Initial Reactions; Potential Bugs; Nvidia?

billg billg at
Thu Sep 16 11:16:54 UTC 2004

I've just installed "Warty" from the CD. So far, I like what I see.
Where're some comments:

1) The installer is a slightly tweaked version of the new Debian
   Installer. I've successfully used that installer several times. It is
   a big improvement over the traditional Debian install, but is, I
   think, not quite there for users who aren't familiar with Linux
   installs. I'd like to see more explanation about the actions the
   installer is about to take, before it takes it. I prefer installers
   that allow you to move back and forth, adjusting options as
   necessary, and only performing the install after the user commits to
   the choices (ala Redhat and Fedora).

2) The installer would benefit a lot from being converted to a graphical
   app, which allows more information on screen.  This is especially
   true if the user needs to do his own partioning, rather than
   defaulting to "use entire disk". Presenting all the "Format", "File
   System", "Mount Point", etc., options on one screen is a lot easier
   to handle and get right than flipping back and forth through a series
   of screens.

3)  I noticed that the installer didn't pester me with questions about
    things it already knew, like whether or nor my clock is set to
    local or UTC.

4) Possible install bug:  After the first reboot, at the conclusion of
   the initial configuration screens, an option asks, and recommends,
   that the user perform an Internet update.  I accepted the option.
   Aptitude, presumably, started running, but immediately stalled while
   waiting for the headers.  I opened another console window. (Tried to
   login as root until I remembered how Ubuntu handles root. It'd be
   nice to intercept these attempts and respond with an appropriate
   message. Ubuntu's treatment of root wasn't explained during the
   install.) Back to the bug: I checked sources.list to see what servers
   aptitude was trying to use. However, that file showed no servers as
   repositories, only the CD. So, if this initial update was, in fact,
   trying to pull files down from servers listed in sources.list,
   something was amiss.  Following the install, sources.list was
   populated with the right servers. (It still takes up to several
   minutes to get the headers, which I suspect is attributable to
   hammered servers.)

5) I used an Nvidia card (GeForceFX 5900XT) and a flat panel LCD monitor
   (Xerox XG-70D).  The install didn't ask me to select a driver for my
   card. It would have been nice if the installer, however, told me what
   driver is had selected and asked for confirmation.  It did, in fact,
   select the "nv" driver. The refresh rates it selected were safe, but
   incorrect, and, again, I didn't have the chance to confirm or change
   those settings during the install. If it guesses wrong and X can't
   run, a lot of users are going to be flummoxed. The install did show
   me the screen dimensions it had selected and allowed me to change
   them. (My monitor wants to run at 1280x1024, and the install did not
   select that.)

(**Anyone installed the "nvidia" driver yet?  I noticed that no kernel
source is installed, which means Nvidia's installer won't work.)

6) I'd emulate SuSE and display a window of info on the desktop the
   first time the machine boots up. On SuSE, this window contains links
   to the release notes, important last minute info, and general info
   about updating and what to do next. The window doesn't appear after
   subsequents boots, but it is accessible from a menu.

7. Printing:  Adding a printer worked OK. Afterwards, setting up the
   printer via "Properties", it defaulted to a CUPS network connection
   when it should have picked the "local" option. Since the
   "Properties" config does not launch automatically after a printer is
   added, this kind of error can be missed and result in the appearance
   of broken printing.

8. I like the Ubuntu theme and color. Nkosi, sikelel' iAfrika.


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