My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

David Vasek
On Wed, 7 Mar 2012, Amit Kulkarni wrote:

> On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 11:19 AM, David Vasek <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On Wed, 7 Mar 2012, Donald Allen wrote:
>>
>>> "While the FAQ is indeed clear, the installer's simplicity appears
>>> at that point a little deceptive, in that one (I know I was) is
>>> tempted to think that such a user-friendly installer would not harm
>>> one so easily..."
>>>
>>> I disagree. I think the installer is fine the way it is and it was not
>>> the problem here. The problem was the original poster's too-cavalier
>>> approach to something that is well-known to be dangerous. What
>>> happened here is somewhat analogous to texting while driving or flying
>>> an airplane drunk and, when disaster occurs, being upset (assuming
>>> survival) that the equipment didn't prevent it.
>>
>>
>> Except that the equipment shoudn't direct people to behave in such a
>> disasterous way. And this the case.
>>
>> Regards,
>> David
>>
>
> what about this
>
> Use (W)hole disk or (E)dit the MBR? [edit]
>
> while the OP did make a mistake, he could modify the default to be
> edit the MBR. so he would be forced to pay attention while staring at
> the partition table. i would be paying attention to the instructions.
>
> stuart is right, there's a point where if you add confirmations, where
> would you stop?

Not confirmations, but saner defaults. No default value here is another
option - it doesn't take from precious floppy size.

I never had a problem with the current installer, but I really do think
that is should not direct people to disasters. Yes, people should be
careful, but only one press of Enter is too close. Defaults should be
sane.

Regards,
David

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Leonardo Sabino dos Santos
In reply to this post by Dave Anderson-4
On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 5:16 PM, Dave Anderson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> To be fair (which is a bit difficult given the tone of the original
> message) he has identified what may be the only place in the install
> process where a single wrong keystroke can do major damage.  Everyplace
> else I can think of there's at least an opportunity to abort the
> installation after making a mistake but before the damage is done.
>
> I've no great love for 'are you sure' questions, but they may be
> appropriate where they prevent a single easy-to-make mistake from
> causing serious damage.
>
>        Dave

I have to apologize to everyone on this list for the tone of that
first message. I was angry and venting, and I apologize if it offended
anyone. I understand that the installer works the way it does because
that's what's useful to the OpenBSD community and it should not change
just because some random guy flames about it.

I also agree with those who pointed out that doing experimental OS
installs on a machine you care about is not a particularly smart thing
to do.

That being said, I think Dave understands the problem very well. That
is probably the most dangerous point in the installation. It's
dangerous even for experienced users (anyone can get distracted and
screw up), but much more so for those who come from a different
background, and the reason for that is that it's unexpected. As
someone else pointed out, most Linux installers nowadays will give you
a "big fat warning" before they do anything irreversible to your disk,
and the users get used to and rely on these warnings. It seems to be
different with OpenBSD. Maybe the OpenBSD philosophy is just not for
me.

Regards,

 - Leonardo

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Nick Holland
In reply to this post by David Vasek
On 03/07/2012 12:55 PM, David Vasek wrote:
> On Wed, 7 Mar 2012, Amit Kulkarni wrote:
...

>> Use (W)hole disk or (E)dit the MBR? [edit]
>>
>> while the OP did make a mistake, he could modify the default to be
>> edit the MBR. so he would be forced to pay attention while staring at
>> the partition table. i would be paying attention to the instructions.
>>
>> stuart is right, there's a point where if you add confirmations, where
>> would you stop?
>
> Not confirmations, but saner defaults. No default value here is another
> option - it doesn't take from precious floppy size.
>
> I never had a problem with the current installer, but I really do think
> that is should not direct people to disasters. Yes, people should be
> careful, but only one press of Enter is too close. Defaults should be sane.

Let me explain a little part of the OpenBSD dev cycle.  Every six
months, developers do as many installs and upgrades of as many types on
as many systems as we can.

We do this to make sure everything works properly.

The ability to hit "ENTER ENTER ENTER ENTER" through the install and
have things load is WHAT THE DEVELOPERS WANT.  We like to be able to
install and test quickly.  Heck, we like being able to install and USE
quickly.  Using an OS should not be about the installation process.

