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Didier Spaier 03-06-2014 09:16 AM

[TESTERS WANTED] Upcoming slint-next installers
 
1 Attachment(s)
As announced in this post, new internationalized installers for Slackware are provided in http://slint.fr/testing.

Their features are identical to those of installers already available in http://slint.fr/installers, but two important ones:
  • The installers are now able to display translations in nearly all languages, including ideographic ones (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Korean).
  • To be able to do that, the UI now uses a FbTerm, that can display TTF fonts without Xorg, with a frame buffer device or a VESA video card.
This works here, but I'd like to know if that works elsewhere (and preferably everywhere, but that's a little harder to check :-)

Here is a summary of changes from current versions of Slint (and Slackware) installers:
  • Initialization sequence is modified (through changes in /etc/inittab and associated files) to launch FbTerm in tty1, tty2 and tty3 before interaction with user begins (see this thread for details).
  • In FbTerm, either (TTF) font DejaVu Sans Mono or WenQuanYi Zen Hei Mono is used depending on language (till now only the former is needed, but the latter is used for French for testing purposes).
  • In FbTerm, the font size set by the installer is the biggest that allows to display at least 90 columns and 26 lines of text, using the highest available display resolution as reported by command "fterm --vesa-mode= list". This is done by attached file SetFont.
  • User can still "exit" from a FbTerm and once in a regular console or tty type "logout" to launch a new FbTerm, though this shouldn't be necessary in most cases (see below for setting a customized console font though).
Here are the already known issues and limitations.
  • FbTerm uses TTF fonts, but not console fonts, thus can't be used to choose an alternate console font as proposed by the installer. The user should skip this step when asked and/or open another tty, type in it "exit" then run "setconsolefont" and go back to tty1 (alternatively, "setconsolefont" can be used after installation as well, which is simpler IMO).
  • If a VESA videocard is used but not a frame buffer (e.g including "nomodeset" in the command line), dialog boxes displayed after "exit" (not in FbTerm) look ugly. I don't know yet and would be grateful of an explanation or fix proposed.
  • The font size is set according to the highest available display resolution, but this is done statically, in other words for a limited list of display sizes known to be widely used, see the list below. In other cases the default font size (12) is used, that can be either too big or too small.
What to test?
  • First and foremost, I assume that by default the highest available VESA resolution will be used, and set the font size accordingly. If that's wrong, you will see less than 90 columns and 26 lines displayed, and dialog boxes too big, possibly not fitting in the screen. If that occurs, please report your finding in this thread. Tip: typing "exit" then "fbterm -v" will display useful information to be reported: display resolution, font size and terminal size.
  • Also, if you have a screen resolution not recorded in SetFont, please indicate in this thread which it is and what is your hardware.
Thanks in advance for your test reports. All remarks or requests for enhancement are also welcome.

Here is the list of display resolutions recorded so far (it's easy to add others if need be):
Code:

Width  Height
 2560    1440
 1920    1200
 1920    1080
 1680    1050
 1600    1200
 1600    900
 1440    900
 1400    1050
 1366    768
 1360    768
 1280    1024
 1280    960
 1280    800
 1280    768
 1152    864
 1024    768
 1024    600
  800    600
  640    480


business_kid 03-09-2014 12:20 PM

I have a box here that will probably break it. What do I download, or is it in the latest release?

Didier Spaier 03-09-2014 01:51 PM

Here: http://slint.fr/testing

They are hybrid, so you can put one of them either on an USB stick or on a CD, see http://slint.fr/en/installer.html (but don't pick one in http://slint.fr/installers as these don't include an FbTerm).

Didier Spaier 03-18-2014 07:23 PM

I'd have hoped more test reports... :(

@Business_kid: could you break it?

Anyhow, I've found an issue with a laptop including Optimus technology: it seems that FbTerm can't handle two frame buffers at the same time (in this case intelfb + nouveaufb). I uploaded in http://slint.fr/testings installers with a fix, that is simply to blacklist the nouveau module.

I'm considering blacklisting similarly the radeon module, for those of us who own ATI hybrid graphics, though I don't know if in that case two frame buffers are loaded as well.

To make sure I need help from people owning this kind of hardware (but using the radeon open source driver, not the catalyst proprietary one). Please run following command:
Code:

cat /proc/fb
and post here the output.

business_kid 03-19-2014 04:22 AM

Sorry, very busy here.Course work, midterms etc.

Wanted to run it in my old laptop but never found an hour.

Didier Spaier 03-19-2014 07:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by business_kid (Post 5137221)
Wanted to run it in my old laptop but never found an hour.

No worry, just do it when you find the time. See this report as an example.

