Fedora dumping text installation mode ??

While openSUSE is my distro of choice, I also keep an eye on Fedora for I am a BIG Fedora fan (and Red Hat was my original distro) . I’m not a distro hopper so I am content to look and occasionally play with a Fedora release (but again, I’m content to stay with openSUSE).

Looking at this Fedora thread I see something possibly taking place which I hope we do NOT adopt on openSUSE, which is removal (or crippling) of the text install on Fedora : Minimum memory for install ? - FedoraForum.org (see post#6 and #7 in that thread).

I put a ‘guide’ in our openSUSE forum how-to section some time back for openSUSE: Text mode install from liveCD

… this was easy (for me to do), because on a few occasions I’ve had friends ask me to install openSUSE on an old PC, and having text mode was very useful, especially given LXDE provides reasonable performance on old PCs.

I’m hoping SuSE-GmbH do NOT follow what appears to be the trend of Fedora to dump the text installation mode … or maybe that Fedora thread is just inaccurate.

… anyway, its something I plan to watch.

I am a big Fedora fan as well. In fact I am dual booting Fedora 15 Beta and openSUSE 11.4 both on my laptop and desktop. I first tried Fedora back in 2006 (Fedora Core 6) and I have been a fan of Fedora ever since.

The removal of the text install is not too good IMHO. It is useful for older computers (like when I was trying out Fedora 14 on my VERY old IBM desktop with 384 MB of RAM it dropped me to a text install because it would not handle the graphical installer). Luckily my desktop and laptop are powerful enough to handle the graphical installer.

On 04/24/2011 10:36 AM, oldcpu wrote:
> … anyway, its something I plan to watch.

i know you know, but i will say anyway [for the benefit of those who
read here and may not know, yet]:

if you only watch in these fora, the decision to drop text mode install
will have been made and the decision stamped “Irreversible” prior to
hearing about it (here)…

CAVEAT: http://is.gd/bpoMD
[openSUSE 11.3 + KDE4.5.5 + Thunderbird3.1.8 via NNTP]
A Penguin Being Tickled - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GILA0rrR6w

Indeed and that is true for most all decisions wrt the direction of openSUSE.

I was IRC chat #opensuse-chat earlier today and noted to those logged on about the above quoted Fedora thread (and purported Fedora/Red Hat approach to drop such a text/ncurses installation method). Yaloki (who was also logged on) chimed in and noted that such a ‘text’/‘ncurses’ mode (my words) are particularly useful for servers and remote installations (his words) and also noted there are no plans to dump the ncurses frontend (again his words).

Even though no longer on the board, Yaloki has his finger pretty close to the pulse when it comes to what is happening on openSUSE, so that was reassuring for me to read.

But IMHO it is something we need to watch. I guess a lot depends on what sort of maintenance the ncurses install requires for the SuSE-GmbH packagers when packaging openSUSE.

Just a stupid question and i apologize for my ignorance.
But is Fedora the leading pillar? Why would OpenSuse do the same as Fedora does?
Just from a practical view, a text install should be included, especially for gfx related issues. And it does not take resource away anyway.
They took away already the repair option with the bootdisk, which was kinda annoying. Or is that back in again?

I don’t think any one Linux is “the leading pillar”.

However we do not have multi-billion Euro/Dollar corporations pouring billions into Linux, so every Linux distribution needs to decide where they spend the money (and the volunteer time) that they do have. If one distribution decides to cut back on a capability, then one can be certain the other top Linux distributions will ask them selves, should they do the same ? Is this a logical place to save money ?

Note the there are only two Linux distributions making money (ie profitable). (1) Red Hat (and ergo Fedora) (2) openSUSE (and that was mainly because of the deal it cut with Microsoft - the question in my mind is whether it can still stay profitable) ? Linux distributions do need to decide as to where they can best spend their limited resources.

I see a change coming up in a future version-TBD openSUSE release to use the new grub. I ask myself, will having a different grub affect the text/ncurses install routines (that handle grub) ? I think the answer is YES it will. So, I then ask, will SuSE-GmbH be able to assign the resources to tune the text/ncurses openSUSE installer to handle the new grub, or will they drop support at that time and only use the GUI (FBDEV driver) installer ?

It seems to me that as long as text mode yast is kept, then the additional effort for text mode install is probably not that great.

I don’t see the elimination of text mode yast - that is very much needed for efficient remote administration.

What makes you think that supporting GRUB2 in a ncurses installer is a big deal, programming-wise? Other distros have already implemented it. E.g. see Crunchbang, Debian flavour. Any competent programmer can knock it off in a few days max. In fact since ncurses YaST is supported by parallel libraries to the GUI libraries to mimic the same dialog screens, once the GUI installer for GRUB2 is done, most of the work has been done.

Have you tried WebYaST?

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.4 (x86_64) Kernel
up 1 day 12:55, 4 users, load average: 0.01, 0.04, 0.05
GPU GeForce 8600 GTS Silent - Driver Version: 270.41.06

Probably ignorance on my part.

On 2011-04-25 14:17, malcolmlewis wrote:

> Have you tried WebYaST?

There is the idea to replace the yast text interface completely with
webyast. IMO, that would be a very bad idea.

Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 11.2 x86_64 “Emerald” at Telcontar)

No, I haven’t. I’m inclined to prefer a simple text interface.

I tried WebYAST, I never thought my 8-way Xeon could be so slow but they proved me wrong!

Chrysantine wrote:

> I tried WebYAST, I never thought my 8-way Xeon could be so slow but they
> proved me wrong!
Funny I thought it is only my outdated quad core which is so slow. :wink:
I made the same experience, but I did not investigate further if some
setting has to be tweaked.

