The wait if finally over, and Ubuntu’s new graphical installer for the desktop is now available for public testing. The installer is written in Google’s Flutter software development kit (SDK) and promises a more modern installation experience.
In early March, I took a first look at the Ubuntu’s new Desktop Installer as Canonical provided web-based designs of the new installer ahead of its initial release as part of the Ubuntu installation images, but now the installer written in Flutter is finally available for public testing in the latest daily build images of Ubuntu 21.10.
The biggest changes in Ubuntu’s new Desktop Installer, besides the modern design that applies to all of the installer’s pages, is a brand-new “Try or Install” page that includes a “Repair Installation” option to help you repair a broken Ubuntu system, the ability to turn off Intel RST (Rapid Storage Technology) if you’re installing Ubuntu alongside Windows, a new page to allocate disk space, and a new page to choose between Light and Dark themes.
Canonical initially planned more features for the new Ubuntu Desktop Installer, but, for now, they provide a basic version that can only perform a normal or minimal install, without the ability to configure advanced options like encryption or Active Directory authentication. Also, the “Time Zone” selection page appears to be missing for now, as well as the traditional installer slideshow.
As mentioned before, the new Ubuntu Desktop Installer will be available as a technical preview in the upcoming Ubuntu 21.10 (Impish Indri) release later this year, and will offer limited features. The installer is set to fully replace the current Ubiquity Installer next year as part of the Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release, if everything goes according to plan.
Until then, if you want to take Ubuntu’s new Desktop Installer for a test drive on your personal computer to help Canonical make it better by sending feedback, you can download the Canary daily build images of Ubuntu 21.10 (Impish Indri) from here. Please keep in mind though that there are still bugs in the installer, so it may not work as intended, since it’s still in heavy development.
Ubuntu 21.10 (Impish Indri) will see the light of day on October 14th, 2021, and it will be the first Ubuntu release to ship with the latest GNOME 41 desktop environment series and its brand-new Activities Overview design, as well as all the latest GNU/Linux technologies and software versions, including the upcoming Linux 5.14 kernel, GCC 11, and LLVM 13 as default. Ubuntu 21.10 will use the current Ubiquity Installer as default installer!
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