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Debian-installer is a new Debian system-install program that is currently under development. It will come standard with Debian when Sarge becomes Stable. Among its many features, it provides optional automatic disk partitioning and hardware detection.

The old (and still used as standard with Debian Woody) installer is called boot-floppies.

Personal Experience

In an informal usability study, I used this installer (beta 4 version) starting at midnight one night. (The idea being that slight sleep deprivation might be a useful aid in studying usability.) I didn't have any troubles until it came to package selection. Aptitude was the best choice out of the bunch, but not good enough for my sleep-starved mind. I've since reinstalled during the day, and didn't have any troubles, but I did have to check the help menu for aptitude several times.

To sum up, this installer is light-years ahead of boot-floppies, but still not quite as good as other distributions' installers. Aptitude works great, as long as you're in a non-impaired mental state, and you don't mind reading the directions. (Which rules out about 95% of users...) However, since Debian supports 11 different architectures, the installer almost has to be done in curses, not in a GUI. This limits how much the Debian project can improve their installer. The main problem I had was the sheer number of available packages, one of the great strengths of the Debian distro. One possible way to mitigate this problem would be to have the user choose a typical installation profile, and then use aptitude to refine the package selection. Or if this is already an option, make it more visible. (My friends don't call me Captain Oblivious for nothing - which makes me a good tester for interfaces.) Crazyeddie 19:06, Aug 12, 2004 (EDT)

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