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First Look at Ubuntu’s New Desktop Installer

Ubuntu's Desktop Installer

Today, Canonical’s Ubuntu Desktop team announced that Ubuntu’s upcoming new Desktop Installer is now available for public testing, so I wanted to give you a first look at the new design and features.

Initially unveiled last month, the new Ubuntu Installer for the Ubuntu Desktop flavor will have a more modern design that leverages Google’s Flutter UI SDK, which Canonical announced last week that will be their default choice for building future Ubuntu apps.

At that point in time, only a screenshot was shown of the new Ubuntu Installer, teasing us with a whole new look of the “Try or Install” page, which also featured a “Repair Installation” option that isn’t available in the current Ubiquity installer.

Now, Ubuntu developer Sebastien Bacher is giving us a first look at the new design of Ubuntu’s upcoming new Desktop Installer, in the form of a web-based pages where you can change the fonts, colors, buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons, and text fields.

Apart from the fact that it will feature a more modern design written using the Flutter UI framework, the upcoming Ubuntu Desktop Installer won’t differ much from the current Ubiquity Installer in terms of how the installation steps are presented to the user.

The new Ubuntu Install will start with a “Welcome” page where you can select the language to be used during the entire installation process, same as with the current installer. Then, you’ll see the “Try or Install” page, which includes the new “Repair Installation” option to help you repair a broken Ubuntu system.

Then, depending on if you’re installing Ubuntu alongside Windows, you’ll be promoted to turn off Intel RST (Rapid Storage Technology) in Windows before attempting to install Ubuntu. At this point, you’ll have to reboot the computer.

Ubuntu's Desktop Installer

If that’s not the case, you’ll see the “Keyboard layout” page where you can choose your preferred keyboard layout and test it, same as in the current installer. A new page has been introduced at this point in the installation process after choosing the keyboard layout, “Connect to Internet” in case you need to install extra software or to help you choose your time zone. Of course, this step is optional.

The “Updates and other software” page is unchanged with the exception that the “Download updates while installing Ubuntu” option does not appear to be available in the new installer at this time. If you choose to install third-party software, you’ll be prompted by another new page that helps you turn off Secure Boot.

Then, the “Installation type” page is, again, unchanged. The page that lets you choose a security key if you want to encrypt your Ubuntu installation is there too, along with a new page called ‘Turn off BitLocker” to let you turn off the Windows BitLocker encryption if you’re installing Ubuntu alongside Windows, otherwise an encrypted Ubuntu installation cannot be achieved.

If you choose the “Something else” option in the “Installation type” page, you’ll be pleased to see a brand new “Allocate disk space” page where you have full control over your disk drive, to configuring disk space, file system to be used, as well as where to install the bootloader and set up Swap space. You’ll even see your exiting Windows partition if you choose to install Ubuntu alongside Windows.

Ubuntu's Desktop Installer

Once you finish all these, you’ll see the new, more detailed “Write changes to disk” page, which in the current installer is available as a pop-up dialog.

Ubuntu's Desktop Installer

When the installation starts, you’ll see the same “Where are you?” and “Who are you?” pages where you can select your current location and pick a username. At this point, the “Active Directory” login appears to have been moved to a separate and optional page.

During the installation process, you’ll see the same installation slides that are customized in every Ubuntu release, and, when the installation is complete, you’ll see a whole new “Installation complete” page that features both reboot and showdown options. The option to continue using the live session appears to be no more.

That’s it! At this time, Ubuntu’s new Desktop Installer is only available on paper, as sketches, for those interested in contributing to the new design and features. If you have something to report, you can do it on the dedicated GitHub page.

Canonical plans to implement the new Ubuntu Desktop Installer as a technical preview in the Ubuntu 21.10 release later this year, and as a full replacement for the current Ubiquity Installer starting with next year’s LTS release, Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

Last updated 2 weeks ago