`After-Install’ Instructions – Debian Planet

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`After-Install’ Instructions
Submitted by Anonymous on Wednesday, June 26, 2002 – 17:28
DebianI’m finding that one of the most frustrating things about .debs (or rpms for that matter) is the lack of consistent `after-install’ instructions.

Once I install a package, what else has to be done? Normally there are configuration files to edit, daemons to check, etc.

Some package maintainers provide a README.Debian file. Others just install files into /etc. I constantly have to search the package contents to figure out what to do next.

Wouldn’t it be easier to display an `after-install’ text file as part of the installation (or even just show the admin the file location). Something that would be consistent between .debs. Or am I just missing something?

I’ve recently converted to Debian from `another’ linux distro because of Debian’s apt-get.

Category: Opinion

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Subject: Re: `After-Install’ Instructions
Author: osamu
Date: Thursday, 2002/06/27 – 07:33
Basics: Read FAQ (doc-debian package installs /usr/share/doc/debian at this moment. I am trying it and other Debian specific document to install themselves into /usr/share/doc/Debian/)

If you are RH/Mandrake/Turbo converts, read my Debian Reference and get used to Debian ways. It is in linked from http;//www.debian.org/doc together with other interesting documents.

  • /usr/share/doc/packagename
  • dpkg -L packagename |less and check each files
  • apt-get install packagename-doc and read it

Good luck.

My first posting try failed. Now what.

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Subject: Re: `After-Install’ Instructions
Author: demonic_saint
Date: Thursday, 2002/06/27 – 03:15
Well most of the time after installing the .deb, a configuration programs pops up to configure (if available) for the package. if it is fully configure, u could always use the man pages (man ‘package name’) to get more info, or look in /usr/share/doc/’package-name’ for info on installation and using.

And if something screws up while installing like loss contact to ftp or spoilt cdrom dpkg just doesn’t configure or install the rest of tha packages and removes them when u run dselect the next time. How cool is that. nothing will be broken. and if u wanted to get rid of packages that are not needed, just install deborphan and run it. it will a list of packages that are not depended upon by other packages. Hope this helps.

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Subject: Re: `After-Install’ Instructions
Author: lordsutch
Date: Wednesday, 2002/06/26 – 23:15
Well, any non-trivial setup should be documented in /usr/share/doc/{package}/README.Debian; however, not all packages do that.
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Subject: README.Debian
Author: bartvh
Date: Thursday, 2002/06/27 – 13:06
And you should submit minor or wishlist bug reports for packages that do not provide necessary information in this way.
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Subject: Re: README.Debian
Author: osamu
Date: Friday, 2002/06/28 – 05:19
wishlist bug should be filed with patch!
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Subject: Should there be any after install instructions iat all?
Author: Manoj
Date: Wednesday, 2002/06/26 – 18:16
When I install a package, I expect the installation process to do what is needed to deliver a functional package. Any setup of configuration files, etc, either should be done during the install. In this model, using debconf, I am prompted towards a configuration, or email is sent to me reminding me of any (minor) details to be taken care ofOne of the major selling points about Debian, for me, has been the fact that I can install the package, and start using it, with none of the post-install instructions needed, for the most part. Last night, I installed the unofficial openoffice debs, and typed openoffice on the command prompt, and everything just worked. That is the way it should be. When I install sendmail, I am lead through the configuration — and I have a working mail DaemonManoj
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Subject: Re: Should there be any after install instructions iat all?
Author: Dwonis
Date: Thursday, 2002/06/27 – 05:06
When I install sendmail,

You what???

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Subject: Re: Should there be any after install instructions iat all?
Author: ex-bart
Date: Wednesday, 2002/06/26 – 19:54
Yesterday I tried to install sourceforge. The problem with that is, that it has to do a lot of modifications to other packages’ configfiles, which is forbidden by the Policy.

So they make it default not to do any automatic modifications. I went for the automatic setup anyway, but there were too many things that could break, and indeed there was something that broke (the ldap stuff).

Sometimes for a package to work correctly there are just too many thing that need to be configured first. It is nice to have the configuration done by some (g)ui, but sometimes it is not possible.

Probably these cases are too rare to justify some general mechanism for after-install-instructions (but still it would be nice to have one).

