Ubuntu 12.04 installation wizard doesn’t make it clear what is being done

Problem

I need to upgrade an old Ubuntu installation on a laptop at work. The laptop runs version 11.10 of the operating system and I need to upgrade it to 12.04. I know 12.10 will be out soon but our administrators decided to go for 12.04 because it is a LTS. Anyway, I had the option to just upgrade the 11.10 to 12.04 or go for a clean install. Since there was no important data or software on the old laptop, I decided to upgrade. But the installation wizard isn’t very clear about what it’s going to do.

Ubuntu 12.04 installation type

The installation wizard asks for installation type and I have 4 options none of which clearly indicates a clean install:

  • Install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS alongside Ubuntu 11.10
  • Upgrade Ubuntu 11.10 to Ubuntu 12.04
  • Erase Ubuntu 11.10 and reinstall
  • Something else

I don’t want to install 12.04 alongside 11.10 and I don’t want to upgrade 11.10. The closest option to what I want to do is “Erase Ubuntu 11.10” but I don’t want to reinstall it. When the word “reinstall” follows “11.10”, it can be interpreted in user’s mind as the reinstall is going to install 11.10 again. In fact the word “reinstall” should not be used at all because it is confusing. I don’t want to install 11.10 again! The extra comment under this option doesn’t help either. It is just a warning that all data will be lost.

Now if you are a Linux expert you may thing I’m being too picky but that error could be easily avoided with good copywriting which is part of the user experience.

Having faith in the fact that Ubuntu programmers would not install version 11.10 right when I’m in the installation process for 12.04, I chose that option [in doubt and fear of loosing time].

Solution

Rephrase that option to something like this:

Erase Ubuntu 11.10 and install Ubuntu 12.04 instead

Simple, expressive and clear!

Notes

As usual, I tried contacting the developers about this bug (but#1070235). I’ll share any feedback they may have on this issue.

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