Steve Langasek has laid out plans to drop Ubuntu alternate CDs beginning already with the forthcoming Ubuntu 12.10 release.
Canonical's Langasek is proposing that the Ubuntu alternate install CDs be dropped with Ubuntu 12.10 on the basis that many of the Debian Installer features are being incorporated into the Ubuntu desktop LiveCD with the Ubiquity installer. Canonical wants to drop the number of ISOs they produce and ship -- in order to reduce their support/QA burden and also for lightening up the mirror/FTP servers.
Features like cryptsetup and LVM (Logical Volume Manager) support are being integrated into the graphical Ubiquity installer for Ubuntu 12.10, but it's not yet at a 100% parity to what's offered by the alternate CD with the Debian Installer.
Steve acknowledges that Ubiquity isn't yet at a 100% feature parity, but he wants to go ahead and abandon the Ubuntu alternate CDs now in time for the Ubuntu 12.10 Beta. Yes, another case of Canonical taking a short-cut and abandoning something before its replacement is fully baked and ready.
Some of the features still to be integrated into Ubiquity is LVM manual partitioning (right now the Ubiquity LVM support is limited to guided partitioning) and then RAID support. The RAID support will not land until at least Ubuntu 13.04 for Ubiquity.
Steve Langasek wants to go ahead with killing off the alternate CDs since RAID can be handled post-install, RAID can be configured using the Ubuntu server CDs or netboot, RAID on the desktop is a minority case, RAID on the desktop correlates to conservatism in other areas (the belief they'll stick to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS instead), and that it tightens their focus to make the Ubuntu desktop CD shine.
"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."
This news was shared today on the ubuntu-devel list