Trying Out The New Installer Of Ubuntu Server

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 21 April 2017 at 05:49 PM EDT. 16 Comments
Ubuntu developers today have announced a "tech preview" of their new text-based installer for Ubuntu Server.

Earlier this month we heard of a new Ubuntu Server installer being worked on and it was dubbed Subiquity. Now that the 17.04 release has cleared and 17.10 development begun, the new installer was announced as a tech preview for Ubuntu Server 17.04.

Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre announced, "During the 17.04 development cycle, the Ubuntu Foundations team has been working on a new experimental installer for servers. We are now ready to get feedback from a wider audience."

As that announcement didn't have many details about this new installer, I was excited to try it out myself. I tried it on a Xeon E3 v5 Skylake system with AMD Radeon graphics.

Pardon the picture quality as just used my Samsung S7 for taking the pictures quickly on a Friday afternoon... But for this picture, the text won't make sense anyhow. The output was completely borked with the RX 470 graphics when using the AMDGPU driver with this Subiquity installer...

So I restarted the USB tech preview installer with "nomodeset" and fortunately that was able to work around the problem. Rather than blue with the Debian Installer, this new Ubuntu Server Installer is largely black and white.

The installer so far is very, very simple. But keep in mind it's a work-in-progress and isn't yet implemented for all Ubuntu Server use-cases.

It's pretty clean and easy, but so far haven't uncovered any standout feature to make it notably better than the traditional text-based Debian Installer.

My efforts were cut a bit short though as when it came to selecting the disk for the installation, Subiquity didn't see my NVMe solid-state drive. Either the installer has no NVMe drive support yet or there is some other bug. But anyhow, at least you have a quick idea for this new installer so far. The UI isn't anything special but I would imagine they decided to start working on this new installer for a modern, Ubuntu-catered code-base and presumably for beginning Snappy integration and other modernization efforts to better fit the different Ubuntu Server use-cases. We'll see how this Ubuntu Server Installer develops over the 17.10 cycle and if they make it the default ahead of Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS.
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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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