Calamares will be the graphical installer on the next OpenMandriva edition

News from OpenMandriva has it that the next release of the distribution will feature the Calamares graphical installer.

Calamares is a “distribution independent installer framework” that features a modular design with 25 modules already implemented. It has plugin interfaces for C++, Python and a generic process, and an advanced partitioning tool with support for DOS and GPT partition tables.

It is a collaborative project between the Calamares team and Blue Systems, with contributions from the KDE Visual Design Group and the developers of BBQLinux, Fedora, KaOS, Manjaro, Maui, Netrunner, and OpenMandriva distributions.

For a long time I’ve been calling for the replacement of the old Mandrake/Mandriva installer, which is still in use on all distributions derived from it – Mageia, OpenMandriva and ROSA Linux. However, to replace a graphical installer that works, albeit with some aesthetic issues, with one that’s still a work in progress doesn’t strike me like a good idea.

Yep, Calamares is still a work in progress. At this time it’s not being used by any major distribution and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. The only distribution that’s using it now is KaOS, a KDE-centric distribution that uses a rolling-release development model. I believe Calamares was first used in the December 2014 edition of that distribution.

I’m test-driving a release candidate of KaOS – KaOS-kf5-2015.01.15, and if the installer is Calamares, then I’m not very impressed. In terms of features, it’s not even at the same stage as the Ubuntu Desktop installer. The application is not yet ready for primetime. I sure won’t recommend it as a replacement for the installer of the distribution you’re using now. Given time I’m sure it will, but not now.

The following screnshots show a few sections of Calamares.

This screenshot shows the partition methods of the installer.

Figure 1: Partition methods of Calamares installer.

Disk selection step of Calamares.

Calamares disk selection tool
Figure 2: Disk selection in Calamares.

Advanced partition tool of Calamares. I didn’t observe support for disk encryption.

Calamares partition tool
Figure 1: Advanced partition tool of Calamares.

User account setup step on Calamares, Home folder encryption is not supported.

Calamares user setup
Figure 1: Calamares installer

I like the idea of the community coming together to create a distribution-independent graphical installer, but there’s no need to jump the gun. Give Calamares time to attain feature-parity with the likes of Anaconda and Ubiquity before jettisoning your current installer. Unless your distribution is Linux Mint Debian.

And regarding the next release of OpenMandriva, it will be the third major release of the distribution, and thus will be called OpenMandriva Lx 3. The code name will be Einsteinium. If you missed the point there, the distribution will drop, starting from the next release, year numbering of the releases. You may read more about that decision in Revision number for OpenMandriva Lx.

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  1. What is the differences of earlier used installer?

    • The old installer, inherited from Mandrake/Mandriva Linux, was dated and did not have support for a few features. And I think the code was too old to be maintained, so making the switch to a new installer was a good idea.

      That said, the new installer is still a work in progress, with a few key features not yet implemented. Look for an article about Calamares later this week.

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