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Re: User Experience improvements for Anaconda

On 11/11/2010 08:19 PM, Máirín Duffy wrote:
> I really want to help make our installation process an easy and pleasant
> experience 

Anaconda takes too much time (a factor of 2 to 4) and too much RAM (a factor of 6 or 7.)
See this Request For Enhancement (RFE) from 2002:
   RFE: 2X to 6X faster install via software pipeline and controlled memory footprint

In the intervening eight years the speed has improved slightly,
while the space has become worse (today: minimum 512MB, usual 1GB.)

The same analysis still applies: pipeline the package installs for speed,
fork+no_exec+wait most logical operations in order to control address space.
The pipeline is (per .rpm):
   1. fetch the file, removing the outermost layer of compression as it comes in
   2. do everything else except the %post
   3. %post [and cleanup if necessary]
Using such a pipeline, the 1193 packages for Internet Desktop (about 3.2GB on disk,
1.3GB on install media) could be installed in 5 minutes (32X CD or 4X DVD, 1GHz CPU,
384MB RAM, disk >= 20MB/s.)  Only step 3 requires serialization of predecessors
(dependent packages); otherwise arbitrary parallelism is allowed.  Even step 3
can be parallelized over the set of all the packages that have no remaining
predecessors at the same stage of topological sort.


Yesterday I timed installing Fedora 14 x86_64 using 2.0GHz uniprocessor CPU,
3.3GB RAM, 50MB/s harddrive, 20X DVD reader, 4X DVD+RW or 16X DVD+R media.
I chose Custom harddrive configuration, and selected the same pre-partitioned
20GB slice.  This is a workhorse desktop machine that is not young.

Installing Fedora 14 x86_64 LiveCD, 685MB recorded on 4X DVD+RW:
mm:ss           step
-----   -----------------------
00:00   Autoboot in 8 seconds
01:15   completed (f) logo on splash/progress screen
01:55   Autologin
02:40   click Install to harddrive
03:05   format "/" (root) [20GB ext4]
04:30   copying live image to harddrive
06:15   post install
07:45   Congratulations! [done]
2.145GB on disk in 3:15 [4:30 to 7:45] ==> 11 MB/s  [barely adequate speed]

Installing Fedora 14 x86_64 DVD, 3.4GB recorded on 16X DVD+R;
Internet Desktop (default; 1193 packages):
mm:ss           step
-----   -----------------------
00:00   boot
00:22   no media check
01:03   Fedora 14 splash screen
02:18   format "/" (root) [20GB ext4]
02:45   check package dependencies
03:06   transfer install image to harddrive
03:18   starting installation process
05:30   first package
19:50   last package
20:47   post install
20:51   Congratulations! [done]   3.3GB on disk
3.3GB on disk in 15:17 [5:30 to 20:47] ==> 3.6 MB/s  [SLOW!]

Note that my timings are much different than those at:
which say 15 minutes for LiveCD, 1 hour for DVD.  That DVD reader probably is
old, broken, or too cheap [is it on a laptop?].  My reader cost $25 two years ago.


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