The installer actually does a very good job at congifuring stuff. In fact what is an installer if not a configurer? I've gone through the Arch installation process and the more than half of it was configuring the new system. The current installer main menu looks like this:
Only Source, BootLoader, Partition, Filesystems, and Install are specifically related to installation. RootPassword and Hostname are more sysadmin-y. Everything else, namely everything above BootLoader except for RootPassword and Source, is something user would normally want to configure in their system.
I propose a boot-configure-install process to replace the installer.
The boot part is not obvious since Windows has changed how the computer is booted. A tutorial on how to get the computer to boot from a different disk on Windows and Mac is necessary.
The configuration part, i.e., Keyboard, Network, Locale, Timezone, and UserAccount, should be delegated to a manual teaching people how to configure them in the live image. If the image is a server version then those would be commandline stuff, but if the image is a GUI version then those should be in GUI as much as possible. GUI part is probably Desktop Environment specific. Making the installer pick up these configurations automatically shouldn't be too hard.
The sysadmin part, i.e., RootPassword and Hostname, should have a sane default so that user don't need to worry about them. Ubuntu disables root login altogether by default, probably with
passwd -l root. Mac defaults the hostname to
<Username>s-Macbook-<Pro|Air>. I think we can take those ideas, disabling root login by default and defaulting the hostname to
The installation part ideally should also be a default game, one click and wait. but it is harder than the system admin part to come up with a good one for, especially considering it is hardware-specific, with UEFI vs BIOS and GPT vs MBR. The issue actually starts before booting, when preparing the installation medium. Since defaulting this part probably involves some hardware detection magic I am not familiar with I prefer leaving it intact for now.
What do you think? What would you like to change about the installation process?