Serious OpenBSD users have the vast majority of our systems "whole disk"
configs.  Multi-booting is for non-committed users: dabblers, resume
stuffers ("fluent [='I installed successfully!'] in 37 operating
sytems!") and people who have need for another OS for some reason on a
laptop.  Hey, I have THREE laptops that multi-boot, but that's about 10%
of the OpenBSD machines I regularly use.  A few machines have
maintenance partitions that need to be worked around.  But for the most
part, serious users and developers want the default exactly as it is.

I think I am far closer to removing all info on multibooting systems
from the FAQ except for a statement of "Multibooting OpenBSD is not
supported" than you are likely to see any change to the "whole disk"
installation default.

Fortunately, I'm not too close to doing that.  HOWEVER, if this bullshit
thread and nonsense suggestions go much further, I'd not be surprised to
see a note in my inbox saying "remove it.  now".  And I will.

Nick.

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Sean Howard-2
In reply to this post by Leonardo Sabino dos Santos
Somebody claiming to be Leonardo Sabino dos Santos wrote:

>
> I have to apologize to everyone on this list for the tone of that
> first message. I was angry and venting, and I apologize if it offended
> anyone. I understand that the installer works the way it does because
> that's what's useful to the OpenBSD community and it should not change
> just because some random guy flames about it.
>
> I also agree with those who pointed out that doing experimental OS
> installs on a machine you care about is not a particularly smart thing
> to do.
>
> That being said, I think Dave understands the problem very well. That
> is probably the most dangerous point in the installation. It's
> dangerous even for experienced users (anyone can get distracted and
> screw up), but much more so for those who come from a different
> background, and the reason for that is that it's unexpected. As
> someone else pointed out, most Linux installers nowadays will give you
> a "big fat warning" before they do anything irreversible to your disk,
> and the users get used to and rely on these warnings. It seems to be
> different with OpenBSD. Maybe the OpenBSD philosophy is just not for
> me.
>

My first install I wiped out my Hard drive. My second install I munged everything up.

After that - I learned *a lot* more respect for my own choices. This error is the best error you can make. Keeps you respecting your system and your own ability to control it. And the mistakes you make.

Sure - it sucks. Definitely sucks. But as has been pointed out a couple of times - it can be fixed.

You want to learn OpenBSD - learn that you can screw yourself if you're not careful - and soon enough you'll have the basics down - simply because you'll realize that the FAQ and man -k are awesome.

> Regards,
>
>  - Leonardo

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

jay-157
In reply to this post by Leonardo Sabino dos Santos
On 03/07/2012 07:26, Leonardo Sabino dos Santos wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I joined this mailing list just to tell you this: Right now, I feel
> like never, ever touching OpenBSD with a ten-foot pole again.

A couple of years ago I decided to get back into computing and built a
box.  I have run through many of the Linux distros and learned a lot by
just installing a new OS every so often and trying stuff.  That sort of
behavior is mostly encouraged in the Linux world.

One of the things I love about OpenBSD is that if I don't know what I am
doing, I am expected to read and follow the documentation, and the
documentation actually works.  I am treated like a responsible adult who
is expected to read and follow instructions if I want to use this
operating system.  This is good encouragement for me to learn something new.

I have installed OpenBSD several times in the last year, and have been
able to get it up and running every single time.  How did a moron like
me do that?  I read the manual while I was installing the system.  I
literally printed it out and followed it, and it worked!  (Try that
with, say, Gentoo.)

The defaults in the installer are fine.  I have installed OpenBSD on its
own disk and also in a multiboot configuration and was able to do both
by reading the manual, and with no formal computer science training
beyond that.

I don't really need OpenBSD for what I do, but the OpenBSD developers
who have worked hard for many years to make a professional-grade OS are
willing to make it available to me for free, with excellent
documentation so I can actually teach myself how to install it and use
it.  And instead of spending an hour to RTFM and maybe going to mutt.org
to figure out how to set up mail so I can send this from the OpenBSD
installation I have sitting on a disk on this box, I'd rather spend that
hour using easy-peasy PC-BSD to look at lolcats and read about the
script kiddies who got busted by the FBI the other day and generally
feel smug.

So thank you for inspiring me to reboot into OpenBSD and get to work
learning something new on my day off.  Maybe someday I'll be more than a
hobbyist.

