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cravuhaw2C cravuhaw2C is offline
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Default Recommend: A simple GUI for OpenBSD install

I wish to recommend that OpenBSD developers create a simple GUI to help novice users to install the OS.

If anyone had opted to use the "Expert Install" option of Debian, you would have realized how easy and intuitive the simple GUI was.

Special note: if OpenBSD developers plan to take up my suggestion, please simplify the process by which one partitions the disk drive. Debian's "Expert Install" option does not even mention C/H/S or LBA. When I was using Debian for the first time, I was able to partition my disk drive without problem.
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No.
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Almost all of the OpenBSD users here are end-users. And we have learned over the years that the social culture of the project needs to be understood by new users:
  • The goals of the Project are to meet the needs of its members, the developers themselves.
  • We users come along for the ride. If we like what is offered, we are free to use it. If we don't like it, we are free to look elsewhere for systems, services and tools. However...there is some balance: if the Project's software does not meet users' needs, Project revenues (CD sales, donations) will decline.
  • If users have suggestions for improvements, they will be welcomed and reviewed for acceptance if:
    • They are accompanied by users' own development efforts
    • For hardware support suggestions, they may be accepted if they are accompanied by donated hardware for R&D and if a developer has an interest. Both are required.
  • Most users who become developers -- Project members -- have begun by providing patches or developing components they feel would enhance the OS. Most would tell you that their first attempts were rejected, even rejected many times.
The installation script that you find so offputting is liked by all of the Project members, and by most of us users. If you were to design a graphical installer, you are unlikely to have it accepted.

(And there are many platforms that have no graphics at all. I mentioned one to you in another of your many threads: an Alix. I run OpenBSD on several.)

Last edited by jggimi; 1 Week Ago at 07:41 PM. Reason: typo. always typos.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cravuhaw2C View Post
I wish to recommend that OpenBSD developers create a simple GUI to help novice users to install the OS.
Uh no. The OpenBSD installation routine is perfect as is. I would not want to see a GUI installer on my favourite BSD.
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cravuhaw2C cravuhaw2C is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post

The goals of the Project are to meet the needs of its members, the developers themselves.
Thanks for introducing the social culture of OpenBSD to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post

We users come along for the ride. If we like what is offered, we are free to use it. If we don't like it, we are free to look elsewhere for systems, services and tools. However...there is some balance: if the Project's software does not meet users' needs, Project revenues (CD sales, donations) will decline.
From what I read and understood, based on the articles available via Google Search, OpenBSD aims to be the most secure *nix OS on the planet. Does OpenBSD aim to be the most popular *nix OS?

Life is getting harder as we speak. Unemployment rears its ugly head from time to time. Recession cycles are getting shorter: big recessions occur once every 5 to 6 years in our lifetimes compared to the 1930s to 1990s.

OpenBSD developers have lofty ideals but putting food on the table is the overarching primary concern. Maslow's hierarchy of needs applies to each and every one of us.

I read on the internet that last year OpenBSD threatened to stop development of its project because it was running out of funds. Subsequently it received about $150,000, only for this year, I think? What about next year and the years following it?

Debian, Ubuntu and Redhat do not have funding issues. OpenBSD should ask themselves why.

IMHO aspiring to be the most secure OS does not contradict with being the most popular *nix OS.

What do you think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jggimi View Post
The installation script that you find so offputting is liked by all of the Project members, and by most of us users.
I apologize if I came across as finding the installation script offputting.

I was OK with it till the part where I have to partition my SSD for a multi-boot environment. I'm stumped by all the talk about cylinders, heads, sectors and sector geometry. Debian and Ubuntu took care of that for us who are technically or mathematically challenged. Why can't OpenBSD do the same for us?

I was a bit shocked by the advisory in the official FAQ in which first time users are discouraged from installing OpenBSD in a multi-boot environment. No such advisory exists for Gentoo, ArchLinux, Mandriva, Debian and Ubuntu. I now understand why. It's because users are required to have good math skills to be able to calculate C/H/S or LBA sector values.

If OpenBSD is to gain a wider acceptance among the public, it has to find ways to make the installation routine more user-friendly, or should I say, more novice user-friendly.

Note: by "wider acceptance among the public", I'm thinking along the lines of "having sufficient funds to keep the OpenBSD going for a few more years".
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cravuhaw2C View Post
If anyone had opted to use the "Expert Install" option of Debian, you would have realized how easy and intuitive the simple GUI was.
The "expert" install is actually the only useful installer. It's also dead easy for new users. The GUI installer is a pointless duplication of an already working installer with less configuration options. The installer is just there to get the OS installed, after that you don't want to see it. The OpenBSD installer works, so I don't see the problem, nor see why the comparison with other OS' installers is relevant.

