Fedora 37 Hopes To Have A Preview Of The New Web-Based Install UI

Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 16 July 2022 at 06:19 AM EDT. 38 Comments
The existing GTK-based Anaconda installer is to remain the default installation experience for Fedora 37 this autumn but a change proposal has been filed with hopes of having a public preview image for Anaconda's next-gen web-based interface for installations.

It was announced earlier this year that Red Hat has been working toward a web-based UI for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux / Fedora "Anaconda" installer. This will eventually replace the existing GTK-based Anaconda installer interface with the intention of the new UI to be more modern and refreshed. The Web UI also builds atop Red Hat's Cockpit project for good integration and may also help with remote install use-cases and the like thanks to being browser-based.

The Anaconda web UI is being built using the PatternFly open-source design system and leveraging Cockpit. For Fedora 37 the plan is to offer a public release of a preview install image featuring this new Anaconda Web UI with remote and local access. The install image would also be updated as the install UI matures, "We aim to have the image available for download just after the F37 release (so that the tar-payload can contain final F37 release content) and then updated automatically in regular intervals. That way the rather active Web UI development of the Web UI will be reflected in the up-to-date installation image, as well as any feedback and community PRs."

A look at the Anaconda Web UI as of May from the upstream project.

As for the benefits of the Anaconda Web UI it's talked up as:
The screen layout is based on latest UX design guidelines as well as usability testing of the new interface and extensive mockup work.

There are improvements in developer experience as well due to the more modern & more mainstream UI technology chosen and powerful Cockpit test tooling (rich unit-test as well as pixel-test framework). The stateless property of the Web UI allows almost live-coding style of UI development. This should make it easier to work on the Anaconda Web UI for not only the Anaconda team, addon developer but also for any interested contributors.

Remote Web UI access should also provide a much better experience than the slow and inefficient VNC based remote GUI installation support Anaconda has today. Due to no need for local rendering remotely driven GUI installations on a constrained hardware with minimal installation images should become possible.

The Fedora change proposal still needs to be formally approved by the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) but considering this change request is about just offering a preview image for a feature being worked on by Red Hat engineers, it's a likely safe bet that this will indeed all come together for Fedora 37. It's not yet clear when they will be ready to transition to this new Anaconda UI by default for new Fedora installations, but the UI itself remains very much under active development.
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