Vanilla OS - is this good for new users

In the March issue of Linux Magazine there is an announcement of the initial release of an Ubuntu derivative called Vanilla OS. It says

“… key features of Vanilla OS include its own installer (written in GTK4 and libadwaita) , a handy first setup application to guide users through the first steps, an OS Control Centre to help you install drivers and run things such as critical updates, and on demand immutability.”

Bearing in mind some recent discussions on how to help new users, I wonder if someone with Ubuntu experience could try an install and let us know whether this new OS might be helpful to a first time user.

Downloads are here

Website is

It is No 88 on distrowatch.

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VanillaOS was reviewed Sort of by Jesse of Distrowatch. Without much success.
VinillaOS review

I had a look . That review attempt does not sound very encouraging.
Maybe we should wait for next release
What attracted me was they were supposed to have put effort into making the install process easy.

I haven’t tried it yet but sounds like it needs more work before I recommend it to a Newbie.
On the other hand Mint is rock solid and a good choice for new user, IMHO. Kubuntu LTS another good choice.

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I read the article from 12/30/2022 on IT’S FOSS and installed it using VirtualBox.

It was OK, but I didn’t see any particular advantage for new or experienced users. This was only a few hours of casual use so I can’t really give a thumbs up or down.

At least it needs more trials, and probably more work too, before even a candidate fir new users.

Sounds like it is just different, but that does not necessarily make it easy.

I read the itsFOSS article
It is not as negative as the Distrowatch Review.
they dont push it for new users.
It does not solve any new user issues, and it may be unstable.

OK, I can’t resist putting on my Monday morning, grumpy, I’ve-used Linux-since-before-Slackware, hat - just temporarily though.

There’s already a perfectly good vanilla version of Ubuntu that’s always been synonymous with stability. It’s called DEBIAN!!

Grumpy Cat Annoyed Face GIF

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Debian install script is a bit hazardous for a new user. It needs a sanity check. For example I recently did a Debian 11 install and it refused to let me NOT install grub. That option should always be there.
Debian itself is fine. Its stability is important to a new user. All the distros recommended for new users (eg Mint, MX, Ubuntu) are Debian derivatives. They are recommended for 2 reasons

  • decent install scripts
  • stability

I have installed all 3 of them and currently running 2 of them. If a person knows a little bit about disk partitions it is an easy install.


Yeah thats the bottom line. Just a tiny bit of knowledge and understanding will get a first time user up and running.

Vanilla OS is not a good choice for new users. I was mislead by the hype. It may get there one day.


The Debian installer is my biggest complaint about the distro but mainly the partitioner component even in their graphical installer which, oddly enough, is in some ways less intuitive than its ncurses counterpart.

Slackware still uses the old ncurses installer and there’s not anything confusing about it because the obvious next step also happens to be the correct one. For partitioning, Slackware sends you to a terminal with instructions to run cfdisk, which is simpler and makes more sense than Debian’s partitioning tool.

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Shame they don’t all do that… unbelievable that installing REL8 or 9 for a HEADLESS SERVER - still expects to run a GUI installer by default… Sure - there are work arounds, but Red Hat / Oracle / CentOS et cetera text / console based installers are GARBAGE compared to Debian, and even Ubuntu (I quite like their subiquity installer for Ubuntu server).

I always use the ncurses installer. Void has that only, like slackware.
I think Debian’s installer has become worse recently. It seems to want to make decisions for you, instead of offering options. Debian, once installed, is a fine distro.

Your point about ordering of steps is quite important. A lot of graphics interfaces have that same problem… no obvious sequence of actions.

One thing I would like to see in an installer would be some way of scripting what you have done. Maybe to a flashdrive.

I seem to remember one installer (I think Void) that drops you into gparted for the partitioning step. I liked that…

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