Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
Snake charming.

Snake charming.

The recent mockups of an improved Anaconda storage UI are really interesting. In the back of my mind, it did get me thinking, though. These mockups have a lot of really juicy information for knowledgeable users.

For the most part, the information shown is going to be really helpful for people with setups that go beyond the standard tower or laptop system with one hard disk. People with exotic configurations and special needs will have a much easier time figuring out their target storage and how to deal with it once it’s chosen.

I also like the way that the “Basic devices” radio button is used. People in the simple storage case — new users, or even experienced users in the single-disk case — aren’t required to wade through extra device selection to get through the installation process. Nice!

Unrelated wool gathering.

For whatever reason, this reminds me to report that I spent some time recently with a few systems at home trying various upgrade processes from Fedora 10 to 11. I used the preupgrade process for one of them, which worked as advertised; and a yum upgrade process for the other, following the directions on the wiki to the letter. That worked perfectly as well.

In both cases, I did need to do a little special system configuration fiddling, but only because I, as a non-beginner, had made those changes to start with. A non-beginner user would have simply observed everything working and said, “Great, now I can get on with my life,” just as it should be.

My personal feeling is that the preupgrade method is the one we should pursue, while having some better sanity checks that allow it to fail early and gracefully, with appropriate information back to the user about the reasons. It has a fairly simple and non-confusing interface, and stays out of the way of the user politely.

It still has some rough spots and doesn’t always deal well with odd or exotic configurations, and some of those are definitely worth ironing out. In the cases where we can’t make good choices, though, there is always the yum upgrade method on which to fall back. After all, exotic configurations and highly customized boxes are clearly the province of experts, i.e. people less likely to need hand holding.

In either case, having been around my LUG, and more generally around users of other Linux distros quite often, I know that Fedora is not doing too badly in this area — and in some cases, significantly better that many distros. There are still many problems we need to confront and fix, but we’re making good progress and I hope that will continue post-Fedora 12.

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