Revision 2 as of 2006-06-05 11:58:48

Clear message


Rewrite Ubiquity's advanced partitioner, concentrating on usability and commonality of code.


The use of gparted/qtparted in Dapper's live CD installer (Ubiquity) was expedient in terms of developer time, but it wasn't the long-term right answer. Using an external partition editor has many inherent problems, such as complex communication requirements with the rest of the installer, UI inconsistency between frontends, and behavioural inconsistency with the text-based installer and with autopartitioning. Furthermore, both gparted and qtparted are complex independently-designed C++ programs which require complicated patches to work in both standalone and installer mode; updating them has become a risky and time-consuming business, and fixing bugs can require investigating the design of both programs from the ground up.

To replace this, we will write a simple Python frontend to partman using ubiquity's standard debconffilter framework, with relatively small PyGTK/PyQt shims. The UI will be designed from scratch with an eye to usability, and will be sufficiently similar between the GTK and KDE frontends to offer familiarity.

Use cases

  • Judith has been using Unix for some time, and wants to install Ubuntu using a custom partition layout with separate /, /usr, and /var filesystems. She wants reasonably fine control over the sizes of these partitions, and wants to choose which filesystems to use for each.
  • Eugene has a number of different operating systems installed for experimentation, and wants to add Kubuntu to the list. To make room, he will resize one of his existing partitions and delete another.
  • Chris has been trying out both Ubuntu and Kubuntu, and is confused by the way the advanced partitioners are so different in each. He would like to be able to transfer his experience from one to the other.
  • James has a system with two hard drives that mirror each other using RAID1, to reduce the risk of data loss from drive failures; the hard drives are both much larger than he needs right now, so he uses LVM on these so that he can extend filesystems easily without having to set up the partition table perfectly first time. He would like to use Ubiquity to install Ubuntu on this system.


A successful implementation will provide a working and reliable advanced partitioner for both Ubiquity's GTK and KDE frontends that behaves similarly to that of the text-based installer but has a more attractive and better-designed UI, properly integrated into Ubiquity. LVM and RAID functionality is not required in a first iteration, but may be added later if time permits.




Data preservation and migration

Outstanding issues

BoF agenda and discussion