the popular desktop distributions leave the user prepared to do just a few things, use the menu and use GUI desktop applications, and possibly keep it up to date.

Gentoo means install once, use forever. I have deployed Gentoo a couple of dozen times. I've learned new things with each installation. That's good. However, when deploying Gentoo across many identical PCs, I only install once, then make a tarball (actually, about 20 tarballs, one for each item in the root directory -- more or less), then un-archive to each new machine, make any necessary tweaks (/etc/fstab /etc/conf.d/net) install GRUB, and I'm done. I've also done similar deployments across many non-identical machines by creating a generically configured system that would run on any hardware.

GUI installers are for the mass consumer market; bad for new Gentoo users. At best, it would mislead the new user.

I would never encourage a new desktop computer user or Windows refugee to try Gentoo.

Finally, lots of other good answers in this thread.
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krinn
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:36 pm    Post subject: Re: What's the real reason Gentoo never got an installer? Reply with quote

gtwrek wrote:
I can start it, minimize the window while it chugs away, and do other things while it works.

screen emerge .... :D
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gentoo has lots of installers.
Some are buggy and/or incomplete.

To find your Gentoo installer, go to the bathroom and look in the mirror :)
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Zucca
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naib wrote:
it does have an installer. bash
asturm wrote:
I am the installer.
NeddySeagoon wrote:
To find your Gentoo installer, go to the bathroom and look in the mirror :)
++

And also because Gentoo is about choice, the installer would need to take account so many things that it would be quite a big project.
That said, I'd rather have competent Gentoo devs continue improving Gentoo in other ways rather than tackle yet another problem that isn't a problem.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Split 15 posts discussing GNU Screen / tmux to Benefits of GNU Screen/tmux vs direct terminals. Both threads are interesting in their own right, and splitting them lets each continue independently.
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2020 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me to actually understand what was happening I needed this. No gui, no easy stuff. It forces users to understand what's going on underneath all the pretty gui. If i wasnt forced to do it myself I would be a drone like everyone else using other popular distros. Not saying that you cant learn from using the popular ones, but it does make you lazy IMO.
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ippipp
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2020 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<@insomnia> it only takes three commands to install Gentoo
<@insomnia> cfdisk /dev/hda && mkfs.xfs /dev/hda1 && mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/gentoo/ && chroot /mnt/gentoo/ && env-update && . /etc/profile && emerge sync && cd /usr/portage && scripts/bootsrap.sh && emerge system && emerge vim && vi /etc/fstab && emerge gentoo-dev-sources && cd /usr/src/linux && make menuconfig && make install modules_install && emerge gnome mozilla-firefox openoffice && emerge grub && cp /boot/grub/grub.conf.sample /boot/grub/grub.conf && vi /boot/grub/grub.conf && grub && init 6
<@insomnia> that's the first one


source: http://bash.org/?464385
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Tony0945
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2020 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doesn't weork for me. /dev/hda doesn't exist!
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figueroa
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2020 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ippipp: I hope you meant that as humor. Otherwise it's fake news.
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ununu
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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lil dirty trick

untar stage 3, cp -r livecd's /lib/modules and cp bzimage. Reboot. Done.

(you couled get by with only bzimage, without the modules if in a rush.)
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2020 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used Mac for a long time and switched to a PC with Ubuntu because I was tired of paying a lot of money for an overrated pretty sealed box.
After that I've installed Arch after a lot of failed Manjaro installation attempts (their GUI installer sucks).
I've been an Arch user for a little over and year and I loved it. But someday I thought: what's "harder" than Arch?
My first failed Gentoo install was in a Virtual Machine. The first time I achieved a login I felt a sense of accomplishment. I installed it a dozen of times after that and with every installation I learned something new. Now i'm writting from Gentoo installed in my main cp, dual booting with arch. Yesterday, for the first time, I accomplished to build a minimal custom kernel.

I don't need Gentoo to get my stuff done. AT ALL. That group of people, who really "NEEDS" gentoo, is even more restricted I think.

