Live Installer vs Calamares

Questions about SolydX and SolydK installation.
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Arjen Balfoort
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Live Installer vs Calamares

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 15 May 2019 08:28

Calamares: The universal installer framework

I've been looking into the Calamares installer as a replacement for our current Live Installer.
After some fiddling Calamares was able to finish without errors but unfortunately, I've never been able to get passed the initramfs prompt after reboot. So, I cannot say that I am convinced that spending time on Calamares will help SolydXK.

Does anybody have any experience with Calamares on other Debian based distributions?

Below you find my notes on the tests I did with Calamares on SolydK 10:

In a live session:

Code: Select all

apt install calamares calamares-settings-debian
=====================================================

Location not determined by IP but live session locale.

=====================================================

Manual partitioning.

No pre-mounting of partitions according to partition content.
Partition labels not shown and cannot edit partition labels.
Cannot add data partitions to fstab (custom mount point is not accepted).

=====================================================

During installation I got the following error:

Code: Select all

Boost.Python error in job "unpackfs".
<class 'AttributeError'>
module 'libcalamares.utils' has no attribute 'warn'

Traceback:
File "/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/calamares/modules/unpackfs/main.py", line 340, in run
    return unpackop.run()

  File "/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/calamares/modules/unpackfs/main.py", line 224, in run
    error_msg = self.unpack_image(entry, imgmountdir)

  File "/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/calamares/modules/unpackfs/main.py", line 270, in unpack_image
    return file_copy(imgmountdir, entry.destination, progress_cb)

  File "/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/calamares/modules/unpackfs/main.py", line 152, in file_copy
    utils.warn("rsync failed with error code {}.".format(process.returncode))

After running this command, Calamares finished without errors:

Code: Select all

sudo sed -i 's/utils\.warn(/utils\.warning(/g' '/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/calamares/modules/unpackfs/main.py'
In Calamares' Github repository this is already fixed:
https://github.com/calamares/calamares/ ... fs/main.py

=====================================================

Reboot: no startup.nsh when installing in VirtualBox which results in ending in EFI shell.

Reboot in live session:
mount EFI partition and cd into mount.

Code: Select all

sudo sh -c "echo '\EFI\Debian\grubx64.efi' > startup.nsh"
=====================================================

After reboot ending in initramfs prompt.
Booting into live session and chrooting into the new system and running update-initramfs -u does not change anything.


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ilu
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Re: Live Installer vs Calamares

Postby ilu » 07 Jun 2019 15:44

I've asked one of the debian installer developers about calamares and he cautiously voiced the opinion that the project could be maintained better. It seems that also other distros have problems using it and that the workload for the only developer is probably too much.

In case you really need to abandon SolydXK installer Debian people would be willing to talk about providing some very basic customizations with the d.i. Of course you would not have all the possibilities you have now, so that would probably no alternative anyway.

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Arjen Balfoort
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Re: Live Installer vs Calamares

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 07 Jun 2019 18:16

Thanks for checking that for me.

I think that, if I have the time :? , I will modernize the GUI. Now, it feels rather out-dated but it has very low priority right now. It's a pity we don't have more python programmers here.


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bin
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Re: Live Installer vs Calamares

Postby bin » 09 Jun 2019 06:26

Q4OS uses Calamares installer on the Buster 10 testing version.

I've used it for lots of installs, it works - the only issue is the low visibility of Re-use home option on a populated drive. It's there, just easy to miss.

Honestly - the current installer works, unless there's a technical reason to change I don't see why it needs to be replaced.

Functionality over Eye-Candy every time :)

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ilu
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Re: Live Installer vs Calamares

Postby ilu » 16 Jul 2019 03:34

I was curious and had a look at the debian10 xfce ISO with the debian installer because I thought there might be synergetic potential there. But sadly it has several drawbacks.

1. Live image without gparted, so no way to edit partitions
2. No way to install anything in liveimage - at least I could not find a way to install gparted
3. Installer doesn't start from live image on efi systems (I assume so but n=1), reboot needed to start debian installer
4. On non-efi systems the live image offers calamares which looks nice
5. No wizard neither on Calamares nor on Debian Installer
6. Calamares seems to use its own tool for manual partitioning/shrinking - I would prefer a trusted tool like gparted for this sensitive task
7. No way to assign partitions other than "reuse home"
7. Calamares crashed when I tried to use a different partition
8. Debian Installer creates root and user separately
9. Debian Installer doesn't help with manual partitioning, shrinking is not possible

In the end I'd say Debian should use our installer.


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