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Re: [Dragora-users] dragora-installer: Package selection menus in Expert

From: Michael Siegel
Subject: Re: [Dragora-users] dragora-installer: Package selection menus in Expert mode
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2019 11:51:57 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/60.9.0

Hi Matías.

Am 18.11.19 um 04:16 schrieb Matias Fonzo:
> El 2019-11-17 17:22, Michael Siegel escribió:
>> Am 17.11.19 um 19:45 schrieb Matias Fonzo:
>>> Hi Michael,
>>> I don’t understand, isn’t this what the installer already does?.
>>> Packege selection in Expert mode occurs for each series, including
>>> subcategories such as for "modules/" or "xorg/".  The category to which
>>> each package belongs is reflected in the menu titles (of each series
>>> selection).  If there is a subcategory it is composed as "series
>>> name/subcategory name".
>> Ok, maybe, let me compare that to an Expert installation in Slackware to
>> provide a better picture of the problem I see here.
>> In Slackware, there are 16 software series, each of them represented by
>> a single directory without subdirectories in the distribution's package
>> tree. So, in Slackware, the package tree structure matches the structure
>> of the software series selection menu.
> But Dragora is not Slackware.

Right. I just made the comparison because Dragora is somewhat similar to
Slackware and, IMO, Slackware does this particular thing better than
Dragora. (More on this below.)

>> This means that, in Expert mode, you'll have to go through 16 package
>> selection menus, exactly as you would expect from the software series
>> selection menu having 16 entries.
>> Now, in Dragora, that's quite different. You have 19 items in the
>> software series selection menu, with no indication of there being
>> subdirectories (subseries) in the package tree. But then, the installer
>> will show a package selection menu for every directory and subdirectory
>> in the package tree that contains package files (instead of just showing
>> a menu for every entry in the software series menu). This leads to
>> having to step through a total number of 42 menus (if I counted
>> correctly) when you do an Expert installation of Dragora. My argument
>> is: It should be 19, even though there are subdirectories in the package
>> tree.
> The total number of menus is not really important, the "Expert mode" is
> for that.
>> Because everything else is quite counter-intuitive and irritating.
> Wow...

I mean, okay, this was my personal impression. So, maybe, you should
have some people who haven't installed Dragora before, but are generally
half-way knowledgeable about Linux systems, do an Expert installation.
I'm pretty certain that having to go through 42 submenus to select the
packages for 19 software series will be confusing to most if not all of

>> The most confusing thing with the current installer in Expert mode is
>> that if you're done running through all the directories and
>> subdirectories of, e.g., the “i586” tree, the installer will jump into
>> the “noarch” directory an present you with another nine package
>> selection menus, one for every subdirectory in “noarch”. So, you're
>> going go through “boot”, “data”, “devel” etc. again to select the
>> architecture-indepenent packages belonging to those series.
> Exposing the selection in Expert mode from which the packages comes from
> is intentional.

The problem with the way this is currently done is that it is apparently
not clear whether a “software series” means “a directory in the package
tree that contains package files” or not. Thus, the installer, at first,
hides the package tree structure (an implementation detail) from the
user, but then – unexpectedly – resorts to exposing it during package
selection in Expert mode.

In Slackware, there is no question about all that because the structure
of the package tree doesn't have subdirectories (which is, on the other
hand, probably not the best way to go about this) and therefore simply
matches the structure of the software series selection menu.

>> I think there is a need to map the structure of the Dragora package tree
>> to only 19 package selection menus in a reasonable way. And that was
>> what my suggestion was about. It was meant to provide an example layout
>> of the package selection menu for the “modules” series, containing all
>> packages from all subdirectories in that series, but in a clearly
>> structured way, making subseries visible without the need to have a
>> separate menu for each and every one of them.
>> Thinking about it again, it would be even better to make subseries
>> themselves (de-)selectable, not just the individual packages, e.g.:
> Even if we make visible the rest of the sub-series for the selection
> menu, the installer will display the menus for "noarch".  The reason why
> I object to not making this visible, this is because at first glance,
> "anyone" might think "Oh!, modules/ruby, how nice, I won't need them!"
> by deselecting all possible modules (packages) for Ruby. Instead,
> exposing them in the "Experts" menu gives you something to think about.

I respectfully disagree. And, just to clarify, the menu layout I
suggested was not meant to be that of the initial software series
selection menu, but that of the package selection menu for the “modules”
selection in Expert mode.

>>   ---- Modules ----
>>   [*] -- Perl --
>>     [*] Perl package 1
>>     [*] Perl package 2
>>     [*] Perl package n
>>   [*] -- Python --
>>     [*] Python package 1
>>     [*] Python package 2
>>     [*] Python package n
>>   [*] -- Ruby --
>>     [*] Ruby package 1
>>     [*] Ruby package 2
>>     [*] Ruby package n


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