Sorry, list, for the noise.

--
Jay Huldeen
[hidden email]

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Benny Lofgren
In reply to this post by Dennis den Brok-2
On 2012-03-07 17.23, Dennis den Brok wrote:

> On 2012-03-07, Raimo Niskanen <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> So I think a pronounced confirmation question before touching the disk
>> is not a bad thing. It is what many would expect.
> As there seems to be much resistance to one more (redundant) question
> in the installer, I suggest to add a simple message to that part
> of the installer, as in
>
> "(Choosing 'whole disk' will become effective immediately.)"
>
> or even
>
> "Use (W)hole disk (writes to disk immediately) or (E)dit the MBR? [whole]"
                    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

In my opinion, this is the single suggestion in this entire thread
that's actually worth implementing. It's an easy fix, doesn't change
the installer's handling one bit (although it consumes a few more of
the precious bytes) and it might actually prevent someone else with
attention deficit disorder to wreck their disk in the future.

And even if it doesn't, it should at least cool you down enough to opt
out of embarking on a rant about it...


Regards,
/Benny

--
internetlabbet.se     / work:   +46 8 551 124 80      / "Words must
Benny Lofgren        /  mobile: +46 70 718 11 90     /   be weighed,
                    /   fax:    +46 8 551 124 89    /    not counted."
                   /    email:  benny -at- internetlabbet.se

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

daniel holtzman
In reply to this post by Leonardo Sabino dos Santos
Let's all step back a moment: Leonardo is neither the first nor will he
be the last person to be bitten by something in OpenBSD. I say we tell
him we are sorry for his troubles, giggle a little bit, give him a
hearty pat on the back, and shout,

  "Welcome to the elite community of OpenBSD users! We're not all
  geniuses, we don't have all the answers but we all sure as fsck like
  a quality product and the opportunity for deep learning, especially in
  a community of like-minded people."

I think it's safe to say that _everyone_ who uses OpenBSD is necessarily
curious by nature and understands the rigors of learning. We often
fiddle with things and frequently make really foolish mistakes--that's
how we learn.

Leonardo will either "never, ever touch[ing] OpenBSD with a ten-foot
pole again", or he'll become a satisfied and dedicated user. That is
really up to him and his penchant for mastery and self-reliance. The
opportunities for these things are huge in OpenBSD because the project
sticks to its overriding mission, quality, in every aspect; including
documentation.

By side-effect or perhaps by design, the OpenBSD community weeds out
those people who are not seriously dedicated. It may not welcome the
naive and it may not hand-hold the inexperienced, but it certainly does
not prevent the naive and inexperienced from learning. Lurk a lot. Grow
a thicker skin. You can be sneered at and called all sorts of names. Do
you want to work at mastering fascinating skills by some of the best in
the industry or do you want a nice touchy-feely experience? Rarely, you
can have both, but mostly, in real life, we have to make choices.

When I first started using, and yes, "using"--like a drug (2.5 or 2.6),
I was lucky enough to have a steady supply of old machines (i386, sparc,
vax, ppc) and became install-happy. I'd love to show off how quickly I
could do an install over the net. I figure that I did at least 100
installs in my first 6 months; trying to get partitions/labels just
right; messing things up and starting over; making a lot of mistakes.
I've not found another OS, ever, that was so quick and easy to install.
OpenBSD gave me the ability to learn a lot about installation that I
wouldn't have otherwise had the patience to do. I learned a new way of
thinking: where to "try" things and where to "do" things.

So, if you've read this far, Leonardo, sorry you had problems. We _all_
have been there and most of us go there more often than we'd like to
admit :) Stick with it and you'll likely learn more than you can even
fathom right now. If not, then good luck to you.


