How to Try Ubuntu’s New Installer on Your Current Install

Ubuntu new flutter desktop installer

Itching to play around with Ubuntu’s new installer on an existing install? With the new Ubuntu Desktop Installer Snap, you can!

Of course, it should be obvious to you that doing a fresh install of Ubuntu using the latest canary build is the only real way to “test” the revamped Flutter-built installer (y’know, to see if it actually installs anything). But not everyone wants to download a 4GB .ISO, create a USB, or go through the hassle of that.

Some folks (hi 👋) just want to get a feel for the “experience” the new installer offers. Y’know, gawp at the visual changes between this subiquity-based creation and the GTK Ubiquity installer most of us are (intimately) familiar with, i.e. click through the steps to see how it compares.

And this nifty new (hidden) Snap make it easy.

So what’s it like?

Very similar to Ubiquity, to be honest — and that’s not a bad thing by any stretch, as these (mixed up, sorry) screenshots of various steps show:

Ubiquity is a simple, straight-forward installer (how I wish Fedora’s installer were as intuitive). The technology we install Ubuntu on may change but the actual process of installing Ubuntu hasn’t, not in years. Keeping the same options in the same is smart and means existing users won’t feel putout of put-off by the new installer.

That said, it is a bit buggy, and a bit laggy. I couldn’t get the installer Snap to launch under Wayland so I had to log out and select an Xorg session. The installer took a while to appear after running it, and a little longer to actually ‘load’ anything within the UI.

That said, I do find all Flutter apps I try on Ubuntu feel noticeably less responsive than GTK, Qt, and Electron software. This could, I accept, be a “my GPU” thing, or it could be wider acceleration issue related to Flutter. My hope is that, if Ubuntu is going all-in on Flutter for its own software, that this difference is resolved.

Still, Ubuntu’s new installer is not “production ready” — the latest daily builds of Kinetic Kudu still use Ubiquity — mine (and anyone else’s) complaints are static, tbh. It’s a work in progress, not ready until it’s ready, and you should keep that in mind if trying it.

Oh yes, how do you try it?

You can install Ubuntu’s new installer by opening a terminal window and running:

sudo snap install ubuntu-desktop-installer --classic

Once installed you’ll find a new shortcut named “Install RELEASE” in the app grid. Click on this to open the installer.

As I said earlier, this classic Snap of the installer isn’t an actual installer (as far as I’m aware, lol). I certainly couldn’t get it to install anything, nor see any connected drives, etc. Keep that in mind while probing and you should come away content.

In all, a promising start for this GUI Flutter front-end for the subiquity installer backend.

h/t @PeterKAL3

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