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Re: ISO download difficult

On Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 2:58 PM, Russ Allbery wrote:

> I think that's probably true, but it also has prerequisites that may not
> be achievable.  In other words, it's more user-friendly except when it's
> completely impossible (because the existing system doesn't boot, for
> instance).  Other OS installers work fine in that situation if the
> hardware is capable of booting from USB.  There's no need for us to be
> worse.

d-i would continue to work in that situation, as it would in the OS
app situation. When downloading, you just click "I have no OS" instead
of "I have Windows/etc". The app approach would still use d-i as
normal, but the method to download, install, write the install medium
etc would be automatic instead of manual.

The app approach can also improve the situation where there is no OS
installed by having a GUI for automatically checking there is space on
the USB stick, downloading/verifying ISOs and making it easy to write
to a chosen USB stick.

For example of how much better the app approach could be for
inexperienced users; we recently got a complaint about the install
parts of the website mentioning the multiple architecture names
supported and the user consequently getting stuck because they didn't
know what an architecture is and definitely didn't know that their
device is amd64. With an app approach, they can install the signed
"Debian installer loader" app from the OS vendor store (or the Debian
"I have Windows" download link) and have it automatically detect i386,
amd64 or arm64 (Windows 10 just got released for ARM), download the
right installer, verify the signatures, check for needed firmware,
modify the Windows bootloader to boot d-i without needing a USB stick,
possibly preseed the installer with some package names for apps
similar to the ones installed on the existing OS and prompt for a
reboot. With virtualisation being available in some OSes it could also
do the install entirely from the OS to avoid the extra reboot.

> Also, user-friendliness is not just for inexperienced users.  There's
> nothing wrong with making Debian more user-friendly for experienced
> users.  Just because we *can* do firmware sideloading doesn't mean we
> should *force ourselves* to do this.

Based on what other folks in the recent threads have said, it seems
like even developers can't work out how to do firmware sideloading so
we definitely need to do better.

> I'm certainly not arguing for removing this as an option.  I am arguing
> for challenging ourselves to do better than that for as many cases as we
> can, because that's not a fun experience.  Even those of us who thoroughly
> understand Debian deserve to have fun and relatively pain-free experiences
> installing our operating system!

Hmm, I thought you were arguing for the manual option to continue to
be the main way we suggest people install Debian, rather than the OS
app style option. Seems I was wrong and now my guess is that in
addition to keeping the manual option available, you think we should
improve our download web page re firmware, while leaving the rest of
the parts of the install process as manual as before and keep
win32-loader as an obscure option most folks haven't heard of?