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Revision as of 16:01, 4 February 2009 by Clumens (talk | contribs) (Detailed Description)

New and Improved Text UI


The current text UI in the installer is difficult to improve and extend as we add features to the GUI. We really don't want to be maintaining two complicated UIs.


  • Name: Chris Lumens <>

Current status

  • Targeted release: Fedora 11
  • Last updated: 2009-02-04
  • Percentage of completion: 50%

Detailed Description

What do I mean by "simplifying text mode"?

  • Text mode is not going away, contrary to what you might have heard.
  • I have removed many of the more complicated parts of the UI, turning text mode into the truly minimal install experience that a lot of people have asked for. You get a package set that's small but still able to install updates and new packages. You get the initial partitioning screen (choose your disks and handwaving layout) but not the second screen.
  • We more strongly suggest VNC or xdriver=vesa, but text is still there if you want and still as a fallback should the graphical installer fail to start. Maybe that last bit should be changed.

There is an updates image that can be used with anaconda to see the current state of the simplified text mode. If you want to give it a try, simply add the following parameters to your boot command line:

   updates= text

Benefit to Fedora

Currently the text UI is a place where a lot of bugs and unwanted situations have the potential to occur. A direct benefit to fedora is the reduction of the anaconda code base (less is more). Moreover it gives the anaconda development team a change to concentrate on the anaconda backend and the graphical GUI.

  • Text mode and graphical mode are completely separate codebases as far as the interface is concerned. We don't have some magic interface language that can display under both modes. What this means is that anything we add to the graphical mode needs to be coded up again a second time for text mode.
  • Text mode only supports a subset of the graphical mode's features. For instance, you can't do LVM in text mode. Nor can you do encrypted filesystems, resizable filesystems, add repos, or edit repos. This situation is only going to get worse over time. Why is this the case? First, because it involves duplicating all the tedious work of writing a UI and no one wants to do that. Second, the screen real estate on the console is quite limited and things like LVM just don't fit in the space available.
  • We already have alternate install modes available. You can do automatic installs via kickstart, or you can use VNC.
  • If the graphical installer doesn't work, the fix is not to have a completely different path to go down. The fix is to fix graphical installs. Having said this, we still do have work arounds possible. You can always add xdriver=vesa as a boot parameter if the normal driver for your card doesn't work under X. My latest patch to the list makes it more obvious that you can do this.


Test Plan

User Experience


Contingency Plan


Release Notes