Future Plans For Changing Fedora's Installer

Written by Eric Griffith in Fedora on 29 May 2015 at 11:24 AM EDT. 10 Comments
Over the last couple weeks there has been an "Anaconda Wishlist" thread occurring on Fedora's desktop mailing list. The thread, and the associated Workstation Working Group meeting, are directed at the future of the Fedora Anaconda Installer.

Michael Catanzaro, of GNOME, recently summarized the current thoughts here. Before getting too excited or disappointed, note that these changes only affect the Workstation (a.k.a. Gnome) version of Fedora. These changes do not directly affect KDE, XFCE, or LXQT Spins. Any changes affecting those spins would be vetted by their respective Working Groups.

Targeted for Fedora 24, and still subject to change, the current thoughts are to remove the Timezone selection spoke from either Anaconda or Gnome Initial Setup. Currently this option is needlessly presented twice and one of them is expected to be removed, though which is still up for debate.

Currently the Fedora installer, after handling disk partitioning, prompts the user for both a root password and a standard user creation. Technically only one of those conditions has to be met-- setting a root password OR creating a non-root user, but that is very poorly communicated to the user. The current idea is to remove the "Set root password" configuration, as advanced users can set it themselves post-install via sudo passwd root.

Additionally there are thoughts to remove the User account creation as well since Gnome Initial Setup prompts for User Account Creation anyway.

There are thoughts to remove the Network Configuration spoke of the installer. Currently the Network Configuration spoke only allows you to set a hostname, thus limiting its effectiveness. Additionally, it doesn't follow the "Pretty Names" hostname standard supported by systemd-hostnamed which allows apostrophes, spaces, capital letters, etc to be used in hostnames. If the spoke is kept then it will be updated to allow "Pretty Names." Additionally, to clarify and simplify terminology, if the spoke is kept the term "hostname" will be changed to the more generic “Computer Name”, much the same way as it is under Windows and OS X.

There are many requests for the Installation Destination and Partitioning spokes to be redesigned and simplified. Currently there are no concrete plans or designs, but the working group is aware it is a called for feature.

A Look Back: The old installer of Fedora Core 6.

Finally, perhaps the biggest change, there is a call for Anaconda to drop the 'hub and spoke' design entirely and go back to the straight forward 'step 1, step 2, step 3,' installation design that the previous incarnation of Anaconda used, as well as is used by Ubuntu's Ubiquity installer. One of the main draws of Anaconda's hub and spoke design was the fact that Spins and products could add or remove spokes as needed. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, that never got any use and every spin / product all ship the same installer, thus negating that advantage.

Again, all of these modifications are subject to change and are still being debated and talked about. It will be interesting to see how things play out. Stay tuned to Phoronix for future updates on the plans brewing for Fedora 23, Fedora 24, and beyond!
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