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Arch Linux's Install Media Adds "Archinstall" For Quick/Easy Installations

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  • #91
    Originally posted by Torxed View Post

    I've thought about adding a wifi-configuration step some where.
    Archinstall is branded as a "guided installer", but in it's basic form it's actually a lib/api that ships a guided installer. And I'm thinking to add wifi configuration to the library part - and users would be able to in a very simplified manner configure `iwd` to some extent. Essentially just ask "Which wifi? and what's the password?" and set up the appropriate iwd systemd script for it. But people haven't been outspoken about this specific need so haven't added it yet

    But I'm always open to feedback (main developer here)
    The reason people haven't been outspoken about it is that plain old WPA2-Personal with just SSID and password is quite straightforward to set up with just CLI, or if people want a more interactive way nmtui (NetworkManager's TUI interface) can do it too, whereas the WPA2-Enterprise simply has a lot more options that need to be filled in, and depending on which protocols the network requires the specific options needed can differ too. Other distros that have a GUI installer have access to the GUI frontends, which does have support for all that stuff (at least the NetworkManager ones do, like GNOME's and KDE's). It doesn't help that the Arch wiki is very long-winded when it comes to configuring networks for each specific daemon (out of necessity given all the possibilities, but still), which made an install that should've taken an hour or so of an evening (being my first time, so I was quite nervous and triple checking all the commands I was typing in) stretch all the way to like several hours of the next day.

    In short, I don't think it would be all that useful (as indicated by the lack of people asking for it evidently) to just handle the SSID and password bit, and if you wanted to handle the esoteric cases too it'd probably have to be a TUI to be any better than CLI or writing out a config file, which would probably only make people stuck with those networks during the install happy (in my case I was living on-campus during that first install) while possibly pissing off others, while also being a lot of work to boot.

    Besides, archinstall was never meant to completely replace the standard installation procedure, right? It's kind of like partitioning really, there's just so many options (and lots of ways to break stuff too in that case) that there's just no way to handle it all in a simple, sane manner. Either way, I still appreciate the work you're doing here, just making Arch easy to try out in a virtual machine is already a success as far as I'm concerned.

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    • #92
      Originally posted by Firnefex View Post
      The best thing about this installer is not needing a second PC to look at the wiki.

      Have seen a video where this installer only created 2 partitions: EFI and / with btrfs.
      So the question is, can I also create a swap, a /home partition with XFS and do the btrfs snapshots really work without subvolumes?
      You can, sort of. The installer will allow you to use existing partitions but currently doesn't support creating complex setups. So the short answer is no sadly.

      In regards to subvolumes, that's coming soon: https://github.com/archlinux/archinstall/issues/93

      ZFS is coming too: https://github.com/archlinux/archinstall/issues/99

      But for advanced users, this is probably the best option: https://github.com/archlinux/archinstall/issues/124

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      • #93
        I use a distro that shall remain nameless, because it is, believe it or not, maintained by a corporation!!!

        And I can tell you: if that company had tried the: "educate the user, must install manually" principle then it would be complete bullshit.

        Ive used Gentoo, arch, what have you, I understand the install process of a diy-distro and, any way you look at; setting up a distro, even with many steps "automated", it takes _time_. Time and, depending on distro; a lot of effort.
        Is a quick installer helpful? Absolutely. Should there be a "hurdle" to "educate" users? Optional.
        Should there be a "process" that basically separates decent users from elitists with a blue triangle?
        Fuck no.

        Edit: Some have written that the manual install of Arch takes five minutes.
        It didnt take five minutes before you got to that point, right?
        Youve probably had more practice than the average user.

        Dont worry, I know about partitioning the hard drives, and running a systemd command that does everything in a jiffy, but understanding each action in a manual process is not the same as crawling through the manual Arch install, because its not as educational.

        I hate to plug Gentoo, its not my favorite, but the install guide for it is waaay more educational than the guide for arch, obviously many more steps involved, but at least you begin to _understand_ them.
        Last edited by AdamOne; 08 April 2021, 02:37 PM.

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        • #94
          Originally posted by AdamOne View Post
          I use a distro that shall remain nameless, because it is, believe it or not, maintained by a corporation!!!

          And I can tell you: if that company had tried the: "educate the user, must install manually" principle then it would be complete bullshit.

          Ive used Gentoo, arch, what have you, I understand the install process of a diy-distro and, any way you look at; setting up a distro, even with many steps "automated", it takes _time_. Time and, depending on distro; a lot of effort.
          Is a quick installer helpful? Absolutely. Should there be a "hurdle" to "educate" users? Optional.
          Should there be a "process" that basically separates decent users from elitists with a blue triangle?
          Fuck no.

          Edit: Some have written that the manual install of Arch takes five minutes.
          It didnt take five minutes before you got to that point, right?
          Youve probably had more practice than the average user.

          Dont worry, I know about partitioning the hard drives, and running a systemd command that does everything in a jiffy, but understanding each action in a manual process is not the same as crawling through the manual Arch install, because its not as educational.

          I hate to plug Gentoo, its not my favorite, but the install guide for it is waaay more educational than the guide for arch, obviously many more steps involved, but at least you begin to _understand_ them.
          I had a rough time gauging if you liked it or not at first.
          But the gist essentially is that, it wasn't as educational as it could have been?

          If you have a moment to spare I'd love to hear if you have any suggestions on how to make it more educational.
          As with any project, you become some what blind to your own creation's shortcomings after a while and fresh ideas are always welcome.

          Anyway, if that's to much to ask I completely understand and I'll just have to settle for us having different views on the topic for now

          //Main developer

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          • #95
            Originally posted by AdamOne View Post

            Dont worry, I know about partitioning the hard drives, and running a systemd command that does everything in a jiffy, but understanding each action in a manual process is not the same as crawling through the manual Arch install, because its not as educational.
            Following step-by-step commands from a wiki page isn't necessarily educational, and after the first few times simply becomes toil; it is tedious to do so. Having a scriptable installation library is a fantastic step forward. Not only does it handle guided installations for most users, but it makes it far easier to write your own python script/project that invokes it and pulls in your fully customized configuration automatically. For server use-cases and other instances where you might want to reinstall to try new things out or simply have a lot of computers to deploy to, this makes Arch far more accessible than it has ever been. And for elitists -- having more users vastly improves testing of packages and discovering bugs, hence better code quality. More people using it will inevitably be good for the project.

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