Also, you won't need one hour for that, 15 minutes or so should be enough. Here is the procedure to reassure those intimidated:
  • Download one of the testing installers here and possibly check its md5sum.
  • Use the "dd" command to put the .iso file on an USB stick, as explained there.
  • Leave the USB stick plugged in and reboot.
  • If need be set the BIOS of your machine to try booting first off the USB key.
  • Follow instructions on the screen.
As long as you don't go as far as formatting partitions when asked at the "TARGET" step of the menu, you won't have changed anything on you hard disks.

Didier Spaier 03-25-2014 07:16 PM

New installers, modified today, are available in http://slint.fr/testing

Now, nouveau and radeon modules are blacklisted. That should allow the installer to work on all hybrid graphics, whether they include nVidia or ATI/AMD GPU. Please test!

j_v 03-27-2014 04:39 PM

@Didier Spaier: will a test install to qemu image be enough to help out? If so, I'll do one tonight.

Didier Spaier 03-27-2014 06:22 PM

@j_v : I can test myself on a qemu image. What we really need is tests on a real machine.

To do that you'll just need to put the ISO image on an USB stick then reboot. You don't have to make an actual installation, going as far as typing "setup" to display the installation menu is enough and won't hurt your machine at all. When you're done, just unplug the USB stick and reboot (or switch off the machine).

Very small how-to put the ISO image on an USB stick: assuming you USB stick is known as /dev/sdb/ (check carefully this device name with "cat /proc/partitions", as all data on the device will be wiped out!) just do this:
Code:

wget http://slint.fr/testing/slint-14.1.iso
dd if=slint-14.1.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=1M

or to test the 64 bit installer:
Code:

wget http://slint.fr/testing/slint64-14.1.iso
dd if=slint64-14.1.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=1M

To be able to restore the USB stick for other usages afterwards, when you will be done testing, see http://slint.fr/testing/Restore_an_USB_stick.txt

j_v 03-27-2014 07:28 PM

@Didier Spaier: Good instructions. I would have had time to test via qemu tonight, but I will make time this weekend and use your instructions for both 32 bit and 64 bit iso's. I will post a quick summary here after tests are completed. I will also use your link for a more complete report.

Thanks for your reply,
John

astrogeek 03-28-2014 04:00 AM

@Didier Spaier: Taking this as an invitation I set aside my evening session to do some testing!

I found that my daughter has taken over all my USB sticks, so I set up a PXE installer from the slint isos, now working.

I also created an account and will at least contribute to some testing on my old hardware!

If you would be interested in the PXE setup I can provide that and do a basic how-to for those that might prefer it to USB/CD, although I have some remaining uncertainty about the use of the fonts and may need to rebuild the initrd to include them. I have done limited testing on only one system tonight and the character sets appear correct, but the font size is very large. I am not sure if that is due to the PXE environment, the machine or the Slint setup. I'll have to review your SetFonts.txt and resolve that in the next day or two.

Anyway thanks for the invitation - hope I can contribute a little bit!

Didier Spaier 03-28-2014 09:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by astrogeek (Post 5142697)

And rightly so.

Quote:

I also created an account
Where? Not sure I understand what you mean.
Quote:

and will at least contribute to some testing on my old hardware!
Thanks for participating.

Quote:

If you would be interested in the PXE setup I can provide that and do a basic how-to for those that might prefer it to USB/CD
Unfortunately the remote user won't see the same first screens as in a local installation, because that'd need adaptation of file /usr/lib/setup/SeTpxe inside installers' initrd, that I didn't make yet (furthermore, it seems that initial isolinux screens displayed by the PXE server haven't been updated to follow changes in Slackware 14.1's installer).

Still, you can try the installer in a PXE client and check displaying of characters and menu, but you'll not have access to the localized versions. That would need changes in Slint of which I'm not sure if they are worthwhile. I'd like to know how many users are aware of the work done by Eric and actually use it...

Quote:

although I have some remaining uncertainty about the use of the fonts and may need to rebuild the initrd to include them
The PXE server included in the installer uses the same initrd as in a regular installation, so all that is needed for localization is already included, provided you use the PXE server included in a Slint installer (not a genuine Slackware one), of course.

Quote:

I have done limited testing on only one system tonight and the character sets appear correct, but the font size is very large.
This is on purpose, to increase readability on HD screens. The font size is computed so that most of the screen's area be occupied by dialog boxes. So the bigger the screen, the bigger the font size. Do you think it's too big?

Quote:

I am not sure if that is due to the PXE environment, the machine or the Slint setup.
It should be due to the Slint setup (see above), unless FbTerm be unable to probe available VESA video modes.

