[Assist] new installer-only LiveISOs - feedback wanted

bill-auger bill-auger at peers.community
Fri Jan 17 17:24:55 GMT 2020

i just had an idea after some recent activity in calamares
regarding accessibility issues - for those who dont know,
calamares is the GUI installer program on the LiveISOs

that accessibility issue has been hanging for years, mainly due
to missing support for it in QT - there was a patch proposed a
few years ago - i tried it back then, and it did allow calamares
to send SPI messages - the patch would have meant carrying a
custom build of 'qt5-base' just for calamares though; and the
patch was never accepted upstream - just today someone
presumably representing QT promised to try pushing it through

around that time, i had been corresponding with a blind person;
trying to decide if LXDE was a good DE for accessibility - the
"talking" ISO has not been upgraded in years - he told me that
MATE and ratpoison are "ok-ish"; but really all DEs are lacking
in that respect - as i understand, most blind people use macos;
because windoes is not very good at it either - i had the idea
then, that the best thing to do was to create an installer ISO
with no desktop, that booted straight into X and calamares, if
calamares ever gained full accessibility support

now i am thinking that if QT responds well to that patch, it
could save a lot of work to prioritize that installer ISO; even
if that means implementing all the missing accessibility
features in calamares myself; because that could be generally
useful to anyone installing any blend of parabola, now that
calamares also supports openrc - im also quite sure that
calamares would accept the patches; so that would be useful to
all distros using calamares

most importantly for parabola, the combination of those
features, would allow building many fewer ISOs than we have now
- i am thinking of only two actually: one "complete" CLI LiveISO
for each i686 and x86_64; having an ncurses option just after
login (just as the locale and keymap are selected now) to choose
between launching calamares, or dropping down to the classic
shell without starting X

there could be two more LiveISOs with LXDE (one each for i686
and x86_64) or other DEs if someone else wants to maintain them;
but maybe we dont really need any of those - the openrc and
graphical live systems are by far the most difficult to maintain
- the systemd/CLI LiveISO will build on most any day, with very
little maintenance; and of course they are much simpler to test
and debug

just wanted to put that out there for discussion - what do
people think about all that (especially ditching the graphical
LiveISOs) ?

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