Fwd: Re: Ubiquity Proposal - Add "minimal" setup with kernel parameter
flocculant at gmx.co.uk
Tue Jul 25 17:07:02 UTC 2017
for information - specifically the end :)
-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Re: Ubiquity Proposal - Add "minimal" setup with kernel parameter
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 12:46:42 -0400
From: Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre <mathieu.tl at gmail.com>
To: Carl Richell <carl at system76.com>, ubuntu-devel
<ubuntu-devel at lists.ubuntu.com>
CC: Ubuntu Desktop Discussion <ubuntu-desktop at lists.ubuntu.com>
On Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 11:31 AM, Carl Richell <carl at system76.com
<mailto:carl at system76.com>> wrote:
System76 would like to use GNOME Initial Setup for user
configuration. Currently, there is duplication with Ubiquity.
We propose changing Ubiquity to add a “minimal” mode, triggered by a
kernel parameter (a flag similar to how OEM install is triggered
now). This enables flavors to use whichever version makes sense for
them. System76’s Pop!_OS and the elementary OS team are interested
in using “minimal”. Minimal might be attractive to Ubuntu w/ GNOME
“Minimal” will contain the least amount necessary to install the OS.
We also prefer off-line installs with minimal which would remove
options to download updates or install 3rdparty software during
install. This requires adding language packs to the iso when using
Why could this not be a variation on the OEM install type instead?
Installation can proceed as usual, but presumably you don't already know
the name of the user you're installing for. In all install cases you'll
need to at least take the steps of picking a language and keyboard
mapping for the installer (in case you need to also enter other
information, such as the OEM ID we ask for to differentiate OEM install
batches, crypto password, network authentication to reach a mirror,
etc.). The difference is that when you do an OEM install, you do the
file copying phase, reboot into an "OEM preparation" environment, so
that you can do any further customization of the actual setup
(pre-installing some software that wasn't done automatically, checking
to make sure everything is as it should, etc). Then you can tell the
system that everything is ready, and reboot into the "real" system
customization phase that is done by the end user: user name, hostname,
timezone, and all of that jazz. Doing so via oem-config or GNOME Initial
Setup could just as well be a decision left to the OEM provider.
Welcome/Language Select - change: add KB Layout 
Installation Type - change: move hostname here 
If full disk encryption is chosen, Choose Security Key screen.
--Timezone: we’d like to remove timezone but Ubiquity is crashing
when we do so. More investigation is necessary.
 KB layout currently comes after “Installation Type”. Users can’t
set their layout before typing a full-disk encryption password.
Moving KB layout forward would fix this. However, Ubuntu uses the
first Welcome Screen to display both language and “Try Ubuntu” or
“Install Ubuntu”. A couple of ideas:
I don't question the need to move the keyboard setup earlier, it just
never got to the top of my priority list. That said, there's already an
easy workaround, you can choose exactly what keyboard mapping you want
before you pick "Try" or "Install" if you booted in BIOS mode (I know,
that doesn't work in UEFI yet). We'll get to fixing this eventually
 Hostname is currently on the “Who are you?” screen. It uses the
username and DMI information to populate the hostname. We propose
using the same DMI information, adding 4 hexadecimals to the end (a
checksum of the MAC address “Galag-Pro-A8F3”), and moving the
hostname up to the “Installation Type” screen. This enables
“minimal” installs to set the hostname and business customers can
install the OS on multiple machines, with automatic or custom
hostnames, then give the computer to their user for account setup.
What would setting the hostname earlier actually bring as a benefit? You
can already set automatic/custom hostnames as an enterprise policy via
preseeding or via DHCP. For factory systems, it seems to me like there
is no benefit in setting any hostname at all (or if there is, please let
me know); it's a user decision what they want to call their machine. In
an enterprise setting, I would usually not expect people to use an
OEM-type install (even your 'minimal' proposal), but rather preseed the
installation parameters and only leave to users the few decisions that
would make sense -- in an enterprise setting, this often doesn't even
include the username.
Making users further go through GNOME Initial Setup should already be
possible by configuring the final system via a preseed (ie. install the
right package, but the right files in so it starts when you log in).
My concerns with this are mainly that many of the "advantages" listed in
the design document  for Initial Setup are already covered by
ubiquity as far as I can tell (speed of install, being able to do
unattended installs, etc.); with the benefit that it's not tied to any
particular desktop environment: ubiquity (oem-config) should work just
as well for any desktop environment, without requiring the use of GNOME
software (some flavours may not want to use some, for various reasons).
We let the end user make customization decisions as late as possible so
that we don't block the installation unnecessarily while the user picks
a hostname or username. In my experience that tends to fit nicely in the
time it takes to complete the file copy (but otherwise, you're not
blocking the end of the installation much either).
I'm all for improving ubiquity by removing code duplication, doing a big
cleanup in that monstrous codebase, and simplifying the installation
process in general, but right now it seems to me like GNOME Initial
Setup would only solve this for a fraction of our users.
Could you come up with a code branch that does what you want and knows
to install GNOME Initial Setup, or with a pre-made image that mocks up
how you see things, so that we could play with it?
As for the flavours, aside for Kubuntu where shipping Initial Setup
would be bad (take up more space on their image and look very odd); how
do you feel about having such an Initial Setup step? How would it look?
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