[CentOS] Kickstart install surprise

Bill Campbell centos at celestial.com
Wed Sep 12 21:17:14 UTC 2007

On Wed, Sep 12, 2007, Jim Perrin wrote:
>I suppose it would help if I finished the reply before sending.....
>On 9/12/07, Bill Campbell <centos at celestial.com> wrote:
>> I have been installing Linux systems for well over a decade, starting with
>> Caldera Network Desktop 1.0, all versions of Caldera through 2001, and SuSE
>> from 8.1 through SLES10, and never have I seen an installation procedure
>> that would write to anything on the hard drive without asking first.
>The whole idea behind kickstart is that it does not ask questions.
>It's for automated installs. Think pxe setup, or a computer lab, or
>hundreds of identical workstations. Why answer questions on all of
>them, when you can automate the process and go get a coffee?

I understand what kickstart is for.  I've been doing autoyast installs on
SuSE for quite a while to build identical systems.

IHMO, If you're going to have an interactive option, then it should be
interactive, gathering information to do the install, and not start
scribbling on the hard drive until all that information is complete.

>> This certainly violates the Principle of Least Surprise.

>Not really. The tool works as expected. You're just unfamiliar with it.
>Not trying to sound snippy with this, so please don't take it this way.

I guess my expectations are a bit different than yours.

Yes, I'm unfamiliar with Anaconda and kickstart (and I'm trying very hard
to be polite and not be viewed as a troll).  I'm new to CentOS, and have
had little experience with Red Hat systems.

I've been designing computer systems now for over 40 years, Unix systems
since 1982, and Linux since 1995.  I've always tried to design software as
bullet-proof (idiot proof :-) as possible, and not to do irreversible
things accidentally (measure twice, cut once).

It just happens that I'm reading a very interesting book somewhat related
to this, Alan Cooper's ``The Inmates are Running the Asylum: Why High-Tech
Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity''.

My primary purpose in the original message was to provide feedback from
somebody who's pretty technical, but not steeped in Red Hat/CentOS.

INTERNET:   bill at celestial.com  Bill Campbell; Celestial Software LLC
URL: http://www.celestial.com/  PO Box 820; 6641 E. Mercer Way
FAX:            (206) 232-9186  Mercer Island, WA 98040-0820; (206) 236-1676

Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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