Server installer plans for 20.04 LTS

With 20.04 LTS, we will be completing the transition to the live server installer and discontinuing the classic server installer based on debian-installer (d-i), allowing us to focus our engineering efforts on a single codebase. The next-generation subiquity server installer brings the comfortable live session and speedy install of Ubuntu Desktop to server users.

If you have use cases for which you rely on d-i and that are not addressed by subiquity today, please let us know, by early January, what those are so we can incorporate that feedback into our plans for the 20.04 LTS development cycle.

The set of features we have committed to complete for 20.04 LTS in April are:

  • Implement the autoinstall specification as previously discussed
  • Guided resilient install option
  • Enable SSH into an installer session
  • Support vtoc partition tables as used by DASD disks on s390x

We will announce new versions of subiquity to discourse as they land in the stable channel.

If you are an Ubuntu Server user and you have not tried the live server installer lately, check it out! You can get the latest version by trying the daily Focal Fossa version or by downloading a released version and updating to the latest version of the installer when asked.

Features that have landed since the initial 18.04 LTS release include:

  • Advanced storage support with RAID and LVM, including encrypted LVM
  • Support for offline installs
  • Configuration of network bonds and VLANs
  • Support for arm64, ppc64el, and s390x architectures
  • Reuse of existing partitions, retaining their data
  • Switch to a shell for debugging purposes
  • The ability for the installer to self-update (to get fixes since the media was created)
  • Installation of latest updates during the install
  • Netboot support
  • Integrated error reporting

We have identified certain features of d-i that we have concluded are not requirements to implement in the live server installer prior to obsoleting d-i-based installation:

  • A dedicated recovery mode as the debug shell feature can be used instead
  • OEM config
  • Support for mounting iSCSI volumes

I have a LAN router with no graphics (PC Engines APU series) which requires a text installer capable of being used over an RS-232 line. Will I still be able to install Ubuntu on this somehow (e.g. boot.img.gz or mini.iso)?

Your use case is discussed here:

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Thanks. That looks interesting.

I’ve marked myself as affected, and subscribed.

I’m looking forward to more localization (CJKV and others) support.

debian-installer has achieved by bterm and unifont (subset font for installer?).

The Live installer creates a /boot partition when using the automatic LVM option whereas the debian installer just creates /boot within the root LV

Does the software raid install path correctly configure both halves of a mirror to be bootable in the event of a faulted raid? I never understood what exactly was missing but I’ve heard several times that our software raid configuration doesn’t allow booting from the second drive.


This is currently a known deficit that is on the roadmap for fixing in 20.04 (what’s referred to as “guided resilient install”).

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1. Please definitely include the possibility to see in the installer previously created LUKS containers, and independently from LUKS (or sometime created under LUKS) LVM groups

With the possibility to first open them either via installer gui, or at least in a terminal next to Alt+F2 (this way was possible in the alternative old installer… hmm at least in expert mode, or sth like that).

2. Also please allow to create LUKS containers, and independently from LUKS (or sometime manually chosen under LUKS) LVM groups under any other cotainer (be it a partition, whole disk, LUKS container, LVM volume - RAID storage, these are the most important, and perhaps also or anything you can think of).

So this would mean e.g. LUKS within LUKS, or partition -> LVM group -> LVM volume -> LUKS -> something.

This is very important because sometimes you want to create something under something to achieve important server goals (e.g. custom storage layout or security - even simple things creating LUKS volume with custom options like cipher etc, or many other reasons). And without support for that in the installer you cannot install Ubuntu! For now we have the alternative installer and can do it (just done it a few minutes ago in 18.04.3 Server alternate installer - created custom LUKS and LVM volumes manually in the shell and then opened/activated these volumes and the installer sees them and installed Ubuntu Server the way I wanted to)

And if majority of the users could be confused by this container within container placement, then you can add an “expert” option or something like that.

Alas, it’s too late now, but I’d also like ZFS on root in the installer.

I had just assumed that was going to be a feature, so I didn’t think to mention it here.