Mark Shuttleworth Talks Of New Ubuntu Installer Ideas With HTML5/Electron & Snaps

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 8 May 2018 at 07:56 AM EDT. 34 Comments
Mark Shuttleworth has publicly expressed some ideas for a next-generation Ubuntu desktop installer.

While Ubuntu Server 18.04 has a brand new installer, the Ubuntu "Ubiquity" installer hasn't changed all that much over the past decade. We've seen changes here and there from the once-working Windows data importer feature to taking a web camera picture for your account, but for the most part Ubiquity has been kept the same since it was first introduced as part of the Ubuntu LiveCD/USB experience. It looks though like Canonical may begin working on a next-generation installer.

Mark Shuttleworth has initiated a conversation about "Ubiquity NG" (next-generation Ubiquity). Among his ideas expressed:

- There is now the Curtin bare-bones installer. Curtin in its current form is "blunt, brief, snappish, snippety and unceremonious." Curtin is used by the new Subiquity server installer as well as the MAAS (Metal As A Service) Canonical platform.

- The MAAS platform offers nice HTML interfaces for configuring network/storage. From the existing MAAS interfaces, they could build an HTML5 installer.

- Electron is now present as the HTML5 application framework. While Electron is quite controversial among users for it being slow and memory hungry, Mark refers to it as "used by world class app developers. Skype, Spotify and a ton of GREAT apps on Ubuntu are Electron apps."

- Snaps are "just amazingly tasty ways to get the latest bits in the hands of your community."

What he is basically getting at is for a new desktop Ubuntu installer with an Electron-powered HTML5 installer re-using existing Curtin/MAAS components and also leveraging Snaps as their preferred app delivery technology. It will be interesting to see where this leads.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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