back to article Canonical turns to Google framework for new installer, but community asks why not have a Flutter on GTK?

Canonical is building a new installer for Ubuntu using Google's cross-platform Flutter framework – but is facing questions about use of a non-native toolkit for such a key component. Martin Wimpress, Canonical's director of engineering, said that "the current Ubuntu Desktop installer, Ubiquity, dates back to 2006," and that it …

  1. chuckufarley
    Thumb Down

    It won't matter...

    ...What the community wants. That's what Ubuntu's recent history has taught me. A lot of us were opposed to Snap being the default package manager, but it's what we have. I am going to be off of Ubuntu soon. OpenSUSE is looking very attractive, as is Void.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: It won't matter...

      My preferred GNU/Linux desktop distribution is Linux Mint Debian Edition.

      As a FreeBSD fangirl, that is obviously my first choice, and I use vanilla Debian on server workloads that don't work on FreeBSD.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: It won't matter...

        Indeed I may migrate from regular Mint to Debian Edition. I was a keen Ubuntu user maybe 12 years ago, but they lost the plot long ago. Mint with Mate Desktop has been my main Laptop system now since Dec 2016, though XP was my laptop OS from 2002 to Oct 2016 when I switched to Win7 and Linux Mint dual boot on a new laptop,

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It won't matter...

      For me it's Debian for server and Fedora for the desktop/laptop as I like having new hardware support one doesn't get with debian.

      I've never understood the draw to ubuntu as its no easier to install than debian and like debian its desktop experience is just as rough round the edges, but you have less of a say about what's bungled with it

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: It won't matter...

      And RedHat aren't much better, canning CentOS Linux...

      I tried openSUSE last year on my main machine (Ryzen 7, 32GB RAM, 3 SSDs). Playing a video in Firefox and opening Thunderbird had the video pause for 10 seconds, whilst Thunderbird opened! Not something you expect on that sort of rig... :-S

      That said, Mint, running on my 10 year old Sony laptop is doing fine, as is Ubuntu on my Pi400, if a little slow on a 4K screen...

    4. unimaginative

      Re: It won't matter...

      I use OpenSuse. A bit more work than Ubuntu to maintain, but that may just be my hardware (Nvidia especially) and has smaller repos. Yast is very nice.

      There are also a lot of good debian based distros. I have Anti running on an old laptop and might try its sibling MX.

  2. Mage Silver badge

    Google Framework

    What are they smoking and drinking in Canonical? It's bad enough that people have to have it on Android!

    Couldn't decide if Flame, D'oh, Nuclear, or splattered keyboard was a better icon.

    I do have one Android based gadget that has an on-off switch for it. This is REALLY stupid.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    They certainly need something better than Ubiquity. AFAICS you can partition the disk without LVM or you can use LVM with no flexibility because all you get are root and swap partitions. Not even a separate /home.

  4. needmorehare

    There is no native...modern developers be modern innit

    Even on Windows:

    * Windows Setup uses EdgeHTML, WinForms and UWP (as the OOBE process is a clusterfsck)

    * The desktop environment uses a mix of EdgeHTML, Chromium, WinForms and UWP

    * Edge uses Skia+Chromium

    * OneDrive uses Qt

    * Teams uses Electron

    With exception to Teams, the above stuff ships as part of the base system these days and there's no escaping this mess because even in World Of Fruit, a ton of cross-platform frameworks are used for common third party apps. Gone are the days where people wrote cleverly abstracted backend functionality and paired it with separate UI implementations for each system.

    GTK folks don't care about backwards compatibility between major versions, Qt folks don't care about long-term support, UWP is a dying fad and HTML-as-a-UI (ala Electron) is stupid.

    What damage can Flutter do to Linux distros that everything else hasn't done already?

    How is said damage any different to that occurring on other systems?

    1. unimaginative

      Re: There is no native...modern developers be modern innit

      Gtk major releases are only about one a decade so its not that bad.

      There are a few cross platform toolkits that keep backward compatibility (like Tk, Lazarus etc.) but they are short on "ooh, shiny".

      I loathe Electron and similar as a user. Not developed with them so not comment.

      I had no idea Windows was so bad. I thought having multiple GUI frameworks in use was a Linux thing so thanks for explaining that.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: There is no native...modern developers be modern innit

        Windows has three different control panels, 4 on Windows server[1], with no logic as to which one to go to for a particular task, and overly obtuse PowerShell incantations for tasks that can't be done in any of them.

        [1] They are:

        - The old control panel from Windows 3/95, with the separate Administrative Tools section from NT4/2000.

        - Windows Settings from Windows 8/2012

        - mmc. Some of the modules are exposed separately in Administrative Tools

        - Server Manager

        And of course there's also the registry editor

  5. Blackjack Silver badge

    As if I needed even more reasons to not use Ubuntu

    Next thing you know you will need a Google/Canonical Account.

    The thing is just Debian with a nice paint job.

    1. my cats breath smells like cat food

      Re: As if I needed even more reasons to not use Ubuntu

      And alliteration, don't forget the cutesy nominative alliteration.

      And to be honest, I find the paint job to be fscking hideous.

    2. nijam Silver badge

      Re: As if I needed even more reasons to not use Ubuntu

      > The thing is just Debian with a nice paint job.

      Well, for the last few years, Debian has been Debian with a nice paint job. Ubuntu has been busy making itself superfluous since (at least) that daft Unity desktop.

  6. Elledan Silver badge

    Drop Mir

    Canonical spent the past years working on the Mir display server; a project which went essentially nowhere even as it continues to limp along. Imagine if they had put all that time, effort and money into improving GTK or heck, building its own GUI toolkit.

    Between the Snap debacle and now this Flutter thing for an essential part of the operating system, one has to wonder what Canonical's thought processes are behind these decisions. What are the chances that Google will drop Flutter in ~2 years from now, and leave Canonical to do the maintenance for not just itself, but the entire community it has managed to attract by then?

    When it comes to Linux, I'm primarily a Manjaro (XFCE) user, so little of what Ubuntu does affects me. Even so, it does have the effect of making me glad to not be on the Debian side of the fence. Thanks, Ubuntu. /s

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: Drop Mir

      And let's not forget needing to log in a Canonical account. to use Ubuntu Core, next thing you know they will do the same on main Ubuntu.

      As soon as I get a bigger hard disk I am moving to Linux Mint Debian Edition.

  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge


    Flutter "doesn't even follow any GTK and GNOME HIG [Human Interface Guidelines] or style

    Sounds like a good reason for it given how awful most GTK apps are…

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021