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Re: distribution customization

Jesse Keating wrote:
On Wednesday 10 January 2007 15:15, Bill Nottingham wrote:
The suggestion is that we need to decide which of these (or something
else) we want to do.

I'd like to hear the Anaconda folks' ideas on how to describe the customizations to Anaconda, and then we can worry about the methodology to GET those modifications to where Anaconda could read them.

I think a versioned file with a syntax that's already documented in a million places. Perhaps XML. Before all the groans, XML is really only useful for backend stuff like this. Infinite generators could be written (web pages, PyGTK things, command line tools, etc) to help write the XML file. We gain the ability to version it should we ever want to break compatibility (like what clumens has going in pykickstart). But then that's usually followed by many people citing examples of where XML ruined their favorite project.

But the more I think about this, the more it sounds like anaconda is headed down the road of becoming a generic install tool like InstallShield or something similar rather than specific to our distributions. Or even specific to installing a distribution. And I think that would be interesting. Why not aim for that? On that thought, we can let the above file define what anaconda should ask for in a Next/Back interface. Provide the triggers that let people prompt for information that we don't care about in Fedora and RHEL, but that they care about in whatever.

Of course, there are a million things that would have to happen for something like this to work, but I don't think it's impossible. If anaconda was more like an execution engine for this master config file, maybe it would be useful to more projects. Or, at the very least, more useful to those projects already maintaining forks.

David Cantrell
Red Hat / Westford, MA

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