Calamares VS eliveinstaller VS others, brainstorming

Seriously, a Debian based distro without Synaptik oob.
No offense, but you are a bit crzy, no ?
Especially cuz you deny Calamares, too.

Am afraid am getting tired of you, @Thanatermesis,
because your behavior ain't any easy to support,
just to be honest.
You even seem not to think about the time we spend here for the project.

CC mentioned to @yoda, @triantares, @Thanatermesis

is not calamares a distro installer? if yes, i don't see the need to look at calamares because elive has its own (needed) installer

just trying to install calamares in Live mode (fortunately its on the repos), first impressions:

  • it takes some considerable extra size / dependencies to install
  • doesn't launches at all, errors about conf files
  • the only thing that I can see is its icon with name "install system", so...

@Rebel450 are you suggesting calamares as a replacement of the package manager ? (and so it is a package manager or a distro-installer?), in such case, how much stable and userfriendly it works ?

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@Rebel450 basically the problem with Calamares is very simple:

  • it is not the elive installer, and elive needs the elive installer
  • to use it will require many many work
  • and so many bugs to fix, and bugs that will appear to fix later
  • but again, since is not the elive installer it will not have the elive features that are needed
  • the elive installer is easy, anybody can install elive with it, and if is not, then it can (and should) be improved

don't think that I deny because no reasons

now, you are free to "not believe me" and trying it yourself, install calamares in Live mode in a virtual machine and try to use it for install elive, maybe you succeed! but for sure you will not install a same elive as we have (not finetune steps, not smart questions about specific things like a needed EFI partition if needed, not upgrade mode, not migration mode, not users updating, not packages-to-maintain-installed, not nvidia drivers included, not cleanups to make the system lighter, not many many many things), because there will be many things missing @Rebel450

and just for mention these things to others to know: @triantares @yoda

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I think there is a point to be made though and that is:

Elive installation scripts gives a linear, ad hoc impression which "calamares" doesn't.
I think we can contemplate beautifying the installer into an overall single application, giving a more "in control" feeling and oversight.
Using python (@Thanatermesis I know, I know!!) and webkit come to mind here...... hailing @stoppy98 there. :wink:

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Well, in fact is half linear half dynamic, and there comes the bigger problem about port it to other platform

In other words, the installer of elive is "very smart" changing the behaviour during the installation, for example:

  • I just did an install before in a vbox, on which it was using reiserfs before (from 3.8.4 which is available), but since i installed the 32-bit version which includes and older kernel where the reiserfs support is buggy, the installer already knew that and told me that is going to proceed with a clean install instead, the migration mode "code" then changed to a new install

There's many smart things in the installer that cannot happen in other words, and which of course doesn't has interfaces for that, for example if you manually partition your system, other installers will simply proceed with the installation, but the elive installer checks if everything satisfy the correct installation, for example:

  • if you are using an encrypted partition, it requires a /boot partition (so it warns you asking for it)
  • if you are using a filesystem like reiser4 which grub cannot read, same thing
  • if you booted the computer with UEFI and you don't have an EFI partition, it will require it
  • if you are using a GPT disk and you don't have a BIOS partition, it will suggest (not required) to include it

there's too many things that cannot be done in a traditional single-interface installer (unless many many work involved on it, which of course, i don't have the resources to make it)

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Yeah I agree. One thing that may also be annoying is the installation interrupting at times to ask you something. The best thing would be asking everything in the beginning, so the user just let the installation run, being free to mind his business and come back later with everything ready to reboot.

I could try to help.

Btw, we should move this topic

Ok about these, but for example prompting for "ehy do you want this software" at the end could be avoided i think. Same for "ehy do you want to keep this stuff", or even "ehy why the hell are you using a vga, we're in 2020" could be asked earlier (am i wrong?)

agree, and in fact many things has been improved for that in the past :slight_smile: actually maybe we can also include:

  • asking for hostname
  • asking for which partition to install grub (not sure if this one is possible because maybe depends of some installed files in the installed system)

its just some extra things in the big TODO's :slight_smile:

we can btw try to locate these exact messages and make a list, somewhere in #get-involved:research , and so will be more easy to improve the installer based on the possible ones

yep :slight_smile: i think that there's a Calamares related thread around? :thinking: not sure... in suggestions maybe is a good place

Completely new thread:

