Prototype of new Ubiquity advanced partitioner

Colin Watson cjwatson at
Sun Dec 24 21:33:33 GMT 2006

I've just uploaded a prototype of the new Ubiquity advanced partitioner
in ubiquity 1.3.6. For details of the plans, see:

You can run it using 'ubiquity --new-partitioner'.

The primary goal is to get rid of the nasty separation between
partitioning and selection of mount points (nasty both in terms of the
UI and in terms of the difficulty in making it work correctly and
safely), Another goal was to make the behaviour more consistent with
that in the alternate install CD's partitioner: although that has a
somewhat clunky UI, it's much more reliable, and I don't want us to be
maintaining two partitioners in the long term anyway. By layering a new
UI on top of partman, we can get the best of both worlds.

That said, the best of both worlds hasn't been attained yet. As noted in
the changelog:

  * GTK frontend: First cut at the new advanced partitioner. The graphical
    disk view isn't implemented yet, many features are missing, validation
    probably doesn't work properly, and it's very slow, but I hope all these
    issues can be worked out in time. Use 'ubiquity --new-partitioner' to
    try it out.

Adding the graphical disk view (see the specification) will make it a
lot easier and more attractive to use; the disk view is intended to be
the primary part of the interface, with the partition view that's there
now largely being intended to offer more precise control. There is
already some code in the Gentoo installer which I'd like to adapt for
use in Ubiquity; if anyone who's proficient with PyGTK would like to
help with this, please contact me. The slowness is due to having to wait
for partman at various points, but this can be overcome with time either
by bypassing partman for some more UI-critical things or by optimising
partman. Validation probably requires some rearrangement of partman
scripts to work properly.

Still, even though it's very incomplete, I'd appreciate people who HAVE
FULL BACKUPS OF THEIR SYSTEMS (*ahem*) trying this out and seeing what
it does within the constraints of its existing facilities. Please file
bugs on the 'ubiquity' source package, but add the 'new-partitioner' tag
to any bugs you file so that they don't get lost in the morass of
existing ubiquity bugs. Don't bother filing "user interface is too
spartan"-type bugs yet.

Oh, and seriously, I meant it about the backups. Running experimental
partitioning software on a production system is a mug's game, and I
accept no responsibility for lost data.

Merry Christmas,

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson at]

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