Also I'm not a computer guy, I'm a neurologist who learned python to solve a problem I had in my work routine. I could have payed a programmer to do it, sure, and I even tried to... *sigh*... But I had a lot more fun doing by myself.

There's no free lunch. In a nutshell, in my case I use it because I'm a Linux enthusiast and there's no better way to know the guts of the system than gentoo. I just like to see my handmade system running like hell. My recent mistake was to add the ~AMD64 keywork in make.conf because I needed a single masked package. Inadvertently I reemerged all my unbacked system to testing packages and found it that is easier to reinstall it than to downgrade.

figueroa wrote:

GUI installers are for the mass consumer market; bad for new Gentoo users. At best, it would mislead the new user.


And as figueroa pointed out: there's a lot of ways to make the installation easier and faster for who that knows what's doing.
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bammbamm808
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:51 am    Post subject: Re: What's the real reason Gentoo never got an installer? Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:
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?


I've never had an issue installing Gentoo, except when tired, not paying attention, rushing, etc. I'm the installer.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2020 6:03 pm    Post subject: Re: What's the real reason Gentoo never got an installer? Reply with quote

C1REX wrote:
So what's the reason?


Simple. It doesn't need one. The handbook is easy to follow, and allows users, especially "noobs", an opportunity to learn.

Quote:
- Options are bad.


Most installers I've seen didn't offer options, other than a choice to install something or not.

Just off the top of my head, Gentoo doesn't make you install a WM/DE, a web browser, a mail client, force you to use a particular filesystem, force a particular init system, logger, or cron

Quote:
- Would remove elitism part of the community and bragging rights.


If you count forks, it could be argued that Gentoo is one of the most widely used Linux variants, possibly even surpassed only by Android.

Quote:
After a number of fresh installs it becomes an inconvenience.


Why so many installs? If constant re-installs, then you need to fix whatever problem is making you think you need to re-install. If new hardware, perhaps clone an image, write with dd, then chroot in and change needed parts.

Quote:
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.


Why not just write some scripts to do the work for you? For instance, this lives in / on the computer I am currently using:

Code:
test -L /dev/shm && rm /dev/shm && mkdir /dev/shm
chmod 1777 /dev/shm
vgchange -a y
swapon /dev/mapper/lvm-swap
mount /dev/mapper/lvm-home home
mount /dev/mapper/lvm-media media
mount /dev/mapper/lvm-opt opt
mount /dev/mapper/lvm-usr usr
mount /dev/mapper/lvm-var var
mount --rbind /dev dev
mount --rbind /sys sys
mount -t proc none proc
cp -L /etc/resolv.conf etc
/etc/init.d/gpm restart
mount -t tmpfs tmpfs -o rw,nosuid,noatime,nodev,size=4G,mode=1777 var/tmp
mount -t tmpfs tmpfs -o rw,nosuid,noatime,nodev,size=756M,mode=1777 tmp
mount -t tmpfs tmpfs -o rw,nodev,relatime,size=795620k,mode=755 run
mount /dev/mapper/lvm-portage usr/portage


I have to run cryptsetup and mount /dev/mapper/lvm-root first, but the next step after this is "chroot . /bin/bash". That's four commands vs twenty-one. I don't bother scripts within chroot, as I don't install often enough to need them.

also...

NQS
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Installers restrict the user's freedom to be honest. Just look at Ubuntu which comes with a bunch of preinstalled programs you most users are very likely never going to use.
Not to start about how many times I failed to install distributions with Calamares, which crashed with really vague excuses. If you do everything yourself you can only blame yourself for screwing up.
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

figueroa,

That quote from ippipp is/was in the fortune database.
That's one of the first programs I install, to have a fortune at login.

It shows its age by using hda.
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krinn
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
It shows its age by using hda.

it show our age :D
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pa4wdh
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 6:26 pm    Post subject: Re: What's the real reason Gentoo never got an installer? Reply with quote

It doesn't have one because it doesn't need one.