Another thing is that a web interface is not realy a substitute if you are
on a machine without gui and want to do your tasks with yast but not via
remote. These are different purposes.

PC: oS 11.3 64 bit | Intel Core2 Quad Q8300@2.50GHz | KDE 4.6.2 | GeForce
9600 GT | 4GB Ram
Eee PC 1201n: oS 11.4 64 bit | Intel Atom 330@1.60GHz | KDE 4.6.0 | nVidia
ION | 3GB Ram

What i meant with pillar was, if Fedora says, Gee we need to get rid of the textmode, that everyone else says, ok, thats the way we will do it too.
I don’t even thing that it cost that much to sustain a textmode.
Also, i thought it was community driven and not some secret circle that decides what is done. Maybe i am wrong. Its possible.

IMHO if that is what you read from my post then you misunderstood my post and drew an inappropriate conclusion. No one blindly follows any lead in open source, but such leads are examined, and considered, and if one does not contribute tactfully to the decision process, then sometimes decisions can be made that may not be the best for all.

Of that I have no idea, especially when different requirements have to be balanced.

From whence comes that view ? The words ‘secret circle’ are not IMHO very conducive to a amicable understanding of cooperation needed for any open source project to go forward.

My thinking is if the distribution is completely packaged by community contributors and no commercial contribution, then yes likely it is solely driven by those in the community who contribute the most. Those who contribute the least in such a case likely have the least say to no say.

In a distribution (such as Red Hat / Fedora and such as openSUSE ) where there are commercial interests at stake, then a lot depends IMHO on the balance of community contributors vs commercial paid contributors. Definitely those who do not contribute will have minimal to NO input compared to those who contribute commercially and minimal to NO input compared to those who do spend a lot of volunteer time contributing with packages/fixes, etc …

If those who do not contribute consider their lack of involvement/influence (because of no contribution) puts them outside a ‘secret circle’ then they are free to use that definition, but I think it a misuse and misunderstanding as to the realities of what takes place.

Apologies if I sound harsh on this, but Linux will die with complaints and no contributions. It will move forward with contributions. Those who never contribute may consider the contributers are in ‘some secret circle’ but IMHO its not secret. One simply needs to contribute, read the mailing lists, monitor discussions during pre-announced meetings on IRC chat, politely raise the issue when they can, write submissions for openFATE and try to drum up support for those ideas.

I think a better wording would be decisions are made by the ‘contributors circle’.


See, i have no clue.
If i said secret, i did not mean it in a disrespectful way. Just that i simply don’t know if there is a vote on what directions the ship will sail.

I do think that a textmode is not a different thing to do and perhaps does not take as much effort as the gui. But that i conclude out of my lag of knowledge and i am not really qualified to judge it.

But i simply can not see why any other distro would follow what Fedora does. Perhaps it can be. Who knows.
Every distro has its audience and does offer therefor an OS that is aimed at that audience.
But, like i said, i have no clue about decisions made and why they are made.

If i may ask. Why do you need a textmode anyway?
Is it because of usability or technical reasons. In my view, if a system can not handle a gui then the system may not be good for anything (low system specs).
(i am trying just to understand.) :shame:

p.s. i agree on the term contributors circle since my wording may give a wrong impression. Sound to much like conspiracy.

You could be correct. Yaloki pointed out to me it is more than a ‘text’ mode, it is actually an ncurses interface to add a bit more colour/menu aspect to what is in essence a sort of ascii/text install. I assume that requires more effort than a pure text interface to develop/maintain, but I don’t know myself.

Yes, for technical reasons.

The text/ncurses install can be useful for headless servers and for remote network installations (so I am told - I have not tried such myself).

Plus there is old hardware that I have used that will NOT install with a GUI, but will install in ncurses/text mode. In such a case the user will typically specify for use (after install completion) a light weight desktop such as LXDE.

Plus I have read of the very odd and occasional case where with new hardware, the GUI install would fail, but the ncurses/text install succeeded. Once installed, the user could boot to a full screen text mode, install an essential update for the GUI, and then with the updates installed/in-place get the GUI working. That’s not common, but I’ve seen it happen.

So the text/ncurses install adds some features. I guess the question asked is such a feature worth the effort to maintain - an effort that I have no insight into. But the text/ncurses install is a capability I would not want to see dropped (from openSUSE) as I have used it on occasion.

On 2011-04-25 21:36, JoergJaeger wrote:
> @oldcpu
> See, i have no clue.
> If i said secret, i did not mean it in a disrespectful way. Just that i
> simply don’t know if there is a vote on what directions the ship will
> sail.

There have been many decisions without vote, even against what we requested.

> If i may ask. Why do you need a textmode anyway?
> Is it because of usability or technical reasons. In my view, if a
> system can not handle a gui then the system may not be good for anything
> (low system specs).
> (i am trying just to understand.) :shame:

Because sometimes installation fails in graphical mode for whatever reason,
and you can not find out why. You need to install somehow. Or, you may be
installing remotely.

Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 11.2 x86_64 “Emerald” at Telcontar)

This is really the subject of an IRC chat board meeting, or a separate thread.

Still I ask myself, who made the decisions that you refer to ? Ultimately it boils down to who ever contributes the most - and until recently (before the openSUSE community grew larger), in the pre-openSUSE days it was ONLY SuSE-GmbH who contributed to the SuSE-Pro packaging. The main packaging outside of that was IMHO from the Packman packagers. This is changing now with there being an “openSUSE” with the build service, and the changed community structure and community involvement (from those who contribute) being put in place. There IS a transition taking place here, as the community (who contribute) have more and more influence over the distribution’s direction.

But users who do not contribute will IMHO likely never have much influence. That’s true for every Linux distribution and not just openSUSE.