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FreeBSD to Get a New Graphical Installer for Easier Installation

Yes, you can get a nice graphical installer for FreeBSD in the upcoming release.

The FreeBSD Foundation is developing a new graphical installer for FreeBSD, aimed at making the installation and initial system setup process more convenient for beginners. The new installer is expected to increase the attractiveness of the system for users who are accustomed to graphical installers and perceive text interfaces as outdated. Additionally, the graphical installation mode allows for the creation of a more holistic environment in assemblies that use FreeBSD as the basis for running custom environments.

The current FreeBSD installer is a terminal-based installation, and it is there since the beginning. There was not much of a change happened. But there is a reason for it. It is completely functional and perfect for server installations.

The new installer uses the existing infrastructure of the bsdinstall installer and retains the possibility of a console installation mode. The graphical interface of the new installer is implemented by replacing the toolkit for building console dialogs bsddialog with the new gbsddialog toolkit, which uses dialogs and widgets based on the GTK library. This approach allows for the implementation of the ability to install in graphical mode, while using the existing infrastructure of the bsdinstall installer.

A working implementation of the new installer is already ready for testing, and the patches necessary for its integration into the main structure have been proposed for review. For inclusion in bsdinstall, interfaces translated to bsddialog for adding a user, setting an administrator password, and selecting a time zone are proposed, as well as components for selecting an implementation of the dialog utility based on the value of the $DIALOG environment variable and support for activating graphical mode.

Here’s a demo video of the installer in action:

The new graphical installer is expected to make the installation process more user-friendly and accessible to a wider range of users. The use of the GTK library will provide a modern interface design, making the installation process more intuitive and user-friendly.

In addition to the development of the new graphical installer, the FreeBSD Foundation is also working on several other projects and initiatives, including the improvement of the sound stack, the implementation of a new library for accessing system calls, and the development of a backend for the pkg package manager.

All of these changes are coming in the upcoming release of FreeBSD 15.

Via FreeBSD Q1 report

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