The Ubuntu Manual project today released the first Alpha of the highly popular and eagerly anticipated “beginners guide”.

We interviewed the Ubuntu Manual project leader Benjamin Humphrey a few weeks back (see here) so if you’re not sure what this project is all about you’d be best to start there.

New Name
The Manual now has a new name: “Getting Started with Ubuntu 10.04”.

New Chapters
Out of the anticipated 150 pages, of which 85 are in the Alpha, the first half will be dedicated to ‘beginners’ and the latter will cover more ‘advanced’ topics.

Benjamin explains that: –

“It’s set out in a logical order, so it begins with an introduction and then moves into explaining your desktop and the default apps etc… we don’t even mention the CLI till the “advanced” section. It’s designed to have a very easy learning curve.”

The final version will see screenshots, glossary, margin notes and clickable contents.

Screenshots & Translations
The aim is for the manual to be available in over 30 languages and whilst not all of these are completed as of the alpha the project will enter a “freeze” on Match 18th to allow the writing to catch up.

Similarly the manual is void of screenshots currently (because Lucid will look slightly different to Karmic) so screenshots will start making their way in around Lucid Beta time.

Title Page
The title page is still yet to be decided, but the Alpha sports a fresh design nonetheless. (see image at top of article) A team of 5 artists are working on the artwork – style, icons, title page, etc – so you can expect some awesomely good stuff.

Installed in Lucid?
We asked Benjamin about the potential for Lucid inclusion back in our interview. At the time it wasn’t yet decided and, annoyingly, it still isn’t. It does seems unlikely that it will be installed by default in lucid simply because the project was convinced after UDS-L (which is where all the decisions are made).

Regardless the manual WILL be available via the official repo (sudo apt-get install beginners-guide, perhaps?) and will be available to download via a soon-to-come official site.

Long Term Plans? Xubuntu Manual, Kubuntu Manual
You’re hearing it here first but amongst the plans for the Manual post-lucid are creating Xubuntu and Kubuntu derivatives (Hey guys, show Lubuntu some love, too!)

Also on the cards is an HTML5 version of the manual hosted on the forthcoming website that will allow non-bootable systems or borked repo-users access and help.

Keep Track
As always you can follow the Manual progress at the following links: –

Download The Alpha Manual

Do bear in mind the manual is currently 25% done! It is not finished so don’t sit feeling cheated if you’re reading a chapter only to find a leading ampersand with nothing after it!