Tip: After you're logged in as (fake) root, just type "ps at". Among others It will display the commands used to launch FbTerm on tty1. If you don't see the "-s <font size>" option in the command, that means that no usable VESA display resolution could be found among those listed in SeTFonts.txt. If that happens, please report all relevant details or you hardware, including maximum display resolution.

Quote:

Anyway thanks for the invitation - hope I can contribute a little bit!
Thanks in advance for your time.

Didier Spaier 03-28-2014 07:55 PM

I eventually built new polyglot installers (with ability to display ideographs) for Slackware 13.37 and Slackware 14.0 as well as Slackware 14.1 (32 and 64 bit). They are available in http://slint.fr/testing. That took some time as that needed to first install corresponding Slackware editions in 4 more virtual machine to build the FbTerm packages for these editions.

astrogeek 03-28-2014 09:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Didier Spaier (Post 5142814)
And rightly so.

Where? Not sure I understand what you mean. Thanks for participating.

The Transifex link from the slint.fr front page.

I see now that is more for the translators, not the testers.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Didier Spaier (Post 5142814)
Unfortunately the remote user won't see the same first screens as in a local installation, because that'd need adaptation of file /usr/lib/setup/SeTpxe inside installers' initrd, that I didn't make yet (furthermore, it seems that initial isolinux screens displayed by the PXE server haven't been updated to follow changes in Slackware 14.1's installer).

Still, you can try the installer in a PXE client and check displaying of characters and menu, but you'll not have access to the localized versions....

I am not using the default PXE installer (i.e., Eric's), I have adapted the isolinux.cfg, message.txt and f3.txt to work as the pxelinux.cfg/default message and options, so I see the initial screen options, and the localization options, but without the initial font seen by the USB installer.

I then boot with the slint kernels and initrd so that I see the localized selection after boot and in the setup dialogs.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Didier Spaier (Post 5142814)
That would need changes in Slint of which I'm not sure if they are worthwhile. I'd like to know how many users are aware of the work done by Eric and actually use it...

I use a PXE boot for most of my own installs. It has built on Eric's fine work (where I started with PXE), but my local PXE servers offer boot-time selection of different Slackware versions, GParted, memtest and a few other things. I have added the Slint to those selections, each using it's own initrd and kernnels, etc.

So the only thing, I think, that would be different is that I do not see the same font in the initial screen.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Didier Spaier (Post 5142814)
This is on purpose, to increase readability on HD screens. The font size is computed so that most of the screen's area be occupied by dialog boxes. So the bigger the screen, the bigger the font size. Do you think it's too big?

It does indeed fill the screen. My personal preference is for the default Slackware sizes, but that might adversely affect other character sets.

So let me just say that it was larger than I expected and it does indeed fill the screens I have seen it on so far. But that is not intended as a negative comment, only as something I had not expected. ;)

UPDATE: I recovered one of my USB sticks today and installed the slint installer (32 bit) to it.

I have only been successful in booting one of my machines from USB, unfortunately it fails with a black screen after the kernel loads, with or without the 'n' option. It is an Nvidia 6150SE graphics adapter and a 1368x768 flat panel screen.

My other main system claims to support USB legacy boot, but I have never been able to get it to work, which is one reason I rely on the PXE boot. USB-Floppy emulation is enabled, boot order is FDD, HDD,... and I can invoke the boot selector at boot which offers USB, HDD, CDROM and PXE... but it ignores the USB selection and proceeds to HDD. This one is 1280x800 and seems to work fine with the PXE and the other localized versions I have tried (French, Greek, Turkish and a couple of others.)

I have to interrupt the effort at this time, will try to do more over the weekend with the latest installers, and submit a more useful report.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Didier Spaier (Post 5142814)
Thanks in advance for your time.

You are welcome! I hope it will be useful to you and everyone downstream!

j_v 03-29-2014 08:55 PM

The 32 bit iso booted fine. The font rendering is exquisite. Everything seemed to work as expected, barring an actual install.
The 64 bit iso boots up to the isolinux prompt and an unresponsive usb keyboard. I've had a similar problem on this main board and modern kernels... there is a work around (a kernel command line param) and it works well for me. I'm not yet sure if this is a problem of the same nature, but I will try to look into it as time permits. On a chance that an actual cd might behave differently, I burnt the iso to cd: same result.

Edit:
I had noticed when I booted the cd, that there was a UEFI menu entry for the cd drive (as well as the standard cd drive entry) in my bios boot menu. So, I tried that and got a grub menu and a working keyboard. It booted fine from there. But, where as the fonts were a little bit large on the 32 bit install system booted on this machine, on 64 bit system they are huge. So big that the setup menu cannot display each entry on a single line.


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