You need to stop comparing and discussing other operating systems. If you like how those other OS or Linux distributions do things then you have the option to just use Linux. I don't see the problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cravuhaw2C View Post
mathematically challenged.
I'm severely mathematically challenged, yet somehow managed to create two partitions. On my first install of 5.4 I went for the auto partitioning, but that did not leave me with enough space on / so I reinstalled and had to sit in front of it for about half an hour read the manual and work out the basics of fdisk's interactive mode. Somehow I managed it. When I installed 5.5, I had to relearn it as I'd forgotten how to do it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cravuhaw2C View Post
I was a bit shocked by the advisory in the official FAQ in which first time users are discouraged from installing OpenBSD in a multi-boot environment. No such advisory exists for Gentoo, ArchLinux, Mandriva, Debian and Ubuntu
Yet those distros' forums are not awash with new users who have accidentally hosed their systems and nuked their windows into oblivion....?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cravuhaw2C View Post
I now understand why. It's because users are required to have good math skills to be able to calculate C/H/S or LBA sector values.
No this is not the reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cravuhaw2C View Post
If OpenBSD is to gain a wider acceptance among the public, it has to find ways to make the installation routine more user-friendly, or should I say, more novice user-friendly.
So if the installation routine is dead easy even a monkey can do it... then the set up of the OS and installation of software requires some skills/work on your part - as is currently the case - what then? Why have an easy installer if you're not also going to have an easy OS?

Last edited by cynwulf; 1 Week Ago at 08:11 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cravuhaw2C View Post
Does OpenBSD aim to be the most popular *nix OS?
No. Unlike every Linux you have ever used, or any commercial OS, the Project is very, very different. It has absolutely no interest in being the OS-for-everyone. None. If you don't like what they offer, you are welcome to go away. If you read through the rough-and-tumble archives of the Project's misc@ mailing list, you can see many examples of this latter suggestion.

The "market" for users of interest to the Project, such as it is, does not include non-technical, casual computer users.

And that is why the openbsd-newbies mailing list and this forum are both unofficial.
Quote:
OpenBSD developers have lofty ideals but putting food on the table is the overarching primary concern.
Nope. This is a non-commercial endeavor. Project funding covers infrastructure, select travel, and a single salary.

Quote:
I read on the internet that last year OpenBSD threatened to stop development of its project because it was running out of funds. Subsequently it received about $150,000, only for this year, I think? What about next year and the years following it?
You are correct. Infrastructure operating expenses had skyrocketed. But that does not mean the Project is considering broadening its focus to include non-technical users.
Quote:
I was a bit shocked by the advisory in the official FAQ in which first time users are discouraged from installing OpenBSD in a multi-boot environment.
Even if you do the math right, the bootloader is dependent on BIOS services initially. I referred you to FAQ 14.8, and now do so again. You may be able to install OpenBSD anywhere on a drive. But your BIOS may prevent its being able to boot, depending on the BIOS and where on that drive its second stage bootloader is located. Can this be circumvented, if this happens? Only by relocating the OS.
Quote:
If OpenBSD is to gain a wider acceptance among the public, it has to find ways to make the installation routine more user-friendly, or should I say, more novice user-friendly.
As mentioned, these users are welcome to become less novice and more self-supporting, or they are welcome to hire a commercial service to provide the end-user support the Project cannot provide and is not interested in providing. The Project's website lists commercial service providers for this reason.
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In follow up, I was going to send a private message (PM) but you don't have them enabled for your account. So I'll post it here, since none of it is actually private.

As an example of commercial, end-user support services ....

One of the services firms listed on the Project's Commercial Support page is M:Tier Ltd. They are particularly active in support of the OpenBSD community at large, and offer a number of free services such as binary packaging for OpenBSD-stable users.

I mention them because their commercial services include ready-to-use Gnome workstation enviornments, something you expressed interest in. And regarding Gnome, their staff includes Antoine Jacoutot (ajacoutot@), who leads the OpenBSD Gnome porting team among his many other accomplishments for the Project.

I don't know if they would be interested in supporting individual customers rather than their usual corporate fleets -- but you could certainly ask, if interested.

http://www.mtier.org/solutions/os/openbsd/desktop/
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Perhaps you should consider hardening your Debian installations, rather than trying to dumb-down OpenBSD for the masses of Linux distro-hoppers. You will find that most BSD users don't give a damn about Linuxisms and concessions towards "user-friendliness."
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWJones View Post
You will find that most BSD users don't give a damn about Linuxisms and concessions towards "user-friendliness."
I agree on Linuxisms part but I vehemently disagree with your second claim. We really, really care about "user-friendliness". BSDs are some of the most user friendly systems in existence. The only problem is that BSDs are very peculiar about the choice of their friends and users.
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^ Haha, yes, good point!
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"user friendly" is a marketing term. And that's really the whole problem. From an individual's perspective it actually means: "how my other OS worked [and how I expect others to work]".

