Possibility of accepting a network-based installer of Ubuntu as an official flavor?

Lukasz Zemczak lukasz.zemczak at canonical.com
Fri Feb 24 08:55:05 UTC 2023

Hey Aaron!

Actually, this is the one thing that sucks when we don't publish our
team's roadmaps to the public (which I'm trying our team to start
doing, but it's so busy recently that we didn't manage to yet): there
is work ongoing on something like this - and actually this cycle!

The MPs for that are still in flight, but Dan Bungert, the maintainer
of subiquity, is working on a project called ubuntu-mini-iso. We
already had a prototype done and tested, but now we're trying to land
all of that to be built by the official infrastructure. The idea is a
bit similar to what you described, but with a small difference on how
the system-to-install is being downloaded for installation.

The ubuntu-mini-iso is a small bootable iso that can be either
downloaded and used on a CD/USB-drive or even via UEFI HTTP that
brings up a dynamic TUI menu of what Ubuntu images you want to
download/install to your target system. It uses simplestreams to
select which images, so it'll be quite customizable regarding the
selection. The difference is that it then downloads the
iso-of-interest into memory and chain-boots into it, allowing the
installation of any image as one would normally do. This has some
limitations of course, since it needs sufficiently enough RAM.

I'm pretty sure Dan can give more details about this when he's up and
running. We expect this to be part of lunar in the next weeks.


On Fri, 24 Feb 2023 at 04:54, Aaron Rainbolt <arraybolt3 at ubuntu.com> wrote:
> Note, I'm asking this *very* early. I don't have the project I have in
> mind even started yet. I'm not even sure what I want to name this
> project. This is more of a "testing the waters" to see if this kind of
> thing is even a possibility before getting started.
> I've seen more than one person annoyed by the fact that the mini.iso
> netinstaller is no more. It was never officially supported anyway, but
> apparently people got use out of it, so it seems like something that
> would be handy if it still existed. I'm sure we're not going to start
> producing it again, so I got the idea of making something that could act
> somewhat similar to it. I asked people about this idea on Mastodon and
> the response seemed fairly positive.
> My idea is to either write my own installer or use a customized version
> of the existing Debian installer, and package it into a "flavor" of its
> own, which would be capable of installing any supported version of any
> official flavor of Ubuntu. The "flavor" would be able to be held in a
> very small ISO file (preferably CD sized), and it would download and
> install all of the packages that make up the Ubuntu system at runtime.
> This would allow a user to install Ubuntu or any desired flavor thereof
> using a single installation medium, rather than having to flash an ISO
> every time they want to make a drive install a different flavor. The new
> installation would be entirely up-to-date from the get-go, and it would
> enable the use of existing small storage media for those users who don't
> have sufficiently sized optical discs or flash drives.
> I would eventually aim to make this into an official flavor of Ubuntu,
> however it would differ from all existing flavors in several significant
> ways:
> * It would be the first flavor that could not be installed onto a target
> system by itself.
> * It would be the first flavor that could install other flavors onto a
> target system by design.
> * It would be the first flavor that could install versions of Ubuntu
> other than the one it is based on.
> * It would have a different installer than any existing flavor of Ubuntu
> most likely, and would not be able to make use of existing official
> installers in any meaningful way without large changes to one of them.
> Because of these differences, I'm not sure if such a project could ever
> become an official flavor, and I may end up simply maintaining it as an
> unofficial installer by myself should I end up doing it.
> Is this kind of project a possible candidate for becoming an official
> Ubuntu Flavor, or is this enough info to declare it as not a possible
> candidate?
> Thanks for your time.
> --
> Aaron Rainbolt
> Lubuntu Developer
> https://github.com/ArrayBolt3
> https://launchpad.net/~arraybolt3
> @arraybolt3:lubuntu.me on Matrix, arraybolt3 on irc.libera.chat
> --
> ubuntu-devel mailing list
> ubuntu-devel at lists.ubuntu.com
> Modify settings or unsubscribe at: https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-devel

Ɓukasz 'sil2100' Zemczak
 Foundations Team
 Tools Squad Interim Engineering Manager
 lukasz.zemczak at canonical.com

More information about the ubuntu-devel mailing list