[lokisetup] setup v2 (was lokisetup for dummies)

Ryan C. Gordon icculus at clutteredmind.org
Sat Jan 3 21:54:08 EST 2004

> To say the least, it wouldn't be anywhere near difficult to write an
> installer builder with a nice GUI that wraps all the low-level details. 
> One could simply save XML files detailing available options,
> dependencies, and so on, and then simply "compile" that into the
> necessary scripts and files for a .package file.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and demand _less_ flexibility.

What I want from an installer, in order of importance:

1) Works everywhere it needs to without bells and whistles.
2) Has the absolute _smallest_ disk footprint possible.
3) Doesn't take a PhD to make an installer for.

#1 is broad, I know, but I think that all this talk of different UIs is
somewhat frivolous if it adds to the disk footprint at all. Ideally
there's a bare-ass minimum GUI of some sort for the average person, and
a text-based installer (that can be compiled out entirely) for things
like dedicated servers where the user almost certainly won't have X11.
If we're statically linking GTK+, then it really might be worth writing
some extremely minimalistic toolkit if it'll save a megabyte, but that
might be going too far once the actual link size is evaluated.

Pyrogon, the Candy Cruncher guys, said that they had some very
interesting statistics on the number of downloads that were
disconnected/cancelled halfway through the transfer. The assumption is
that these people were on dialups and either dropped carrier, or got
bored and hit Cancel. Candy Cruncher is a few megabytes download. The
download of the linux version is 25% installer. And people wrote in
complaining about this. Some of us don't have the luxury of shipping
product on a CD-ROM, and I suspect most of us have the luxury of
broadband, too. Dialup is friggin' painful for anything over a few

On the other hand, an external application that generates the installer
from start to finish (a "wizard" app, if you will) can be big and bulky
and beautiful, since it doesn't need to be distributed to the end
user...and would make the whole process of building installers and
patches suck less and be significantly less error prone...I can't count
the number of screwups that were made in ut2003 patches that a nice
drag-and-drop GUI would have prevented, not to mention the man hours
spent building installers and patches in the first place. Obviously this
is totally seperate from the main discussion, but it's really really
really desirable to me to have this at some point, so I wanted to throw
it out there again.

For the installer itself, less is more. I'm all for ditching the XML,
setupdb, the Dialog UI, scriptability, etc. I don't expect this will be
a popular position, but I honestly think it is best.


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