Installer framework Calamares at a glance

Processing Tabs

The nitty-gritty starts in the next tab: partitioning. In the top line, the software shows you whether the medium was booted via the BIOS or UEFI, and whether MBR or GPT was used. You also select the storage device.

In the simplest case, you use the Replace Partition option to take advantage of storage space for the installation without changing the size or the filesystem. You also have the option to erase the disk and install in the space this frees up.

The third path takes you to manual partitioning. This is where you can modify partitions in terms of size, filesystem, mount point and label, or write a new partition table. You can also determine where the bootloader – optionally systemd or GRUB – ends up.

Let Me In

The User tab proves less critical, but still comes with some minor pitfalls. Next to the input fields for names and passwords, there are two checkboxes on the page. One is for automatic login without a password. This is useful for machines that you use on your own, and where you always use the same session.

The second option is the Calamares default, and also the default for some distros, which envisages a password for the main user and root. Here you need to make a conscious decision about what you want to do. If you uncheck the box, this opens up another prompt for a separate administrator password (Figure 6). If you want to change this default value for a distribution to be composed, you will find the parameter in /etc/calamares/modules/users.conf. You can configure the sudo mechanism there, if necessary.

Figure 6: In the case of Apricity, a Calamares-based installer, the default setting creates the same password for root and the user.

At a Glance

Below Summary, you again see all the settings you configured and their impact (Figure 7). Before beginning, the Install tab prompts you one last time to make sure that you want to start the process. After confirmation, a bar visualizes the progress of the installation.

Figure 7: The summary of the chosen parameters (in this case, Manjaro) shows what the installer will do with the system as soon as you initiate the setup.

During the installation, you can display a kind of slideshow with details of the distribution and configuration. The procedure is usually completed in a couple of minutes. The last tab provides information about completing the installation and prompts you to reboot.

If you are interested in building Calamares itself, or understanding the configuration, the wiki on GitHub [5] will help. You can find the appropriate files below /etc/calamares/ on live media equipped with Calamares.

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