We've got an Asus X501A laptop (dec 2012) which has this UEFI thing. If I boot from an USB it only offers me to wipe the entire hard disc and install the new distro, or manual partitioning which I can't get my head around due to this UEFI thing. -- Note that this question has nothing to do with that other operating system named after openings in walls. Not interested in that.
Likely because there are too many partition on the HDD. The installer does offer the "alongside" option, for example, if there are only two primary partitions. I suspect you may have three or four, in which case, the installer offers either wiping everything, or manual partitioning.
If what mikewhatever says it true (namely, that Ubiquity removes "install alongside" if there are more than two partitions on a GPT disk), then that's a bug in the case of EFI/GPT systems. I didn't find any bug reports, but I might have entered the wrong search term. Perhaps somebody should file a bug report.
I can say that GPT partitioning isn't any harder for the user than is MBR partitioning. To the contrary, the lack of distinction between primary, extended, and logical partitions simplifies things greatly. (Technically, there's no such thing as a "primary partition" in GPT; there are just "partitions," with no qualifier. There can be up to 128 of them by default, although that value can be raised if necessary. Some partitioning tools insist on calling GPT partitions "primary partitions" because the tools were written with MBR disks in mind and then adapted for GPT disks.)
To partition for an EFI installation, you need:
When you set up your computer, you can share a single ESP between multiple OSes. If you prefer, you can create multiple ESPs, one for each OS or distribution; however, Windows tends to get confused by that, so if you plan to install Windows in the future, it's best to stick with one ESP. Be absolutely positive that you do not erase the ESP when you install a second or subsequent OS; if you do, you'll wipe out the boot loader(s) for earlier OSes. In fact, I recommend backing up the ESP after each OS installation so that you can restore it in case of an accident. A file-level backup (copying files with
If you prepare your partitions ahead of time, be sure to tell Ubiquity that the ESP is the ESP. IIRC, you've got to click the "Change" button and tell the program to use the ESP as an "EFI boot partition." If you don't do this, you may find that the boot loader doesn't install, or the program may refuse to continue; I don't recall precisely what happens.