[Dev] Calamares Installer (Parabola rebranded) almost ready

mcgregor at mailoo.org mcgregor at mailoo.org
Fri Jul 7 07:16:07 GMT 2017

Hi everyone,

I'll just give my experience as an average user -- not a total newbie,
not a guru. I'm quite used to (and enjoy) cli install, however I
understand that for a first attempt, it's puzzling. Some of my feedback
might reflect lack of knowledge of stuff that makes it easier, but if I
don't  it, others might as well.

Megver83 <megver83 at openmailbox.org> writes:

> Good thing to point out, I was going to mention that. But bill-auger
> already answered that question: Parabola is a very attractive libre
> distro, up-to-date, stable, and awesome :) 

+1. Except the recurring and quite easy to fix keys issues, it's very
light on maintenance.

> so any newbie to the GNU/Linux world might want sth. more
> user-friendly, but at the same time, with updated software (for better
> compatibility, test new software, etc.), which distro offers you that
> option? none (at least from the FSF-endorsed). I would not mention
> Trisquel if I talk about updated software. 

It's a personal point of view, but I find rolling release easier even
for beginners. For sure, you may run in small glitches more often, but
I've always had difficulties with debian version upgrades. I don't find
the explanations in the debian release notes much easier than the
Parabola install.

> So being a bit more user-friendly with the installation is like a big
> step for newbies, there's a lot of people who do not use Parabola for
> the same reason, or simply install Manjaro and then migrate to
> Parabola, but there's nothing better than a fresh install :D
> Plus, no one says that we should leave CLI aside, we can have both, a
> CLI ISO and a GUI one.

One difficulty in the install process, is that unless you know it by
heart, you need the install guide. I still need it after several
installs. I open it on my phone while installing on a computer. But it's
not very convenient. Besides, some steps are described on another page,
so one has to follow links. On a fresh install in a cli-based browser,
it's an additional challenge for beginners.

Also, when one first installs GNU+Linux coming from the proprietary
world, one faces many choices: separate partitions or not, which size,
lvm or not, which desktop manager. Learning all that takes quite some
time, and install might not be the best one. Especially since one does
not easily know the severity of a wrong choice.

That makes a lot to grasp the first time, and can prevent people who
don't have much time from trying. I started learning when I was a
student. If I had to start now that I work, I couldn't do that first

However, the diy philosophy shouldn't be abandoned, especially if it was
at the root of the project.

I don't know if it's feasible, but a compromise could be a 2 panes tmux
or screen. In one of them would be a cli based install similar to
debian, but that shows you the command before running it, and in the
other one the install guide page for this step. It seems to me that this
would remain close to the diy aspect, since the user would have to take
the decisions, while assisting new users in understanding the process,
and remaining in the cli, which I believe is important and fun to keep.

> El 06/07/17 a las 13:39, fauno escribió:
>> Megver83 <megver83 at openmailbox.org> writes:
>>> Before I started with the branding, I look for the issue in the bug
>>> tracker and found your version of Calamares for Parabola. I've not
>>> compiled it, but I could do soon, to compare yours and mine fork.
>>> Anyways, we can work together instead of working separately.
>> sorry to throw cold water at it, but do we really need graphical
>> installers for parabola?  isn't the point to learn to diy a gnu/linux
>> os? :)
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