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Have you seen Anaconda’s new UI?

Anaconda, the Fedora system installation program, is one of the best available on any distribution – Linux or BSD. It has its faults, but in general, it has more features than any I have used. At least for me, it offers all the features that I need, plus it is very easy to use.

Its interface is very intuitive, and each step is easy enough to understand, if not self-explanatory. But come Fedora 18, the next stable edition of Fedora, Anaconda will feature a whole new look. It will be a complete overhaul of the user interface. I have seen it, and I must confess that I am not very impressed. I am not referring to the backend, just the look and feel and ease of use.

The official rationale for the new design is that the current “graphical UI is really starting to show its age, both to the users and to the developers. Adding new features (especially for new storage technologies) is difficult, and there’s no apparent overall design to the user experience.” From a purely end-user perspective, I disagree with the “there’s no apparent overall design to the user experience,” because the current UI offers a far more coherent user-experience than this new one.

But that is just me. When it comes to graphical user interfaces, I like them simple and intuitive to use. To be sure, the version of Anaconda that will ship with Fedora 18 is still alpha software, but most of the work appears to have been completed. All that remains is edge-smoothing.

If you have not downloaded and installed a pre-release version of Fedora 18, these screen shots will give you an idea of what the new Anaconda looks like.

One step before Anaconda starts, this is the boot menu, which is still the same as the current boot menu.
Anaconda Boot

And this is the language settings step. As in most installation programs, you should not have to do anything here but click Continue. By the way, why are the Continue and Quit buttons in different time zones?
Anaconda Language

This is the main interface, and where you will really notice a sharp break from the current Anaconda. It is like a rendezvous, where you will always return after making changes to any part of the installer. In most cases, the only parts that will need to be configured are Software Selection (Software), Network Configuration (Software), and Installation Destination (Storage). I do not have any problem with this window. It is the Storage part, where disk partitioning will take place, that will take some getting used to.
Anaconda Main

This is the Date & Time configuration step.
Anaconda Time

If you choose to configure NTP (Network Time Protocol), you will be presented with this window.
Anaconda Time

This is the keyboard layout step.
Anaconda Keyboard

In the current Anaconda, network interface configuration is automatic, and it still is in the new version, but you will be able to configure this step manually, just as you do on a running system.

At the installation source window, you will be able to choose local or network source of installation.
Anaconda Keyboard

Your options for network installation are shown here.

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