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Re: setup.exe : nice in theory, not-so-clever in practice!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joe" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2001 2:47 AM
Subject: setup.exe : nice in theory, not-so-clever in practice!

> Hi people,

Hi Joe.
    I'm writing this without reading the 200 odd other mesages still
queued in my inbox, so I'm probably going to cover ground already
covered in replies to you.... I'm not intending to repeat those message
though :].

> This feedback comes from a longtime Cygwin user, until recently using
> From the FAQ:
> >>Unlike previous net releases such as B20.1 and earlier, there is no
> monolithic
> >>"full" or "usertools" installation. Rather, you can pick and choose
> packages
> >>you wish to install, and update them individually.
> Sorry, I *want* a monolithic installer!!! We used to have one with
B19, and
> I would like it back! Please!  :)
> Now, I appreciate that a lot of work has gone into setup.exe, that
it's very
> cleverly done, and that it's new and interesting compared to "boring"
> traditional installers. But that doesn't stop it being a bad idea. I
> want to download a single installer, run it, and install.

Have you read the numerous discussions on this topic? It comes up every
month or two? You are welcome to make your own monolithic installer.

> Drawbacks of setup.exe:
> * Separate TCP/IP connections have to be established for each
component that
> is downloaded. The speed of a TCP/IP connection typically increases
> its lifetime. By using lots of shortlived connections rather than a
> long one, you throw away this benefit.

Use a local proxy server that supports http/1.1 and an http/1.1 http
proxy. You will use 2 simultaneous connections for the whole download,
with pipelined requests. You will get the same network efficiency as
downloading a monolithic install. (With the added benefit of partial
download recoverability (only missing files need downloading) in the
event of a network failure.

> * If network problems occur during the installation, you have a
> semi-complete installation.

Download to disk first, and then install.

> * If at a subsequent time you wish to reinstall the same version of
> the means of doing this is far from clear.

Simply run setup.exe again and specify the same local archive directory.
Setup effectively mirrors the mirror, letting you install or uninstall
any of the version stamped installs for each package.

> People use "monolithic" installers for a reason. They're atomic (i.e.
> single file), easy to move from one place to another on your file
> easy to manage, and easy to understand.  I do believe the phrase "too
> by half" applies to your installer!!!

Well that's a nice concept. On the down side Cygwin is composed of over
30 separate applications all with different release cycles and
inter-application dependencies. This means you would either need a very
long overall release cycle (wait for everything to be crosstested before
each upgrade) or a very short release cycle (ie weekly releases of ~
30Mb of binary data, 90% of which is identical to the last release).

> By all means keep the new system, but *please* could you reinstate the
> option of a monolithic installer too???

Uhmm, it's not my call, but if it was my answer would be no.
a) Bandwidth: the new installer is much more effective, and bandwidth
does cost someone. I prefer to see Cygwin advertising free...
b) User friendlyness: I customise my environment quite heavily. I really
_hated_ the side effect of running the monolithic installer because each
time I had to tidy my install up.
c) of the points you make above (1:TCP/IP network efficiency, 2:network
problems, 3:reinstalls, 4:atomic installs), 1 & 2 are not problems per
se,  just potential problems that strongly depend on the use made of the
installer. In fact for 2 the new setup is much better at handling bad
network connections that most ISP's proxies which will happily
redownload the entire 30Mb monolithic install. For point 3, it's a user
interface problem: Perhaps you can suggest how it should look, or some
way to indicate the procedure for reinstalls? And for point 4 I plain
disagree with you.

> Please take these comments in the spirit of constructive criticism!
> Thanks,
> Joe

Taken as such, please take my response as that of another user, albiet
one on a modem connection :}


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