Ubuntu's Work On New Desktop Installer Continues, Evaluating ZFS Desktop Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 5 February 2019 at 06:35 AM EST. 10 Comments
UBUNTU --
A few things in Ubuntu's latest weekly development summary caught our attention... As has been going on for months, a new Ubuntu installer "Ubiquity-NG" continues to be worked on, but seemingly tying into that they are looking at ZFS support on the desktop.

Public details are light, but it looks like Canonical is evaluating the means of better supporting ZFS on the desktop. ZoL packages are available for all Ubuntu editions right now, but not any nice/easy-to-use desktop installer integration at the moment.

Didier Roche commented that he "Looked at zfs on the desktop (ongoing)." Jean Baptiste Lallement also mentioned looking at ZFS on the desktop. This certainly caught our eye. Ubuntu has already been shipping ZFS On Linux (ZoL) packages and supporting it even for root installations on the server front as in recent years they have worked on making ZFS a standard offering of Ubuntu. From the desktop perspective, presumably offering the support through their GUI installer in an easy-to-use manner, but we'll see where they plan on taking the ZFS support for the Ubuntu desktop moving forward.

It's certainly interesting that Ubuntu remains one of the only tier-one Linux distributions really committed to officially supporting ZFS On Linux with most others avoiding it due to its license / lack of mainline kernel support. SUSE/openSUSE meanwhile remains committed to Btrfs while Red Hat continues working on their Stratis storage technology and others seemingly content with EXT4 until a more dominant Linux storage solution is made clear. With the upcoming ZoL 0.8 release, it's bringing many new features in making it quite an exciting update for ZFS file-system on Linux.

Related, Didier continues to be one of the developers working on bringing up their next-generation GUI installer that has been talked about over the past year but not yet ready for prime-time. Work on this new desktop installer continues, presumably with a goal of having it ready by Ubuntu 20.04 LTS in which case it really would need to be in suitable standing by Ubuntu 19.10 for widespread testing.

Some of Canonical's other happenings on the desktop side over the past week include:

- Daniel Van Vugt and others continue working on notable upstream GNOME performance improvements and taking care of other X11/Wayland issues ahead of GNOME 3.32 due out next month.

- Continued work around improving the Ubuntu kernel live-patch support on the desktop and UI integration.

- Preparing LibreOffice 6.2 for Ubuntu 19.04.

- A GNOME Snapcraft extension looks like it's almost ready for merging.

- New Snaps around various GNOME programs like Epiphany/Web, GNOME Hitori, various GNOME games, and more.

More details via this Ubuntu community thread.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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