The Ubuntu installation process could use more idiot-proofing with respect to checking that the Minimum System Requirements are being met BEFORE the end user gets into a frustrating situation that completely "turns them off" from Ubuntu (before they can even install it).
Namely: what if a novice user gets an Ubuntu Desktop install CD, but the Live CD grinds to a painful, eternal stall because there is not enough RAM, or the CPU is too slow?
These users wouldn't know what to do next if their computer froze on them: is their computer broken? Who is to be blamed? Themselves (making a wrong choice)? Their hardware? Ubuntu? Who? Most users haven't got any sort of troubleshooting skills or experience to narrow this down, and could very likely just give up, which would be a shame.
They should be warned about any basic hardware inadequacy BEFORE X windows starts, and they should be gracefully pointed towards doing the right thing if necessary: locating (on the internet), and downloading, and booting from the Alternate Installation CD instead.
A timely, simple script on the Live CD (run at boot time) that checks the current hardware, then prints a helpful text message on the console if necessary (halting further booting) would go a long way to saving these users a lot of frustration!
This relatively simple fix would go a long way towards making Ubuntu more "humane."
Most users installing Ubuntu will by default attempt to install from the Live CD (Desktop version). But for people with older computers that do not meet the Minimum System Requirements, they are currently expected to be technically knowledgeable enough to intelligently choose the right kind of installation CD first: Desktop Version or Alternate Installation CD.
This could be a huge stumbling block to A HUGE NUMBER of potentially new Ubuntu users, who are such novices that:
-they never RTFM, (namely https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/SystemRequirements
) and know that they should instead install from the "Alternate Installer." Moreover, these novice users don't even know what RTFM means. It would be prudent to assume that must users DO NOT READ ANY DOCUMENTATION WHATSOEVER before they attempt to use the Live CD.