Refreshing the Ubuntu Desktop Installer

Dan i am not sure but i think that installing ubuntu with zfs alongside windows on a single disk is generaly not recommended because ZFS likes to take over whole device and because there is certien performance hit if it doesnt. and windows cant be installed on ZFS because it doesnt support it.

Hi bigpod

I have successfully installed Arch Linux with ZFS root alongside Ubuntu (installed to ext4) onto a single disk (using ALEZ) so it is certainly possible.

GhostBSD’s installer also supposedly allows this for FreeBSD (dual booting with ZFS on a partition of a single disk) although I haven’t tested that yet.

I would go with a Qt based GUI :slight_smile: but flutter looks nice

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while yes it is certenl possible it is as far as i heard generaly not recommended.

well personaly i dont have opinion either way but because ubuntu mainline desktop is gtk based same with most of its flavours GTK would make more sense then qt.

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By using Flutter? It doesn’t even follow any GTK and GNOME HIG or style.

To me the new installer looks a lot like it’s following a design language of android shown here:
https://material.io/design
Rather then a design language of Ubuntu/GNOME as shown here:
https://developer.gnome.org/hig/stable/patterns.html.en

To my eyes it looks like those are distinctly different toolkits aimed at providing distinctly different experience. And while mixing them both would certainly work from a technical point, one thing you could not say is that they are visually consistent.

Quite the contrary they follow a very different design and UX approaches and that is simply because those are different toolkits for very different desktop environments. And since both have a clearly defined visual style and both are quite popular, users can immediately spot the difference. It actually hurts both design projects to mix them both as they have clear guidelines to ensure consistency and satisfactory user experience and mixing them with something different will degrade the user experience and quality of the overall product.

You can think about it like sweet and sour. I like vinegar and I like cake. Both are delicious in their own way. But nobody would ever put vinegar on their cake.

Now if flutter followed gnome hig, then you might say that it’s visually a good sweet and sour sauce. But it doesn’t, everything is different and the same colors does not make it consistent in any way.

You mean you’ll change the color scheme of a totally foreign toolkit and you think that makes it look consistent with the rest of the OS? It makes it stick out like a sore thumb. It totally still looks like an android app. Everything is different, the menus, the buttons, the ugly top bar etc…

Doesn’t Ubuntu use GTK? Using Flutter for something like this looks out of place. It doesn’t provide a consistent experience with the rest of Ubuntu.

Imagine Android, ChromeOS or Windows using GTK for their installer or initial setup.

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What if Google decides to dump Flutter a year later? Are we stuck with maintaining all three ( d-i, subiquity, and flutter) for extended time periods (LTS).

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I’m weary of adopting their technologies outside their own ecosystem. Look at what happened with Angular 1 and 2, Angular NativeScript, Google web designer, Google poly, Google Daydream… Even Dart was pretty much dead and then for whatever reason they decided to bring it back in Flutter.

Now one thing I will say is that Go will probably stay around for a long time.

Now I’d also be concerned about another thing. We don’t know what the US will do about their IT corporations but id be surprised if they don’t start breaking them up sooner or later. What would that mean for Flutter or any other project can’t be predicted. I tend to see GNOME and GTK as more future proof then anything Google can offer.

Another thing to consider is that Google is stuck on their material design and Flutter is fixed to it. And I don’t know how well material design has aged or will age in the future. With the bigger and bigger push away from it with trends like neumorphism and such I think that users and designers might slowly be tired of that same Material design that didn’t change much since Android Lolypop.

GNOME to me personally looks better. It’s not stuck with their design, they are always thinking, adapting, innovating and they constantly bring new improvements. On the other hand while they are doing that, Google is just selling us Flutter. They are guiding us into their ecosystem is what I mean by selling us Flutter. And if you thought Gnome might be difficult to deal with at times, try changing something in a project Flutter.

And while I may hate some of GNOME’s decisions, I’d be remiss not to say that they are doing a great work with their design and design progression.