On Mar 7, 2012, at 7:26 AM, Leonardo Sabino dos Santos wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I want to tell you about my experience with OpenBSD.
>
> I'm a Linux user, but have always wanted to try OpenBSD. The last time
> I'd tried installing it was version 4.6 and I didn't get very far.
> That version wouldn't install on my notebook at all. The kernel
> couldn't recognise my hard drive because of some AHCI incompatibility
> on this notebook that I didn't have the expertise to solve, so I went
> back to Linux for the time. Two years later, we're on version 5.0, I
> decided to give it another try.
>
> So I downloaded all the package files, wrote them to a USB stick,
> created a bootable image with GRUB, booted into the OpenBSD installer
> and off we go. Now, this computer already had Windows 7 and Linux,
> plus about 16 GB of unpartitioned space where OpenBSD is going. It's
> actually the same notebook from two years ago.
>
> I start answering the installer's questions. Keyboard layout. Root
> password. Configuration of network interfaces. I'm not actually paying
> a whole lot of attention to the questions as this is just a test
> installation and I figure I can always explore and configure the
> system later.
>
> Next, the disk stuff comes up. A lot of partition information appears
> on the screen, followed by the question:
>
>  Use (W)hole disk or (E)dit the MBR? [whole]
>
> At this point I'm actually trying to remember if there's a way to
> scroll back the console, because some information has scrolled of the
> screen. I try PageUp, PageDown, Ctrl-UpArrow, Ctrl-DownArrow, but
> nothing works, so I press Enter.
>
> And my partition table is gone. Poof! Instantly, with no confirmation.
> I immediately realized what had happened and rebooted. Too late. I got
> a "No OS" message. It seems that the OpenBSD installer actually
> overwrites the partition table the instant you press Enter.
>
> What saved me was an Ubuntu installation CD and the wonderful tool
> gpart (http://www.brzitwa.de/mb/gpart/). With a bit of tinkering in
> gpart and some very careful work with the Linux version of fdisk, I
> managed to reconstruct the partition table and saved my system.
>
> Distributing an installation program that can wipe out the user's hard
> disk instantly on a single wrong keystroke, without so much as a
> confirmation prompt is so shortsighted and irresponsible that I can
> barely believe it. This is not about being an expert user or knowing
> what you want to do, because I knew exactly what I wanted to do. This
> is about incredibly stupid user interface design. Sorry, it's just too
> unbelievable that someone would think that this is actually a good
> idea.
>
> I joined this mailing list just to tell you this: Right now, I feel
> like never, ever touching OpenBSD with a ten-foot pole again.
>
> Regards,
>
> - Leonardo

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Kevin Chadwick-2
In reply to this post by Sean Howard-2
On Wed, 7 Mar 2012 13:52:45 -0500
Sean Howard wrote:

> This error is the best error you can make. Keeps you respecting your system and your own ability to control it.

Leonardo, have you ever started zeroing the wrong /dev/ with dd yet?

Backup everything important and hope it saves you more time than it
costs.

