Re: BUG #2842: Installation procedure

From: Magnus Hagander <magnus(at)hagander(dot)net>
To: Kevin Macdonald <kevin(dot)macdonald(at)pentura(dot)ca>
Cc: pgsql-bugs(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: BUG #2842: Installation procedure
Date: 2006-12-19 22:28:05
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Kevin Macdonald wrote:
> The following bug has been logged online:
> Bug reference: 2842
> Logged by: Kevin Macdonald
> Email address: kevin(dot)macdonald(at)pentura(dot)ca
> PostgreSQL version: 8.2
> Operating system: Windows XP
> Description: Installation procedure
> Details:
> Hello,
> I downloaded and extracted the three files. As per
> the README.TXT file, I consulted the web page
> for instructions on how to get
> started -- there was nothing! (Please review this web page if you don't
> believe me -- it doesn't tell you how to begin an installation.)

Hm. You're basically saying you want the "click the MSI file to start
the installation" step there? It's certainly a point that it could help
to have it there, but really - double-clicking a MSI file is a pretty
darn standard way to start a setup, isn't it?
That said, I'll look at adding this step to both the webpage and the README.

> At this point, you have possibly lost 50% of your audience who by now have
> buggered back to mysql.

You are obviously kidding here, right? Are you saying that 50% of the
windows admins out there don't know what MSI is? Or that they're not
smart enough to figure out that to install PostgreSQL 8.2 it might be a
good idea to click on the file name postgresql-8.2?

> So, I took a guess and clicked on the largest .MSI file,
> postgresql-8.2-int.msi and received this error
> "Please use the main MSI file to install PostgreSQL".

Why did you not click on the one called postgresql-8.2? It's a serious
question, what made you chose "the largest MSI file" instead of "the one
with the obvious name"?

> What is the "main MSI file"?
> Could you have said "Please use postgresql-8.2.msi" instead ?

That's definitly a good idea, and something I'll look at getting into
the next release.

> I then clicked "OK" and received this message
> "Installation ended prematurely because of an error".
> This is meaningless.

This error message is reported by Windows Installer and written in
Redmond. You got the detailed error message from our installer just
before that - use the other MSI file.

> You now lost another 30% of your audience to mysql.

Again, I don't buy this for one second. If, as you say, 80% of the
people don't figure out to click "postgresql-8.2" to install "postgresql
8.2", how did they manage to download it? Or how will they manage to
type a single SQL command, in whatever database they happen to install?

> My background for the past 20 years is Oracle (from 7.3.4 to 10g), and I
> have never seen such misleading and incomplete installation instructions as
> what you have released.

Obviously you've never worked with Windows before, or you would know how
a Windows setup program works.
For comparison, IIRC to install for example SQL Server 2000, you run
"setup\i386\setup". I claim that ours is a lot easier than that.

(Oh and don't get me started on Oracle installers... Been there, done
that, certainly don't want to have *that* experience again)

> I have successfully installed Postgresql on Linux without fail.

installing PostgreSQL on linux can be both easier and harder than on
Windows, in my experience. Depending on if you do binary or source and
what distribution you use.
If you want to say move your data directory to a different place, the
MSI installer certainly makes it a lot easier than any of the
pre-packaged binaries for Linux I've ever seen. But if you just want
plain standard-default-everything, something like "apt-get install
postgresql" is certainly slightly easier.

> Perhaps some usability testing prior to your next release would help.

Certainly. Do you have any resources from a usability testing lab to offer?

If not, I will attempt to adjust the few actual points that you do have
in this email, and leave the rest to all the people who claim our
install is a lot easier than most other databases.


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