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Subject: Re: Should there be any after install instructions iat all?
Author: rich4421972
Date: Thursday, 2002/06/27 – 03:21
I have adopted the entire debian system of packages as the only place I get stuff. In other words, a few packages from sid is as bleeding edge as I ever get. This way, I can be pretty sure if one package is going to break other stuff., I think the debian way is that each package comes with a readme file and/or a howto file that reports its history and its likelihood of breaking your system. It is a responsibility that debian users take on themselves when they decide to use this distro. No offense to people who don’t want to spend the time or don’t have the time to read
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Subject: Re: Should there be any after install instructions iat all?
Author: ttyRazor
Date: Wednesday, 2002/06/26 – 23:11
Also one man’s desired defaults could be another’s security/stability risk. Personally I find the process of figuring out how to get a package running to be an essential way to familiarize myself with its ins and outs, and not just have things turned on that I’m not aware of or don’t know the consequences of. Putting what-to-do-next instructions in a consistent spot would be a good idea, but usually when its hard to find its because of a more general deficiency in documentation, which is already someone’s problem.
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Subject: Re: Should there be any after install instructions iat all?
Author: xtifr
Date: Thursday, 2002/06/27 – 22:35
1. We generally try to err on the side of more security, not less, when it comes to defaults. If some package’s defaults are too insecure for you, I recommend filing a bug report.

2. Debian is designed to install and work, not to teach. If you want to learn, I recommend taking a class, reading a book, or even perusing the FM.

In the several years I’ve been using Debian, I’ve had to do post-configuration hacking for two packages. I think someone is making mountains out of molehills here.

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Subject: Re: Should there be any after install instructions iat all?
Author: thefreecat
Date: Thursday, 2002/06/27 – 02:37
What was meant in the first place (in my understanding) was more like a “quick overview” :

  • path to interesting files (config files, devices, etc), “home” dir if any
  • which DOC/Readme*/INSTALL/whatever.doc has to be read first,

Of course, these are usually easy to find but :

  • not for Debian newbies
  • it still takes useful time for nothing.

I agree, for big packages it won’t really help. But on all the smaller ones, it would save hours.

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Subject: Re: `After-Install’ Instructions
Author: rich4421972
Date: Wednesday, 2002/06/26 – 18:11
I am also a “convert”from “another” linux distro. I think that any response is better than none. Often, when a package installs brokenly or not at all into a R__H__ system, all you will get is a folksy “Oops, something went wrong” or “Something went wrong with the installation of your packages…but you are still a good boy/ girl.” It is truly maddening. With dpkg, I have found the opposite to be true. There is some message sometimes. I guess somebody has to actually write these error codes just as you do in PPP or seyon or minicom.

I disagree with you only because I have experienced something different. If there was a universal error code for all .deb packages, the size of packages would increase and then there would be more complaints about the inconclusive nature of the error codes. For a real-life example, see the true mess that Microsoft has created for itself with its error codes. There, one error code shows up for twenty different instances of an error. OS/2, on the other hand, made it their business to program in diagnostic error codes that actually told the user what was happening. The result:
Microsoft has a very wealthy technical service phone department ($20 per minute) and OS/2 is rather hard to find as an option for anybody

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Subject: Re: `After-Install’ Instructions
Author: b3
Date: Wednesday, 2002/06/26 – 18:00
A normalized way of presenting post-install instructions would be a nice idea – but I’m not sure that displaying them just after install is the best way of doing it.

I’d say emailing root@localhost with the post-install instructions for each package would make more sense – especially for instances where a long list of packages is being installed.

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Subject: Re: `After-Install’ Instructions
Author: Trevelyan
Date: Wednesday, 2002/06/26 – 22:19
sure base installs exim, but i doubt many setup/configure their emil, i have it turned off, since i have no use for it.

also how do you propose to email install config instruction for email agents like exim, so that the user can config/use it??

I like the idea of more post install information, but its home should be /usr/share/doc along with all the other package information.

any how if its not in /usr/share/doc theres at least a web url, and if not dont forget www.google.com/linux

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Subject: Re: `After-Install’ Instructions
Author: ex-bart
Date: Wednesday, 2002/06/26 – 18:11
I think that is a nice idea. Unfortunately this would make all such package dependent (or event pre-dependent) on mail-transder-agent. That can be a problem when the system is freshly installed.

But it should not be to hard to find a workaround for that.

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Subject: Re: `After-Install’ Instructions
Author: rvf
Date: Thursday, 2002/06/27 – 22:27
I would imagine that any such instructions would be delivered via debconf. That way you can configure debconf to either tell you right at installation or mail it to you. Really, it already exists, just not specifically “after install” instructions, but to inform you of “gotchas” about the package and such.
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