Go back to single filesystem.squashfs for calamares and ubiquity

As of ubuntu mate 24.04 ubuntu uses subiquity installer with its not yet stable and not working snap based flutter frontend. The current splitted squashfs will not work with other installers such as calamares or ubiquity and iuntroduce multiple loop devices that are not really necessary. Also /dev is not mountet on the system the user binaries are stored. Crazy design choice. Ubuntu mate is not apple or android.

Calamares is very more stable than the current snap solution and 24.04 is a lts release. It can´t install the boot loader but does configure the rest , at least it writes the data to correct poartitons and is easy scriptable. Once a user has a low ram device or more than one /dev/sda for user mate. The current installation method will lead to segfaults.

Even regarding the small amount of time 24.04 is out there is a noticeable feedback on some sites regarding how faulty the current installer is. The overhead of providing calamares as a qt application is relatively small in contrast of the imapct of the current buggy snap bootstrap installer.

The ubuntu-desktop-installer was the default installer for Ubuntu 23.04 & 23.10. It was called the canary installer for releases prior to that (which was when it was deemed as unstable).

Ubuntu-MATE like most flavors opted to keep using ubiquity for both 23.04 & 23.10; with only Ubuntu Budgie opting to use both ubuntu-desktop-installer and ubiquity for the 23.10 release.

I'm afraid I don't see that as valid; sure there are things I do like about calamares, but there are also many benefits with using the ubuntu-desktop-installer.

Yes I'm very aware of issue(s) with ubuntu-desktop-installer that were discovered in QA too late for them to be fixed pre-release; however being a snap package, allows the installer to fix itself when a 24.04 ISO is being used to install and internet is available (providing the user allows update). This allows issues to be fixed without re-spinning ISOs (ie. people don't have to wait until August when 24.04.1 is released) far easier than if it was calamares!

If you had issues, the time to raise them was during the 23.04 & 23.10 cycle; when ubiquity was still supported. That installer is no longer supported in amd64, with only one part of it still used for some ARM devices.

Ubuntu up to 20.04 was more consistent in regards the structure of the ISO for a specific architecture; however there were differences between architectures for a given a release. That difference between architectures is now history, with the ISOs now the same regardless of architecture by intention (for a given release), however that does mean there can be changes between ISOs of one release when compared with other releases. I wonder if you're being tripped up by some of these differences between releases.

I don't know what you consider a 'low ram device', but personally I see 4GB as a low RAM device these days, and I don't recall any problems installing in 4GB of RAM.

(I did use lower RAM systems for some limited QA, but I can't recall doing install testing on <4GB RAM)


Yes I'm talking about Ubuntu here more than Ubuntu-MATE, but we're all the one large family really. Personally I'm not a Ubuntu-MATE team member, but I am a Lubuntu team member (and we use calamares), and I see nothing wrong with the use of ubuntu-desktop-installer.

3 Likes

Inside unpackfs.conf of calamares loading the lubuntu config and change the code to the following:

---
unpack:
    -   source: "/cdrom/casper/minimal.squashfs"
        sourcefs: "squashfs"
        destination: ""
    -   source: "/cdrom/casper/minimal.standard.squashfs"
        sourcefs: "squashfs"
        destination: ""
    -   source: "/cdrom/casper/minimal.standard.live.squashfs"
        sourcefs: "squashfs"
        destination: ""

However after that i did need to chroot install the bootloader, remove casper and rebuild initramfs. So its still technically possible to avoid the current installer. With a bit of config file changes calamares can be an alternatigve installer for ubutnu mate.