This page answers some of the frequently-asked questions about the design decisions that have been made regarding the new installation guide. If you have a question which isn't addressed here, please email the Ubuntu Doc Team or get in touch with the project manager, PhilBull.
Why not contribute to the installation-guide package instead of writing a new guide?
The installation-guide is a modified version of the Debian installation guide. It covers the debian-installer used by the alternate and server installs, plus several advanced installation methods such as unattended installs and booting from FTP. The guide is written at a technical level, which we would expect to be suitable for system administrators.
The purpose of the installation guide proposed in this spec is to help non-technical (i.e. "average") users install Ubuntu. We have no interest in fully documenting the capabilities of the installer or providing information on every possible method of installation. Our only goal is to help users download and install Ubuntu quickly and easily.
If we were to contribute to the existing installation-guide, we would end up with a mixture of detailed technical documentation and basic topic-based help. It would be like jamming a few chapters from a cookbook into a chemistry textbook. The basic information would obstruct the technical reader and the technical information would confuse the non-technical reader. No-one would be happy.
In summary, the aims and user groups of the existing installation-guide and the proposed installation guide are too different to allow them all to be covered in the same guide. A confusing mix of basic and advanced information would be required. We think that having separate guides (with distinct names, to avoid confusion) will work best for both user groups.
Why does the guide only cover Windows to Ubuntu migration?
People switch to Ubuntu from many different operating systems, and each installation path has its own quirks and pitfalls. A user switching from Windows might be worried about the compatibility of their scanner, whereas a user switching from Red Hat might run into problems with LVM, for example. Covering all of the possible options in one guide would be a mammoth task.
Regardless, we want to help as many people as possible with the guide. Rather than covering everything at once, we decided to concentrate on doing a really good job with one or two installation paths. By choosing the most common paths, we can help the most users with the smallest number of paths.
The most popular installation path is Windows to Ubuntu. We don't have any hard data to support this assertion apart from the relative popularity of installation topics involving Windows on the community wiki. However, it seems reasonable to assume that the bulk of non-technical Ubuntu users are former Windows users, since Windows is by far the most common desktop OS. This is why we will be focussing on Windows to Ubuntu installation paths.
That doesn't mean that users of other OSes aren't valued, or that we don't want to help them. It's just that we'd rather produce a good, focussed guide which works for a large number of users than a poor, convoluted guide that tries to get 100% coverage. Once we've completed the guide and evaluated its effectiveness, then we can start thinking about the feasibility of adding other installation routes.