moving graphical installer to GTK 3

Steve McIntyre 93sam at
Wed May 19 23:54:06 BST 2021

On Tue, May 18, 2021 at 01:27:56AM +0200, Cyril Brulebois wrote:
>Simon McVittie <smcv at> (2021-05-17):
>> I also think the beginning of Debian 12 would be a good time to
>> reconsider whether the graphical d-i mode is really the best way for
>> non-expert users to install Debian. The restricted capabilities of
>> udebs make d-i quite a "one hand tied behind your back" environment,
>> which was still a necessary evil a few years ago; but now that systems
>> with 512M RAM are literally given away with a magazine, perhaps that's
>> becoming less necessary than it once was?
>Until now, I've been happy with maintaining (or at least trying to
>maintain) the status quo, which means an installer that works both in
>text and graphical modes, which can be preseed “as usual”, etc. It's
>definitely not getting many extra fancy features, but it seems to me
>it's been working rather reliably for a number of users, so…
>Of course it comes with a price regarding debuggability and you're
>unfortunately the one paying here, and I'm sorry for that.

So my own idea for how to proceed here is to make d-i a less
restricted environment. IMHO most of the core design of d-i is still
very gdoo, but it's a little too limited by its focus on small systems
(32MiB on the NSLU2, etc.) that are just not a target any more. We
could quite readily improve some of the more difficult areas of
today's d-i by adding support for (say) Python 3 instead of sticking
to the existing mix of mostly shell with C and perl bits.

Even if was decided to recommend that new users use live media for
installations, the flexibility of d-i is massively powerful, and we
shouldn't give up on it. The ability to support everything from a
serial terminal up to a graphical installer on the same media is

But... I'd rather not start a discussion here about the future of d-i,
right at the end of a release cycle. Instead, I think we could do with
some focused face-to-face sessions at a debconf (or maybe a targeted
sprint) to work through the requirements and options properly.

Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK.                                steve at
“Changing random stuff until your program works is bad coding
 practice, but if you do it fast enough it’s Machine Learning.”

More information about the pkg-gnome-maintainers mailing list