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Dan Farrell-2
In reply to this post by daniel holtzman
I agree with Holtzman's sentiment, the OP should consider himself lucky
that he hit a struggling point as early as he did, lest he hit a much
bigger "first brick wall" later down the road. Now he has the benefit of
respecting the OS while still getting a feel for it.
On Mar 7, 2012 3:21 PM, "daniel holtzman" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Let's all step back a moment: Leonardo is neither the first nor will he
> be the last person to be bitten by something in OpenBSD. I say we tell
> him we are sorry for his troubles, giggle a little bit, give him a
> hearty pat on the back, and shout,
>
>  "Welcome to the elite community of OpenBSD users! We're not all
>  geniuses, we don't have all the answers but we all sure as fsck like
>  a quality product and the opportunity for deep learning, especially in
>  a community of like-minded people."
>
> I think it's safe to say that _everyone_ who uses OpenBSD is necessarily
> curious by nature and understands the rigors of learning. We often
> fiddle with things and frequently make really foolish mistakes--that's
> how we learn.
>
> Leonardo will either "never, ever touch[ing] OpenBSD with a ten-foot
> pole again", or he'll become a satisfied and dedicated user. That is
> really up to him and his penchant for mastery and self-reliance. The
> opportunities for these things are huge in OpenBSD because the project
> sticks to its overriding mission, quality, in every aspect; including
> documentation.
>
> By side-effect or perhaps by design, the OpenBSD community weeds out
> those people who are not seriously dedicated. It may not welcome the
> naive and it may not hand-hold the inexperienced, but it certainly does
> not prevent the naive and inexperienced from learning. Lurk a lot. Grow
> a thicker skin. You can be sneered at and called all sorts of names. Do
> you want to work at mastering fascinating skills by some of the best in
> the industry or do you want a nice touchy-feely experience? Rarely, you
> can have both, but mostly, in real life, we have to make choices.
>
> When I first started using, and yes, "using"--like a drug (2.5 or 2.6),
> I was lucky enough to have a steady supply of old machines (i386, sparc,
> vax, ppc) and became install-happy. I'd love to show off how quickly I
> could do an install over the net. I figure that I did at least 100
> installs in my first 6 months; trying to get partitions/labels just
> right; messing things up and starting over; making a lot of mistakes.
> I've not found another OS, ever, that was so quick and easy to install.
> OpenBSD gave me the ability to learn a lot about installation that I
> wouldn't have otherwise had the patience to do. I learned a new way of
> thinking: where to "try" things and where to "do" things.
>
> So, if you've read this far, Leonardo, sorry you had problems. We _all_
> have been there and most of us go there more often than we'd like to
> admit :) Stick with it and you'll likely learn more than you can even
> fathom right now. If not, then good luck to you.
>
>
> On Mar 7, 2012, at 7:26 AM, Leonardo Sabino dos Santos wrote:
>
> > Hi,
> >
> > I want to tell you about my experience with OpenBSD.
> >
> > I'm a Linux user, but have always wanted to try OpenBSD. The last time
> > I'd tried installing it was version 4.6 and I didn't get very far.
> > That version wouldn't install on my notebook at all. The kernel
> > couldn't recognise my hard drive because of some AHCI incompatibility
> > on this notebook that I didn't have the expertise to solve, so I went
> > back to Linux for the time. Two years later, we're on version 5.0, I
> > decided to give it another try.
> >
> > So I downloaded all the package files, wrote them to a USB stick,
> > created a bootable image with GRUB, booted into the OpenBSD installer
> > and off we go. Now, this computer already had Windows 7 and Linux,
> > plus about 16 GB of unpartitioned space where OpenBSD is going. It's
> > actually the same notebook from two years ago.
> >
> > I start answering the installer's questions. Keyboard layout. Root
> > password. Configuration of network interfaces. I'm not actually paying
> > a whole lot of attention to the questions as this is just a test
> > installation and I figure I can always explore and configure the
> > system later.
> >
> > Next, the disk stuff comes up. A lot of partition information appears
> > on the screen, followed by the question:
> >
> >  Use (W)hole disk or (E)dit the MBR? [whole]
> >
> > At this point I'm actually trying to remember if there's a way to
> > scroll back the console, because some information has scrolled of the
> > screen. I try PageUp, PageDown, Ctrl-UpArrow, Ctrl-DownArrow, but
> > nothing works, so I press Enter.
> >
> > And my partition table is gone. Poof! Instantly, with no confirmation.
> > I immediately realized what had happened and rebooted. Too late. I got
> > a "No OS" message. It seems that the OpenBSD installer actually
> > overwrites the partition table the instant you press Enter.
> >
> > What saved me was an Ubuntu installation CD and the wonderful tool
> > gpart (http://www.brzitwa.de/mb/gpart/). With a bit of tinkering in
> > gpart and some very careful work with the Linux version of fdisk, I
> > managed to reconstruct the partition table and saved my system.
> >
> > Distributing an installation program that can wipe out the user's hard
> > disk instantly on a single wrong keystroke, without so much as a
> > confirmation prompt is so shortsighted and irresponsible that I can
> > barely believe it. This is not about being an expert user or knowing
> > what you want to do, because I knew exactly what I wanted to do. This
> > is about incredibly stupid user interface design. Sorry, it's just too
> > unbelievable that someone would think that this is actually a good
> > idea.
> >
> > I joined this mailing list just to tell you this: Right now, I feel
> > like never, ever touching OpenBSD with a ten-foot pole again.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > - Leonardo

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Marc Espie-2
In reply to this post by Leonardo Sabino dos Santos
On Wed, Mar 07, 2012 at 07:41:47PM +0100, Leonardo Sabino dos Santos wrote:
> I also agree with those who pointed out that doing experimental OS
> installs on a machine you care about is not a particularly smart thing
> to do.

It's also fairly stupid to ever do an install without first backing up
the critical parts.  You should always have a backup copy of your
partition table somewhere *else* first.

That simple rule has saved my ass more than once.

