Calamares: the distribution-independent Installer

calamares linux GUI installer Manjaro KaOS Maui

A crucial step for every Operating System is installation. Installation used to be a difficult, tedious and delicate process in the old (dark) days of IT, today that process was really simplified and it is almost painless even for normal end-users.

Installers and Graphical Installers

As we said earlier installation used to be a real pain. With the advent of the graphical installers even normal users can install (still a delicate process) operating systems. Old Text-based User Interface and Command line Interface are still out there, but graphical installers have really revolutionised the word installation. Now there are a few out there like Ubiquity (Ubuntu) and Anaconda (Fedora/RHEL) each one with its features. But installers are distribution-related, so you can’t have Anaconda on Ubuntu or Ubiquity (and you probably wouldn’t want to). But there’s a new hero in the city:

Calamares

This one is a quite ambitious project: a distribution-independent graphical installer. Calamares aims to be the next step in installers creating a good environment to install potentially any Linux distribution. Names behind this project are however not so unknown as one may think, namely Blue Systems (KDE Plasma 5.x). Needless to say it is in a development stage (even after the 1.0 release), it still lacks the polish of the competitors, but it is on the good way. It has already been adopted by emerging Linux distributions like the much-spoken Manjaro.

What does it do?

Nothing that others GUI installers don’t. But it is still in an active-development stage, so it still lacks many features that we are able to see in other GUI installers (e.g. LVM configuration). But they say a picture is worth one thousand words, so you can watch this video:

I think it is a quite interesting project, and I would love to see it as a de-facto standard in all the distributions out there, it would be a huge step forward in my humble opinion. However, I do think Linux is beautiful because there are many flavours, still having a standard installer would lead in a cleaner installation process, and maybe an easier way to deploy operating systems automatically (Ubuntu has only preliminary accepted Red Hat’s kickstart). And you? Do you think Calamares has the potential to become a standard?

Images and videos from the official site.

Image courtesy of mark | marksei

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The IT guy with a slight look of boredom in his eyes. Freelancer. Current interests: Kubernetes, Tensorflow, shiny new things.

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