One natural division in user documentation consists of splitting instructions you use once from instructions you use again and again. In a theoretical software life cycle, you only install or upgrade once, but you may backup and restore many times. Hence we tuck install and upgrade instructions in an Installation Guide we barely expect readers to scan. We then feature backup and restore instructions in an Administration Guide we expect will be well-thumbed, full of notes and bookmarks.
Yet for those of us primarily working with software rather than maintaining software operationally, installs (and uninstalls) turn out to be what we do more than anything else. Open source software increases the likelihood we spend even more time installing and uninstalling, as no evaluation method beats trying the software out for yourself.
Barriers to install and uninstall — buy before you try, or the sheer difficulty of getting things up and running — no doubt hurt software quality beyond installation, too. Bugs hide under cover, in the shadows.
Take a test drive starting from http://www.forgerock.org/opendj.html.
(Cross-posted from http://marginnotes2.wordpress.com/.)