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Date:      Tue, 12 Sep 2006 10:35:25 +0100
From:      "Jeff Rollin" <>
To:        "Chuck Swiger" <>
Subject:   Re: Newbie Experience
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <000001c6d520$292f6700$0c01a8c0@DELL8400> <> <> <>

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On 11/09/06, Chuck Swiger <> wrote:
> On Sep 11, 2006, at 12:15 PM, Jeff Rollin wrote:
> > Discussions like these leave me lost for words...
> Perhaps, although it seems you recovered quickly.  :-)

Heh. Maybe I ought to have said "almost!"

> Which is to say, apart from the occasional bug I really don't see
> > what the
> > problem is with sysinstall.
> Credits: It's highly functional.  It can configure a lot of things
> about a FreeBSD system, either during or after the installation of
> the system.  It's CLI/remote-serial-console friendly.

Actually there is one problem with sysinstall: Access to certain features
(such as (g)vinum) is not possible from it - FreeBSD seems to have had
(g)vinum for almost as long - if not longer - than  Linux has had LVM.
Nowadays, outside of Slackware, it seems that everyone not only has support
for LVM, but also allows you to put / in it.

Debits: It's oriented towards technical people.  People who don't
> understand computers well in general, and the details of disk layouts
> in particular, tend to get hopelessly confused.

Hmm. Windows has a partitioner too. Even worse, unlike most Linux/BSD
installers' counterparts, unless you want to do something really simple
(like wipe everything that isn't Windows off the first hard drive and
install it on the first partition there; ugh) in my "eXPerience" it doesn't.
bloody. work. Of course it's possible/probable that people who come to
FreeBSD/Linux have never reinstalled Windows, though I know some technically
pretty unsavvy people who have, by necessity (thanks to viruses).

 Not only do they
> usually not know how to access the help inside sysinstall, many times
> the help text is not available, or is not comprehensible unless you
> have the already-mentioned technical background.

I guess I'm just jaded, I hardly notice...

Fortunately, the outstanding docs available for FreeBSD do a lot to
> walk people through the process, even novices.  Unfortunately, people
> want to use computers without having to read the docs.  Just ask your
> mom/grandparents/etc.  :-)

I know; the infuriating thing for me is that this also applies to people who
WOULD read the manual for something as simple as a food mixer!

> To me it's the best thing this side of YaST for
> > getting (certain areas of) system administration done. (Yeah, I
> > know a lot
> > of you probably hate YaST in particular or Linux in general...
> Why would you think that?  I'd imagine that most of the people using
> FreeBSD end up having a Linux box or two around for one reason or
> another.

"Hate" is probably a strong word; nevertheless, a lot of BSD people I
know/whose responses I've read on this and other lists don't rate Linux

As for YaST, well, whatever gets the job done.  It reminds me a bit
> too much of SMIT from AIX, or perhaps cPanel or Webmin, but other
> people seem to prefer such interfaces to a CLI prompt.

The advantage of those over CLI's (I can't believe I'm saying this) is that
what you can do is all laid out bare before you, instead of being
squirrelled away in handbooks, FAQs, man and info pages, however good they
may be.


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