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Rolling up the sleeves with the Debian Installer project…

So I received a response on my queries concerning the Debian Installer PowerPC bug reports. You can read the whole thing here, but the key part of my reply from Sven Luther that grabbed me was this:

“Because the ones who care about powerpc are busy right now ? I think it
is exam time for some of them, or they are busy with other stuff. I
myself don’t have a pmac, so there is not much i can do, and i think
gaudenz has gone to work on discovery mostly. Don’t know about the

Maybe this is the right time for you (or others) to step in and have a
go at fixing this problem, if we want to have good powerpc support by
march 15.

Anyway, i have no idea about the keyboard problem you reported, but
this kernel issue, it should not be problematic. Does choosing unstable
instead of testing make a change here ?”

Well, I thought about that, and replied to Sven:

Thanks for the info; I didn’t realize there were so few powerpc folks! Well, I guess there’s no time like the present to learn C. I have seen posts that Alioth has moved to using Subversion; any pointers on what I need to get started? I will begin with getting Subversion 1.0 set up on my Mac.”

Shortly thereafter, Sven replied:

Well, debian-installer is mostly very basic shell scripts and common sense stuff, no need to learn C for it.

Also, for subversion, the active repository is still in CVS, altough that may change in the future.

In order to fix this problem, you could start by :

1) trying out the unstable install instead of the sarge one, and see if the problem is still there.
2) look at the exact error on console 3, if there is one, and on the messages on console 4.
3) go to console 2 and run archdetect on it, then test the base-installer postinst to see which kernel should have been installed.
4) once you know that, make sure this kernel exists. Also, check with apt-cache search kernel-image which kernels are available from your mirror.

I suppose at this point I am out of excuses. So, I am trying to become proficient at these CVS commands (thank you, thank you Jennifer Vesperman for Essential CVS) and come up to speed on advanced shell scripts. It feels pretty good to be getting more involved with open source activity. It’s a weird kind of good, though; assuredly not for everyone. If following a system messages log for 40 minutes to learn a little bit about why a keyboard selection routine is failing strikes you as fun, then I mean your kind of fun.

The rest of you – those who, like me, have been sitting on the sidelines downloading, compiling, and complaining for all these years – perhaps it is time for you, too, to jump in. Are you interested in Debian? The new installer is a great place to get started. See you on the list!