There are many ways to install Ubuntu on a computer, some of which are simpler and easier than others.
WUBI (Windows Ubuntu Installer) is an example of the easy approach. It offers the Ubuntu curious a relatively safe way to install Ubuntu on their PC from within Windows – negating the need for disk partitioning and adding an easy way to ‘uninstall it’ through Windows ‘Add or Remove’ feature.
Currently, when a user inserts an Ubuntu CD or USB image into a computer running Windows, a window pops up with a set of options. Once of these is to proceed with installing the OS under Windows. The following simple-screen is then presented.
But changes to way the way the tool is provided in Ubuntu 12.04 are now being discussed.
Canonical’s Rick Spencer, in a mail to the Ubuntu Development mailing list, proposes disabling the ‘install’ feature when an Ubuntu 12.04 USB or CD is inserted into a computer running Windows.
This change, he argues, would be of overall benefit to Ubuntu users and Windows users: -
1. We will be able to do maintenance and enhancements to wubi outside of the Ubuntu development cycle.
2. Significant reduciton of QA work for an already over-streched QA team.
3. Better overall 12.04 quality, and less stress at release time.
4. We won’t get stuck with a poor (or worse) user experience on the CD since is a good chance that wubi will not work properly with Windows 8.
I am proposing these changes to the plan because:
1. The key use case for wubi is being able to download and run the installer on Windows, not installing from the ISO.
2. Wubi is difficult to test, so has been difficult to assure that it will meet the quality standards we have set for 12.04.
3. There are no developers treating wubi as their top priorities. This combined with the QA difficulties has historically caused late breaking changes that add stress at release time and frequentily invalidate already executed ISO testing.
4. Most significantly, Windows is changing it’s boot system with Windows 8, and it’s not clear how wubi will work with Windows 8, if at all.
Not the end of WUBI
No decision has been decided at the time of writing, but it’s important to note that WUBI installation would continue to be possible, and supported, but would require a separate download of the WUBI installer from the Ubuntu website.
Do you use WUBI? Would you miss not being able to install Ubuntu within Windows directly from the CD?