The goal is to have an installer on the Live CD with a pretty graphical user interface. PyGTK should allow rapid development of such a GUI.


The Debian packaging system uses DebConf to ask questions of the user during package install.

Package install  <=============> confmodule <=======> debconf
     script        shell calls                stdio

The debconf system then chooses how to present the questions to the user:

  • via a GUI (GTK, Qt, etc)
  • text based (newt)
  • no question -- take answer from Debconf database

The frontends are not cleanly separated from debconf, and must be implemented in the same language as the core debconf implementation. There are two debconf implementations (C and Perl). The C implementation is more amenable to having frontend bindings to other languages implemented in the future, but for a number of reasons it is not yet ready for mainstream use by the distribution outside the installer (although this is a long-term goal among debconf implementers).

For this reason, it may be best to write a normal PyGTK application that, on completion, primes the debconf database with answers and then kicks off the install.

Scope and Use Cases

Implementation Plan

No implementation is required for this specification itself. It is purely a record of a discussion for use while implementing other specifications.


debconf-communicate may be used to set values in the debconf database directly, provided that the calling program is not itself running under a debconf frontend (for example, it may not be used from a maintainer script of a package that uses debconf).

If a debconf frontend is already running, you can set debconf questions in the usual way using either cdebconf or debconf:

  • . /usr/share/debconf/confmodule
    db_set $KEY1 $VALUE1
    db_fset $KEY1 seen true
    db_set $KEY2 $VALUE2
    db_fset $KEY2 seen true

Under this model, a PyGTK-based install process might run like this:

  1. installer prompts the user for required data in a custom-designed PyGTK application
  2. installer sets debconf questions using debconf-communicate

  3. installer starts the package install phase.

Data Preservation and Migration

This is for installing new systems, so there is no data to preserve or migrate.

Packages Affected

User Interface Requirements

Outstanding Issues

UDU BOF Agenda

UDU Pre-Work

UbuntuDownUnder/BOFs/PygtkDebconf (last edited 2008-08-06 16:14:48 by localhost)