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What's the real reason Gentoo never got an installer?
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Buffoon
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am all pro installer. I want it to read my mind and set up my Gentoo like a dream it. I myself intend to watch TV meanwhile, with a six-pack. Can I have it, please!

Edit: Show some mercy for newcomers. We have new users here who have no clue how to redirect output or use those nice little tools in /bin, for instance. They have no idea what can be done in Linux. And you want them to use installer which covers up all internals and leaves them in dark?
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GFCCAE6xF
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No sure if I've said this before but ever since I first used gentoo, I thought an installer disk with gui would be nice. Something simple split screen, terminal emulator one side and wiki/doc the other.

I wouldn't really want more than that, and its easily accomplished with any other live image.
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Buffoon
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, that's exactly how current manual install works. You boot up the computer you are installing to, set root password and move over to your favorite computer, open SSH session and start installing Gentoo. Can copy and paste commands from Handbook, no problem. Or if you really have no another PC available use some LiveCD which has GUI and install Gentoo, same thing, copy and paste from Hanbook. You must have some creativity or you won't enjoy your experience with Gentoo. Indeed, if you want to torture yourself with official minimal CD and do everything from console you can do that, too. :P

(Believe or not I've never used Gentoo install CD myself. I'm kind of weirdo, I do everything backwards. Instead of jumping in and staring installing I sat down and read the Handbook first. After I was finished I realized I do not need to download Gentoo install CD. I had GRML or Knoppix or something else handy and I used it.)
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Tony0945
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

figueroa wrote:
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.

Well, I never learned anything. Looking up "man addgroup" or usradd or is it adduser? You do this things once and forget them five years later. If you are administering a corporate network with dozens or hundreds or thousands of users, yes, you remember. When you do a bare install maybe every five years, you don't. In between you do upgrades and changes so you remember how to set up /etc/fstab and partition drives. But I see nothing at all wrong with a GUI where you enter the user name then set or clear check boxes with group names like the old Fedora installer.
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Tony0945
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Buffoon, when I first installed Gentoo the Handbook led me astray with "You probably want to install avahi." No I didn't, but I didn't know that for years. And I don't consider a system logger optional.
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figueroa
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first time I installed Gentoo, I printed out the entire x86 habdbook on my Star dot-matrix printer which I put in a 3-ring binder and used as a reference for years. Learning how to fly that handbook was life-line. That first machine became my primary desktop PC and now, after several hardware changes, is still working today, relegated to server duties in my home-office.

Later that year (2005) and year following I installed Gentoo several times on other machines, after which I began to deploy new machines as clones made from tar.gz archives on my new Gentoo development server that I called Golliath. I didn't know it at the time, but those were, effectively, stage4-equivalent archives. Gentoo machines were deployed to a small parish school and even to create two fully equipped temporary offices to support a huge two-week church convention. I could have never become so productive, as well as become a fairly capable system admin, had it not been for the handbook in the beginning.

I don't have anything against an installer. But, if I was handing out limited development resources, an installer would be very low on my list of priorities.
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Buffoon
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tony0945,

Handbook should be taken as a reference. YOU want to install Gentoo. You will use all information available to you to accomplish this. The most helpful here is probably your previous Linux knowledge, Handbook is in second or third place. It probably is possible to install Gentoo without Linux knowledge, but it is rocky road and requires tremendous persistence and willpower. In any case Handbook should not be followed blindly. If you do not understand a command in Handbook you should look it up, for your own sake.
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Tony0945
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Buffoon wrote:
In any case Handbook should not be followed blindly. If you do not understand a command in Handbook you should look it up, for your own sake.

These days I mostly clone an existing install. I didn't do that in my latest because it was a "fail-safe" in a seperate partition. I installed stage3, added Xorg-server,Mate, and gparted then emerged world. No user, only root. It's a tool to fix other installs that I've fscked up. Just there to boot and chroot/partition whatever.
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figueroa
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Buffoon wrote:
... The most helpful here is probably your previous Linux knowledge, Handbook is in second or third place. It probably is possible to install Gentoo without Linux knowledge, but it is rocky road and requires tremendous persistence and willpower. In any case Handbook should not be followed blindly. If you do not understand a command in Handbook you should look it up, for your own sake.

I'll admit that 20 years of prior Unix/Linux experience was probably the most important tool in my kit. That made it possible for me to read through the handbook as it printed, ever so slowly, and have a pretty good idea of both the journey and the destination. Then it took me many more years to fully appreciate what we've got here.
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rich0
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 12:01 pm    Post subject: Re: What's the real reason Gentoo never got an installer? Reply with quote

I'm surprised nobody pointed this out (apologies if I missed it).

C1REX wrote:
I assume the idea was brought probably many times already and voted down by devs.


Why would devs even vote on something like this?

If you want an installer just write one - chances are some people will use it. A few people have done it over the years.

It isn't like there is some policy in Gentoo that we don't allow installers.

Just about everything that you see around here exists because somebody decided to create it. It is pretty rare around here that people say, "no, stop, you can't donate your time to create this." You can get a little of this when somebody wants to make a change that requires everybody else to do something with their projects - that is when things tend to go before Council and get voted on. Typically in these cases if the request is reasonable the goal becomes to try to minimize the impact on those who don't care about it, without blocking the new project.

This is why Gentoo can offer so many choices.

So, the simplest reason for why Gentoo lacks an installer is that nobody is creating/maintaining one. A few have happened over the years - they haven't gotten a lot of use (for reasons many others have elaborated on here). Things that don't get used much tend to not stay maintained.

As with many things necessity is the mother of invention. If you don't see something getting invented, chances are it isn't as necessary as it might seem.
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tld
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting timing for me here, as...while I've been using Gentoo for over 16 years...I nursed old hardware for so long that I just did my first install from scratch in 13 years on a new AMD machine.

For me I found the handbook to be pretty great all in all. It seems to me that an installer would have to be pretty insanely complex to come close to allowing the flexibility Gentoo is essentially designed for. I'd assume that an installer would need to use genkernel or the like which sure wouldn't be my choice. While the idea of the manual kernel make menuconfig seemed pretty daunting going in, between the lspci output, the lsmod output from a live boot disk, the handbook itself, and Gentoo AMDGPU wiki, I got the kernel almost perfect on the first try. All much smoother than I expected.

EDIT: Regarding the kernel, I ended up with everything compiled in and no modules at all, which is what I prefer.

Tom
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monkeygirl
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had no idea that people wanted an installer for Gentoo! I remember getting annoyed when livecd came out and stage 1 tarballs were removed, thinking wtf... gentoo team is taking away all the fun :lol:

How would an installer work? Would you have to write a yaml config file or the like for your configuration? Would the livedvd kernel be copied over and you'd have to spend time cleaning out the bloated configuration? I can't imagine how to customise options without an installer... unless you had to compile all of your package options ahead of time (assuming you know what you want?!)
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OldTango
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NeddySeagoon wrote:
C1REX,

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

Best Tango..... :lol:
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Goverp
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2021 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reckon a Gentoo installer should, for a limited range of platforms and filesystems:
  1. create a suitable partition in free space
  2. setup minimal networking
  3. download the current handbook and a suitable reader
  4. download extract the appropriate Gentoo phase 3
  5. update the portage tree
  6. emerge --update
  7. emerge a binary kernel
  8. emerge a boot loader.


It could also
  • handle creating free space
  • select a profile, and perhaps start installing a desktop
  • maybe handle more complex filesystem arrangements such as LVM, LUKS and RAID


Anything else would be an exercise for the user.
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