Suggestions and additions to the Elive installer

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Another big BIG issue by using calamares (which i don't say that is bad software) or other installer, is that I constantly read reports from installations and fastly improve the installe with fixes or usability improvements, only a few ones (the most important to tell) are mentioned on the changelogs of the releases

This means basically:

  • i know the code
  • i know where to search
  • i know where it can be the cause
  • i know the language and im very fluent with it
  • im entirely familiarized with the naming conventions and the style of the code

in the case of using a different installer, how will be possible to maintain the application always updated with fixes and improvements and fastly included in the repo ? (oh btw, another unique feature: the elive installer automatically updates itself with minimal resources requirements (since doesn't uses apt) everytime an updated version is available on the repo)

so in short, if we want a bugged, outdated and of course less featured installer, let's switch to calamares or any other

remember that elive has made many of own apps when others doesnt' satisfy the needs, examples:

  • a wrapper for arandr to support "remember", startup loading, and primary screens
  • an entire touchpad configurator (do we have any available? not at all), with some amazing features too
  • many other things that i dont remember

mentions @Rebel450


LOL :happybounce:

And using calamares will put us in the pond of all those other Ubuntu derivates.........says a guy that even felt "back home" when confronted with the latest Slackware installer.

All laughs aside, I do think we could try and get all those "zenity" pop-ups (visually) under control. :thinking:
It's all a matter of perception ....UX.


hey, its not all about a simple (single) message popup in zenity :slight_smile: there's more than that!

see this example from the old installers VS updated versions, more exactly about the "create a new user" step, it was before like that:

  • POPUP insert an username
    • verify that the chars are correct, or repeat
  • POPUP insert a password
    • verify correct characters
  • POPUP repeat
    • verify they are the same
  • POPUP autologin ?
  • POPUP admin privileges?

which have been moved to a single one, not using zenity but "yad" instead:

  • POPUP set all the users data (including more features which we didn't had before) - that's all, all in a single one

same example with the first "welcome" window which checkboxes of advanced-settings and guided install etc...

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Yeah, I like "yad" a lot .... it's much more versatile than "zenity".

Frankly I was thinking along the lines of python and "easygui" (or any gtk GUI option) combined with "webkit" for the online options.
Just thinking out loud there, no real options yet.

Where is the code of the installer? On the repo?

yes on the repo, you can specially check the "functions" file from dpL eliveinstaller-6g

its actually 13k lines of code



There are valid arguments to move to gitlab

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Actually yes, I meant this.
A few month ago I read an interview with the main developer of calamares, and (I think that I understood it right) he said that is also possible to use Calamares as package manager because of it's framework.
I agree with you that Synaptic is really not any thrilling,
but it's a very needed tool.

May be it's worth a deeper look here in:

What do you think? :omfg:

i dont think can be used as a package manager, and in any case, it will be zero compatible with debian

looks like flatpack and ohters, which are not suggested because of their insecurity

btw @triantares @stoppy98, about the "create an username" step which is on the end of the installer, it cannot be made before, because its actually a direct launch of the user-manager tool inside the installed OS, this means that it depends first to have the OS fully installed / dumped before it can be asked

in a similar way, the "hostname" (machine name) asking step requires of the user creation first, in order to prefill the default machine name with "Elive-yourusername"

so in short, these steps appears "after to install" because of a reason

the installer proceeds with this way:

  • ask all the questions needed
  • install the system
  • configure the system
  • ask things for setup the system (like username & hostname)
  • post-install steps
  • first boot: final post-install steps, cleanups, removing systemd broken daemons (new), uninstalling the installer package

Good point. I was super annoyed when I couldn't do something because elive was installing and I had to be there to answer its questions before the battery of the laptop died (I didn't have the charger then.)

Problem: @Thanatermesis doesn't know Python IIRC so he can't maintain it.

Gitea's another option, it looks a heck ton like github :slight_smile:

Actually there's a publicly hosted server (in case you dont want to rent a very cheap (gitea's very light) server) for gitea and it's free at

Couldn't there be a way to ask these questions at the start of install, put in a temporary file, and pipe it into user-manager? Or is it not designed for a headless mode? (Might be smart to add it, it'd be useful for IT people bulk-creating users)

Here's a link to the english one :slight_smile:

Or EFLs...considering we're using enlightenment it'd just make everything look in sync...

I rest my case. Tho we couldn't put the password in a temporary file, that would be insecure.

I find myself wondering how other distros do it.