Throughout the forums you'll find countless ways people install Gentoo: raid, lvm, crypto and combinations of those to just name a few. Making a program to facilitate all those use cases is a sheer impossible task. The result can be seen in most other distro's: Some things are simply impossible, some thins are hard to do because they are hidden behind 20 menu's because "it has to be user friendly", disappointing people who do know what they want.

I think Gentoo is way better off without one, all the effort that would go into creating an installer (which will end up to be crippled anyway, given the results other distro's have been able to come up with over many years) is way better spend in making Gentoo better.
Do you want an installer? Create one that fits your needs, place it on a USB stick and run it after booting from a bootable CD/DVD/USB.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2020 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently had an experience that made me think about this topic and i'd like to share it with you.

I was in need of a quick linux distro to test on. I thought a binary disto would fit, as it would give me a quick result and at that point i didn't care for any optimizations.
The hardware at hand was a regular dell laptop, nothing special or fancy. The only thing that turned out to be special enough to break installers was an nvme ssd (which i thought were already quite common).

The first distro i tested as CentOS 8. Result: The installer didn't understand the nvme device as a valid device for installation. The device itself worked when i switched to a terminal, so it's really the installers fault here.
Next, i tried Fedora 33 workstation. Result: Same as CentOS 8. Device works, installer refuses to use it.
Next, i thought i'd use Debian. Result: I placed the image on USB Storage, and the installer only looked for a real cd-rom device to find it's data. Do these things still exist today?
Next, i switched to Ubuntu LTS, so that's 20.04. Result: Installer hangs when preparing storage because it doesn't find any. Device itself works when i check it on the terminal.
Next, thought i'd give CentOS 8 stream a chance. Result: Same as the regular CentOS 8.
Then, i tried Ubuntu 20.10. Result: This was the only installer so far which is able to use the nvme device and installed the way you'd expect.

While there might have been workarounds to get things going, to me this represents the problem with "user friendly" installers. And I'd like to stress again: in all tested distro's the device worked. I could mkfs and mount it from the terminal, every time it was the installer that let me down.
The advantage of doing it the gentoo way is that as soon as a device is supported by the kernel, you can use it for installation. If you want some super special combo of raid/lvm/crypto/whatever, you can do just that.
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figueroa
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2020 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would think there is something non-standard with that laptop's nvme ssd.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2020 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the OpenSuse installer/Administration manager YAST. Let's you select what tu install and what not to install and configure or remove.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2020 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

figueroa wrote:
I would think there is something non-standard with that laptop's nvme ssd.

No, there isn't. It behaves like any other nvme ssd i've use before, uses the same kernel module(s), shows up in the same way (/dev/nvme0n1), and i even used it in other distro's with older kernels than the distro's i've tried now. The fact that i can actually use the SSD from a terminal when the installer is running confirms that the hardware support is not the problem here.

I actually forgot about OpenSUSE. I've been a SuSE fan before i switched to Gentoo, so thanks for bringing back the good memories :)
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

no installer cause no point.

setup your hard drives,

extract stage,

configure kernel,

pick like 2-3 choices of 2-3 things,

reboot

done
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arguably, now there's sys-kernel/gentoo-kernel-bin, the biggest inhibitor against an installer has gone.
It should now be relatively easy, for the hardware that ebuild supports, to put together something that unzips the stage 3, installs and syncs portage, stuffs in a kernel, probably installs rEFInd , and reboots to a shiny new command line. Much like Arch, you'd get a minimal environment from which you'd tailor your system.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I miss from an installer is the setup of all the small details of the user like group membership, hostname, indeed the creation of the groups. And yes, a GUI, at least an ncurses GUI would be nice. After the full install is done, it would still be nady for adding/deleting users. Say, app-admin/user-admin.
On a bare install I always forget something because the wiki doesn't explicitly mention it.

Installing a stage3, building a kernel, and rebooting gives you a basic working system but by no means a working practical system.

EDIT:
And ALSA setup is always an exercise in blind stumbling about. Maybe I don't want one installer, but several optional add-on installers.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And, at the end of runnng the installer, the first-time users will have learned nothing to help move forward and maintain their shiny new system. I'm feeling ambiguous.

Added: All those details should be IN THE handbook.
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