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Marc Espie-2
In reply to this post by Nick Holland
On Wed, Mar 07, 2012 at 10:10:12AM -0500, Nick Holland wrote:
> yes, scrollback is something that was sacrificed on the installer to
> keep it able to fit on a floppy (contrary to another contribution to
> this thread).  Unfortunate, annoying, and unfortunately, I got no
> better ideas.

Is it true for all images ? I figure the ramdisk_cd and bsd.rd images
probably have room enough for console scrollback, don't they ?

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Gerald Chudyk
In reply to this post by Leonardo Sabino dos Santos
On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 4:26 AM, Leonardo Sabino dos Santos
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I want to tell you about my experience with OpenBSD.
>
You would have loved an operating system called IMOS from NCR. They
had a useful command that would delete files from a disk. If you
forgot to mention which file ( by typing del<cr>) the system would
proceed to delete each file on the disk. It would politely display
each file name as it was deleted.

After the shock and the denial, one would scream at the data terminal,
and then make a mad dash for the computer room where the processor
panel required a sequence of buttons be pressed before it would reset.

Of course this could only have happened at night when no one else was
using the system, and the backups would not have been missing.

I am trying to remember who this happened to, but it was a very long
time ago and I can only recall a bitter struggle with nightmares that
plagued me around that very same time.

Hmm... I think I can even recall the button sequence on the
processor..."<Halt>..<Reset>...<Compute>...<Compute>". Strange how
that should be engraved in my memory after all the years that have
past.

Regards,
Gerald.

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Nick Holland
In reply to this post by Marc Espie-2
On 03/07/12 18:32, Marc Espie wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 07, 2012 at 10:10:12AM -0500, Nick Holland wrote:
>> yes, scrollback is something that was sacrificed on the installer to
>> keep it able to fit on a floppy (contrary to another contribution to
>> this thread).  Unfortunate, annoying, and unfortunately, I got no
>> better ideas.
>
> Is it true for all images ? I figure the ramdisk_cd and bsd.rd images
> probably have room enough for console scrollback, don't they ?

It's true for all images install images, yes.
(and that's for i386, amd64.  Most other platforms don't have any kind
of scrollback at all).

I would guess bsd.rd would have space, if the scrollback were to be
separated out.  Without looking (i.e., I'm about to make a fool of
myself), I think it is part of the "option SMALL_KERNEL", so to put it
in bsd.rd (=cd ramdisk) would require breaking out the code...not sure
how that would go over.

um.  I am so out-of-line commenting to Marc Espie about code...  *sigh*

Nick.

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Marcos Bento Luna
In reply to this post by daniel holtzman
tl:dr: yes, I agree with the OP - that step could be more informative
and it would be a good idea to include further confirmation before
effectively writing changes to the disk/MBR.
----------
Hi everybody, I'm new here and I have been trying OpenBSD for
the past couple of weeks, and finally today I joined the mailing list.
It was funny (and sad at the same time) to read this unfortunate
event that happened with Leonardo, and it was particularly
interesting to me because as a newcomer to the OpenBSD world
I also struggled with the disk partitioning step and his story
could very well be mine. I also ran into a huge risk when installing
it into my computer's hard disk drive trying to achieve a dual boot setup.

Luckily, I first installed OpenBSD a dozen times on a VM to get
an idea of dealing with the OpenBSD installation, package
management, etc. After learning what I considered enough to
get my hands dirty and performing a real installation I burned
the iso into a cd and began the process. However, I had
forgotten that I would be required to create the OpenBSD partition
because every time I installed it on the VM I had choose
the whole disk option. But I wasnt careless, and choose the
custom layout option. However, the next step wasn't very
practical for a newbie like me to easily visualize what exactly
I had to do, how to do it and where it would be made. At this point
I just felt it wasn't woth the risk and then I simply power off the
machine by holdind the power button down.

Back to windows I did some googling about dual boot setups.
Found some info who said what I should do but not how to do it. What I found
was that I should use fdisk to select the desired partition and mark it
as OpenBSD partition (A6). Ok, another try and I'm back staring
at the disk partitioning tool, however I cold not guess wich was
the correct partition I should select, because the information was
displayed in bytes, not GBs, and the OpenBSD partition I had created
was of similar size to another three partitions already in place.
Back to windows I decided to use Easeus partition magic to change
the filetype of the partition I had previously created for openBSD
to ext2 for better visualization. Finished it I was back to
the openbsd install and finally could identify the correct partition I was
looking for and succeded at installing it without erasing all my data.
The final step was to go back to windows and use a tool named
EasyBCD to add the OpenBSD partition to the boot menu and
I finally had my dualboot setup in place.

