Proposal to drop Ubuntu alternate CDs for 12.10

Steve Langasek steve.langasek at
Mon Aug 27 21:50:24 UTC 2012

Dear developers,

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce the number of images we ship for
Ubuntu, and to make the desktop image more useful in a variety of scenarios,
Dmitrijs Ledkovs has been hard at work in quantal adding support for LVM,
cryptsetup, and RAID to ubiquity.

The good news is that this means today we already have support in ubiquity
for cryptsetup and LVM in the guided partitioner, with manual partitioning
support soon to follow.  The somewhat bad news is that we will not have
support for RAID setup in ubiquity this cycle.

I would like to propose that, in spite of not reaching 100% feature parity,
we drop the Ubuntu alternate installer for 12.10 anyway.

The arguments that I see in favor of this are:

 - RAID is relatively straightforward to turn on post-install.  You install
   to one disk, boot to the system, assemble a degraded RAID with the other
   disks, copy your data, reboot to the degraded RAID, and finally merge
   your install disk into the array.  It's not quick, but it's *possible*.
 - Desktop installs on RAID will still be supported by other paths: using
   either netboot or server CDs and installing the desktop task.
 - RAID on the desktop really is a minority use case.  Laptops almost never
   have room for more than one hard drive; desktops can but are rarely
   equipped with them.  So the set of affected users is very small.  Some
   rough analysis of bug data in launchpad suggests a very liberal upper
   bound of .8% of desktop users.
 - RAID on the desktop correlates with conservatism in other areas:  we can
   probably continue to recommend 12.04 instead of 12.10 for the affected
 - It lets us tighten our focus on making the desktop CD shine: fewer images
   to QA, fewer different paths to get right (like the CD apt upgrader case)
   means more time to focus on the things that matter.

So my opinion is that we should drop the Ubuntu alternate CDs with Beta 1. 
Other flavors are free to continue building alternate CDs (i.e.,
"debian-installer" CDs) according to their preference, but we would drop
them for Ubuntu and direct users to one of the above-mentioned alternatives
if they care about RAID on desktop installs.

Please note one implication here that, with the possibility of not having
i386 server CDs for 12.10, the only install option for an i386 user wanting
RAID on a desktop would be to install via netboot or with the mini ISO.

Do any of you see reasons for not making this change, and dropping the
alternate CDs?  Are there shortcomings to the proposed fallback solutions
that we haven't identified here?

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                          
slangasek at                                     vorlon at
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