Wednesday, December 3, 2014

CentOS 7 Installer Woes

When I first switched to Fedora from the Ubuntu/Debian world, it gave me such a happy feeling. The installer was the best I'd ever used. It was simple and straight forward, and yet didn't make it nearly impossible to do anything remotely outside the box (ala Ubuntu).
Disk encryption was simple to do. It wasn't some scary forbidden thing, deliberately hidden away somewhere on an alternative install image. Everything felt professional, and well thought out. Not the "work in progress" feel you get with some other distros. Despite all the "Fedora is bleeding edge" hype, I actually found it to be less buggy than Ubuntu, including LTS. And when there was a bug, the folks on Redhat's Bugzilla were usually quick to find a solution.

That was Fedora 17. But it seems like they just couldn't resist the urge to fix something that wasn't broken. If you can get past the installer, though, it's still a great system (unless you use Gnome Shell IMHO).

I really can't think of anything nice to say about the installer. You'd think they would have fixed it before the RHEL 7 release. It's pretty much impossible to install to an existing LVM on LUKS setup. You can unlock the crypt, but it can't find the LVM. Your only option is to rsync all your data to another disk, and start over.

With the direction the rest of the Linux desktop world seems to be going, I find myself liking Archlinux more and more. The installation may take a little more time, but you know exactly what's going on. And you can set up the partitions however you choose.

A GUI should make a task easier and more intuitive, not less. Its purpose is to provide an interface to the CLI that requires less spell checking and manpage reading. Not to abstract it into some clever new paradigm that only the developer understands. That's how the Fedora/RHEL installer used to be. Now it's followed Gnome Shell into the "like a tablet, but not a tablet" abyss.