Well as you guys can see installing openbsd is a bit complicated
for newbies like me, and I got thing done as I could. The possibility
to have all your data wiped
instantly because of a very simplistic installer could be, indeed, a big
turn off for new, inexperienced ( and sometimes careless) users.
Some linux instalers i used are more straightforward and
certainly help people like me to perform a succesfull install
the way we want it without screwing everything up.

Can the installer improve? Yes. Is it a technical challenge to implement
further assistance? I dont know. What I do know is that it
would be a very nice addition to the curent installer in my opinion.

Just my 2 cents.

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

R0me0 ***
In reply to this post by Leonardo Sabino dos Santos
"*UNIX was not designed to stop its users from doing stupid things, as that
would also stop them from doing clever things.*"  Doug
Gwyn<http://pt.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Doug_Gwyn&action=edit&redlink=
1>


Em 7 de margo de 2012 11:27, Leonardo Sabino dos Santos <
[hidden email]> escreveu:

> On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 2:44 PM, Russell Garrison
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > I am absolutely intrigued by this story despite my better judgement.
> > You were able to cook your own full OpenBSD installer on a USB stick
> > with GRUB instead of downloading an ISO or using PXE, but you failed
> > disk setup in the installer? It really would be interesting to see if
> > you can read just http://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq4.html , particularly
> > 4.5.3 and then come back to us with anything other than a mea culpa.
>
> I admit to pressing Enter at some of the questions without reading
> carefully. It simply never crossed my mind that the default action for
> the installer is to erase the whole disk without chance for review. I
> still think that's a disaster waiting to happen.
>
> On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 3:04 PM, Christer Solskogen
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > What if you mistyped there as well? Do you want a "Are you REALLY
> > REALLY sure?"?
>
> Then again, partitioning your disk is a bit more serious than "What's
> your hostname?" or "What time zone are you in?". Maybe that one
> question deserves an extra confirmation, or a less dangerous default.
> Just saying.

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Ted Unangst-6
In reply to this post by Nick Holland
On Wed, Mar 07, 2012, Nick Holland wrote:

> On 03/07/12 18:32, Marc Espie wrote:
>> On Wed, Mar 07, 2012 at 10:10:12AM -0500, Nick Holland wrote:
>>> yes, scrollback is something that was sacrificed on the installer to
>>> keep it able to fit on a floppy (contrary to another contribution to
>>> this thread).  Unfortunate, annoying, and unfortunately, I got no
>>> better ideas.
>>
>> Is it true for all images ? I figure the ramdisk_cd and bsd.rd images
>> probably have room enough for console scrollback, don't they ?
>
> It's true for all images install images, yes.
> (and that's for i386, amd64.  Most other platforms don't have any kind
> of scrollback at all).
>
> I would guess bsd.rd would have space, if the scrollback were to be
> separated out.  Without looking (i.e., I'm about to make a fool of
> myself), I think it is part of the "option SMALL_KERNEL", so to put it
> in bsd.rd (=cd ramdisk) would require breaking out the code...not sure
> how that would go over.

SCROLLBACK_SUPPORT (the actual relevant option) is typically only
defined if not SMALL_KERNEL, though you could add it as an option on
its own.

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Kenneth R Westerback
In reply to this post by David Vasek
On Wed, Mar 07, 2012 at 06:19:02PM +0100, David Vasek wrote:

> On Wed, 7 Mar 2012, Donald Allen wrote:
>
> >"While the FAQ is indeed clear, the installer's simplicity appears
> >at that point a little deceptive, in that one (I know I was) is
> >tempted to think that such a user-friendly installer would not harm
> >one so easily..."
> >
> >I disagree. I think the installer is fine the way it is and it was not
> >the problem here. The problem was the original poster's too-cavalier
> >approach to something that is well-known to be dangerous. What
> >happened here is somewhat analogous to texting while driving or flying
> >an airplane drunk and, when disaster occurs, being upset (assuming
> >survival) that the equipment didn't prevent it.
>
> Except that the equipment shoudn't direct people to behave in such a
> disasterous way. And this the case.
>
> Regards,
> David
>

What disaster? The OP recovered his MBR with a little effort. Anyone who
couldn't do the same for a munged MBR should not be using anything
that does not have a GUI installation process. Let alone OpenBSD, where
we pride ourselves on the amount of rope that fits on a floppy.