Most of the common proprietary GUIs are marketing devices - in that they strive to be distinct from the competition and provide something new/different just "because". Usability is generally sacrificed because the GUI has to make an impact, be "innovative" and grab the headlines - hence windows 8 "metro". These kinds of duff decisions are usually shareholder driven.

The command line is user friendly to a person who knows how to use it. A clunky GUI, especially with huge buttons designed for touch screen may not be user friendly to everyone. A lot of people found gnome 3 user friendly, a lot did not, etc.
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Default Gui Install

cravuhaw2C
I understand your point.
That said,,,,,,

IF you have a copy of Absolute OpenBSD 2nd edition, Unix for the PRACTICAL
paranoid by Michael W. Lucas this author has a few thoughts on what drives the
OpenBSD project.

In the Introduction Section i.e. page xxxiv OpenBSD Users, the author:
quote:

"Most open source operating systems put a lot of effort into growing their user base,
evangelizing and bringing new people into the Unix fold. OpenBSD does not."

"Most open source Unix-like operating system groups do a lot of pro Unix adovacy. Again
OpenBSD does not"

"The communities surrounding other operating systems actively encourage new users and
try to make newbies feel welcome. OpenBSD specifically and deliberately does not"

"The OpenBSD community is not trying to be the most popular operating system-just the
best at it what it does. The developers know exactly who their target audience is:
themselves. If you can use their work, thats great. If not, go away until you can."

"The OpenBSD community generally expects newcomers to be advanced computer users. The
members have written extensive OpenBSD documentation and expect newcomers to be
willing to read it. They're not interested in coddeling new Unix users and, if pressed, will
say so--often bluntly and forcefully. They will not hold your hand. They will not develop new
features to please users. OpenBSD exists to meet the needs of the developers, and while
others are welcome to ride along, the needs of the passengers do not steer the project"

These quotes are the authors who is well known and respected in the OpenBSD community,
and I hope the author does not mind me quoting his book in this manner in an effort to help
you.

When I made the decision to obtain and use OpenBSD, as a thinking adult I accepted and
understood the basis for the above. Therefore I am "along for the ride".

As a newbie myself I welcome you here and your comments. Perhaps the best advice I can
give you is to ask questions concerning what makes the "install process difficult for you".
They can be asked here! What is expected is that you do some research prior to asking so
that those who spend the time helping you, see you have skin in the game. Effort on your
part will make your questions more pointed and easier for the folks here to answer.


Once again welcome!

Last edited by frcc; 4 Hours Ago at 02:01 PM. Reason: improve correctness of reply
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<shameless self-promotion>
For a quick look at OpenBSD culture (and what benefits you can enjoy from OpenBSD), check out the talk I gave at NYC*BUG back in January: http://www.nycbug.org/index.cgi?acti...id=10343#10343
</shameless self-promotion>
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Quote:
Debian, Ubuntu and Redhat do not have funding issues.
RedHat is a commercial business, so how can you legitimately compare it to OpenBSD?

Besides, RedHat doesn't do much R&D on their own. IBM and Microsoft spend multi-billions per year in this arena, and even Apple is over $1 billion. Last info I could find was approx $90 million for RedHat. All they seem to do is look over sourceforge for something and include it. Their support is a joke and so is their operating system. It is a kludge of this-and-that and it isn't anywhere nearly as stable as commercial Solaris and AIX, or FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD.

RedHat gets "new" features, like Linux containers or whatever joke it is called in upcoming RHEL7, yet Solaris has had Zones since 2005, AIX has had LPARs since around 2001-2002, FreeBSD has had Jails since around 2000-2002. OpenBSD has supported new features applications like OpenSMTPD, pf, relayd, etc. Even RedHat's Satellite came from Kickstart. "New" features that RedHat touts have been in AIX and Solaris for years, even a decade in some cases.

Also consider that Sun spent $400 million developing Solaris 10, and RedHat spends a paltry amount for R&D. BSD's, Solaris, AIX are entire operating systems, kernel, user land, device drivers, all developed together and Linux is Frankenstein. AIX on Power is rock-solid. Solaris on Sparc is rock-solid. The BSDs on x86 are solid. RedHat on x86: not so much.

So you really want to point to RedHat or any Linux distro as a source for what OpenBSD or any BSD should do?

Last edited by gpatrick; 6 Hours Ago at 11:56 AM.
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