elementary OS creates a brand new installer in collaboration with System76

In a recent blog post, Mr Daniel Fore, the founding member at elementary OS has shared the details on a brand new installer in collaboration with System76, a popular hardware vendor shipping GNU/Linux based laptops. For this installer, elementary team will be working on front end, while System76 will be working on back end.
A screen of proposed elementary OS installer

What is need for a new installer?

Traditionally, elementary OS and Pop!_OS are shipping Ubiquity, the Ubuntu installer, for installing the system. It is turned out that, Ubiquity has become bloated with a lot of code and functionalities and also, it requires significant effort to maintain a custom version to meet the requirement of different distributions.

The purpose of the proposed installer is to provide a simple, straightforward and easily customizable system that dumps the operating system to the disk in an efficient way. It will improve the user experience in both OS perspective and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) perspective.

What are the plans for proposed installer & how much is achieved so far?

In order to make the proposed installer a reality, elementary OS team will be working in collaboration with the System76. The elementary OS team will be working on the front end and the System76 will be working on the back end of the installer.

The initial idea for front end was to rewrite existing Ubiquity UI using Vala, by following elementary HIG principles. However, it was difficult due to the complexity of existing code written in python. It requires a lot of effort to make even a slight change in the UI. The System76 has also wanted to ship some brand information on installer without many changes.

Initially, the team has removed some unnecessary screens from the installer, like network configuration as it is not the primary goal. Later, the elementary team has worked continuously on specifications and designs and has finally agreed with System76 on the design. The team has started writing non-functional bits of UI on Gtk+ and Vala.

Before starting work on the back end, the team has analyzed various existing installers like Ubiquity, Anaconda, Calamares, ..etc to use it with the redesigned front end. Finally, the team has arrived at a conclusion that, existing installers are simply over functional, outdated or complicated. Hence, both teams agreed on building a very simple, open source, purpose-made installer library that just worked to get an OS onto a drive as quickly and simply as possible. This idea was implemented with a title distinst. This library lets users to dump the OS onto a drive extremely quickly and reports the relevant data back to the front-end. to the front-end.

When can we expect the brand new installer?

The System76 is planning to include the new installer as part of the upcoming Pop!_OS 18.04 release in April. While the elementary OS prefers to include the installer in upcoming Juno release if it is ready and mature enough. If the plan does n't go well elementary 5.0 Juno will also include Ubiquity as the default installer.

For further details on proposed elementary OS installer, read the official blog post published in elementary blogs.

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