Think of it as evolution in action.

.... Ken

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Raimo Niskanen-7
In reply to this post by Benny Lofgren
On Wed, Mar 07, 2012 at 08:24:31PM +0100, Benny Lofgren wrote:

> On 2012-03-07 17.23, Dennis den Brok wrote:
> > On 2012-03-07, Raimo Niskanen <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >> So I think a pronounced confirmation question before touching the disk
> >> is not a bad thing. It is what many would expect.
> > As there seems to be much resistance to one more (redundant) question
> > in the installer, I suggest to add a simple message to that part
> > of the installer, as in
> >
> > "(Choosing 'whole disk' will become effective immediately.)"
> >
> > or even
> >
> > "Use (W)hole disk (writes to disk immediately) or (E)dit the MBR? [whole]"
>                     ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> In my opinion, this is the single suggestion in this entire thread
> that's actually worth implementing. It's an easy fix, doesn't change
> the installer's handling one bit (although it consumes a few more of
> the precious bytes) and it might actually prevent someone else with
> attention deficit disorder to wreck their disk in the future.
>
> And even if it doesn't, it should at least cool you down enough to opt
> out of embarking on a rant about it...

+1

>
>
> Regards,
> /Benny
>
> --
> internetlabbet.se     / work:   +46 8 551 124 80      / "Words must
> Benny Lofgren        /  mobile: +46 70 718 11 90     /   be weighed,
>                     /   fax:    +46 8 551 124 89    /    not counted."
>                    /    email:  benny -at- internetlabbet.se

--

/ Raimo Niskanen, Erlang/OTP, Ericsson AB

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Dmitrij D. Czarkoff-2
In reply to this post by Dennis den Brok-2
On Wed, 2012-03-07 at 16:23 +0000, Dennis den Brok wrote:

> As there seems to be much resistance to one more (redundant) question
> in the installer, I suggest to add a simple message to that part
> of the installer, as in
>
> "(Choosing 'whole disk' will become effective immediately.)"
>
> or even
>
> "Use (W)hole disk (writes to disk immediately) or (E)dit the MBR? [whole]"
>
> While the FAQ is indeed clear, the installer's simplicity appears
> at that point a little deceptive, in that one (I know I was) is
> tempted to think that such a user-friendly installer would not harm
> one so easily...

Don't you think it all gets too far? One should generally expect that
choosing "use the whole disk" means that all the data on disk will be
lost. If the user doesn't pay attention to installer, this wording won't
help. Furthermore, the more chatty installer is, the less amount of
newcomers would be reading the messages.

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Re: My OpenBSD 5.0 installation experience (long rant)

Dmitrij D. Czarkoff-2
In reply to this post by Marcos Bento Luna
On Wed, 2012-03-07 at 23:06 -0300, Marcos Bento Luna wrote:
> ...........................Ok, another try and I'm back staring
> at the disk partitioning tool, however I cold not guess wich was
> the correct partition I should select, because the information was
> displayed in bytes, not GBs, and the OpenBSD partition I had created
> was of similar size to another three partitions already in place.

Sorry, but didn't you notice a message about pressing "h" for help? If
you used it, you would learn that "p G" will show the gigabytes values.

> Some linux instalers i used are more straightforward and
> certainly help people like me to perform a succesfull install
> the way we want it without screwing everything up.

From the linux world the best installer for me was that of Arch Linux,
though compared to OpenBSD's one it suffered from lack of polish (and
FWIW cfdisk is the worst partitioning tool ever).

Some years ago I also tried Ubuntu, OpenSuSE (or what is the current
capitalization?), Debian, Fedora and Gentoo, with all of them (may be
except Gentoo, where there was no installer at the time) being crappy.
Though OpenBSD installer is not the main feature of OpenBSD for me (it
is only used to install OS anyway), I wouldn't like it to change in any
way now, as I just can't think of a way to make it better.

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