In the end material design is a clear and unique element of a Google product, Google’s platforms and their ecosystem. Recognizable by everyone everywhere in the world. Material design is not a generic thing like it is portraying to be. It would hurt the Ubuntu brand to use it in their default apps.

Just like Apple and Windows don’t use it and just like Ubuntu doesn’t ship with any Qt apps and KDE neon doesn’t ship any GTK apps. So it hurts branding, visual consistency + ux and maintainability of the software.

Would be great if this incorporated an option to use systemd-boot. GRUB2 is so slow!

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Looks promising. I take it the Yaru theme for Flutter is still in development? Material Design looks a bit out of place for a system installer.

Prototypes showing off the localization, YES! Hopefully 2021 will be the year of seamless East Asian localization support :pray: :pray: :pray:

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Thanks, does this change fundamental things underneath? I hope that the EFI partition choice bug gets fixed one day https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ubiquity/+bug/1396379

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I too feel like flutter would be out of place.

No need to force it just to showcase it, GTK would be just better and more consistent

@Wimpress This is great news. Since the switch to Flutter might impact the flavo(u)rs and remixes out there, I have a few questions about ubuntu-desktop-installer (the new installer):

  • Will it allow custom theming for the distributions? (other than official flavo(u)rs, like remixes and derivatives like Linux Mint and non-Ubuntu-based distributions, as it will then be a viable cross-distribution alternative to Calamares)
  • Will it operate properly on QT desktops? (there are many UI glitches that occur when using applications that use the Flutter toolkit on QT desktops like KDE)
  • Will it allow custom slideshows? (as it is possible with Ubiquity)

While I understand using new tech is exciting and all I think flutter is not the right choice for this particular job. The installer does not need to be cross platform, the apps don’t look anything like the rest of the Ubuntu session and Google has a way of abandoning projects such as these. Is there any reason it can’t be done in GTK4?

I for one think Flutter is a great choice here. It will encourage other developers to use it to create Apps for Ubuntu given a very core part of the OS will be using it. Flutter as first-class citizen FTW!

Also I think people need a bit more practical when they say “Flutter is snap-only”. Snap, just like any other packaging format is an application delivery container. Flutter is open-source software. Anyone wanting to run a Flutter based app on their desktop can do so, with a little bit of effort.

I can see great things happening :slight_smile:

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Hello,
I am a Kabyle localizer, I am a contributor on the translation of Ubuntu into my native language wich is Kabyle on https://launchpad.net/ubuntu.
and I already see an error on the screen shot of the new installer, the native name of the Kabyle language is : “Taqbaylit” not “Tamaziɣt Taqbaylit”, please can someone tell me where to report this error? thank you.

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I don’t understand this move. Why not leveraging the work being done upstream in GTK4 (or even GTK3) for example? Flutter is still a baby in the Linux desktop scene, and it does not look as native as GTK4 or 3 under GNOME.

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Thanks for reporting this @slimaneamiri1. The list of languages comes from the subiquity project, would you mind filing a bug in Launchpad, and/or if you’re familiar with git and github submit a PR ?
Thanks!

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Note that Flutter uses GTK3 on the Linux desktop.

For the same reason that so many Electron apps exist: it’s easier for developers.

As a user, I really like GTK3/GNOME applications. They often look great, respond quickly and are really easy to understand. As a developer, however, I find it very hard to use. It has a steep learning curve and has all the issues of a niche project without strong commercial backing.

So what’s the alternative? Electron?

Flutter is a great compromise: it’s almost as easy to use as Electron, but it creates native binaries and has native integration with GTK. Given that Google pushes it so much, there is a high chance that many developers will know how to use it.

So, in the context of “we want more people developing apps for Linux”, I think this is a great decision. With such a core part of Ubuntu using Flutter, Canonical will be forced to make sure Flutter works great on Linux. This has the potential to get a lot more people contributing to Ubuntu and developing apps for Linux.

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