There is a clear need for a comprehensive installation guide which targets novice and intermediate users. Such a guide should be written and made easily discoverable to potential new users.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please see Specs/KarmicInstallationGuide/FAQs for a list of frequently-asked questions and answers regarding the design decisions that have been made so far.

Release Note

An Installation Guide is now available to help new users get Ubuntu onto their computer with the minimum of fuss.


Despite the simplicity of our installer, the installation process is still fraught with uncertainties, technical concepts and potential errors which new users may struggle with. An official, comprehensive guide to installing Ubuntu does not currently exist, and the alternatives are not available in the most useful locations (i.e. on the Ubuntu CD or the download page).

Installation is a hot user assistance topic - 7 of the top 20 pages on the community wiki are related to installation. Failed installations are a common reason for users abandoning Ubuntu early-on in their experience. We should take this opportunity to provide some extremely useful, user-friendly documentation on the topic, which new users will be able to depend on for almost all of their installation enquiries.

Use Cases

  • Plato is thinking about installing Ubuntu, but isn't sure what the installation process would entail. Would it be a difficult technical job? Would he need to prepare for it at all? Where should he start? It's all Greek to him. A weighty treatise is required to put his mind at rest and show him the way forward.
  • Euripides' Ubuntu installation attempt failed when the bootloader threw an error after the computer restarted. Now his computer is unusable. How can he rescue himself from this tragic situation?
  • Euclid is a Windows power user, but has recently decided to try Ubuntu. He can work out how to use the installer just fine, but he's having problems with the specifics of dual boot setup. How much disk space does he need? Should he use an extended partition? A Google search offers lots of conflicting information. He needs some reliable advice to make it all add up.


  • Guide will fit onto the CD.


  • Split into small number of "chapters", each one covering a major phase in the installation. Some users may only be interested in one chapter. It will also break-up the process, making it easier to follow.

  • Within each chapter, the instructions should be sequential and targeted at novice users. Images should be used to reinforce instructions in the text.

  • More advanced information, targeted at intermediate users, should be made available in info boxes.

  • Specific, accurate information should be available, such as system requirements and estimated disk usage.

  • A useful troubleshooting section should be available, covering common issues and providing practical solutions.

  • A summary document should be written to accompany the guide, to provide users with a quick reference on key installation points.

  • Advanced installation methods, such as installing from a network, should not be covered.

  • The writing should be comprehensive, but not verbose.
  • An index should possibly be compiled for users only interested in one specific issue.
  • The beginning of the troubleshooting common problems chapter should have a list links to wiki pages for laptop specific issues (e.g. eeepc and macbook).

Proposed structure

  1. Contents

  2. Introduction

    • ~1 page
    • About this guide (what the guide is for)
    • Brief overview of Ubuntu (point to other resources for detailed info)
    • System Requirements (thought it should go here as an easily-accessible reference, but may be more appropriate elsewhere)
  3. FAQ

    • Questions frequently asked by users before they decide to install Ubuntu
    • Mostly basic stuff, like "will Windows be erased?" and "will Ubuntu run on my system?"
    • Brief, ~1 page
  4. Getting Ubuntu

    • Deciding how to install Ubuntu
      • Which method? (Live CD, wubi, flash drive)
      • Which architecture? (i386, AMD64)
    • Getting a CD image and burning it to a disc
    • Ordering a CD via ShipIt

    • Creating a disk image for a flash drive
    • Getting the Wubi installer
    • Getting the Alternate CD
      • Why would I need the Alternate CD?
  5. Installing Ubuntu

    • Running the installer
      • How to boot from CD or flash drive
      • Starting the installer
      • Step through the installer (incl. basic questions, partitioning)
      • Finishing the install, rebooting
    • Installing with Wubi
      • Step through Wubi
  6. What Next?

    • Brief section on things to do post-install (~2 pages)
    • What if I have more questions? Where can I get support?
    • How can I learn more about Ubuntu? (Point at system docs)
  7. Troubleshooting/Common Problems

    • Collection of articles on troubleshooting common problems
    • See section below on the proposed contents of this section
  8. Index

    • Comprehensive index

Common problems for the Troubleshooting section

  • I can't boot off the Live CD
  • Uninstalling Ubuntu and reinstalling Windows
  • I get no sound
  • I see no wireless access points
  • Partition created for Ubuntu is so small, I can't install anything
  • Screen resolution is wrong
  • Blank screen after installing


The document should be written in DITA (the Darwin Information Typing Architecture) or Docbook and provided in HTML and PDF formats.

UI Changes

  • Both the Live CD and Windows installers should provide a prominent link to relevant sections of the guide.
  • The download page at ubuntu.com should prominently link to the guide.
    • We may be able to integrate the guide into the website itself in later releases.

Code Changes

DITA or Docbook XML will be written from scratch. Code changes may be required in the installers to provide a link to the guide.


The Switching from Windows documentation will be removed and, where relevant, replaced by a link to the new guide.

Test/Demo Plan

The guide should be exposed to users before string freeze, in order to identify any faults and to ensure its relevance. The Ubuntu Forums are probably the best arena for this.

Unresolved issues

This should highlight any issues that should be addressed in further specifications, and not problems with the specification itself; since any specification with problems cannot be approved.

Meeting Minutes

  1. 2009-04-26 - Initial planning meeting

  2. 2009-07-02 - Planning meeting

  3. 2009-07-09 - Writers/Editor meeting

BoF agenda and discussion

Use this section to take notes during the BoF; if you keep it in the approved spec, use it for summarising what was discussed and note any options that were rejected.


Specs/KarmicInstallationGuide (last edited 2009-07-09 22:16:43 by dbcummings3174)