Ubuntu disks are reaching capacity

I’ve been chatting in the sounder and ubuntu-devel-discuss mailing lists and something most Ubuntu users might not realize is that the Ubuntu ‘Desktop’ disks are packed almost to their limits. There is talk of removing the last remaining ‘WinFOSS’ (Firefox, Thunderbird and Abiword for Windows), but even that will only free up about 15 MB. Other tricks will free up space here and there, but eventually the 700 MB limit for CDs will be reached. So how should Ubuntu proceed?

I have made a suggestion based on a simple observation regarding consumer computers:

CD-ROMs will generally be associated with 32-bit processors. DVD-ROMs will generally be associated with 64-bit processors and newer/upgraded 32-bit systems.

Thus I proposed that:

For the 32-bit CDs, let’s have a fully functional install on a single CD. We can freeze the apps at roughly the current set and any new ones can be put in an ‘ubuntu-extras’ metapackage. 32-bit users can install the package (by themselves or by prompt at installation if they have a working network connection), but 64-bit users will have it installed by default from the DVD. This will allow a nice progression from XP-era 32-bit processor computers to a new 64-bit era (which hopefully will be software libre based :) Ubuntu development won’t be constrained to 700 MB and we can have lots of ‘WinFOSS’ on the DVDs.

I am curious to hear feedback on this from Ubuntu users out there…

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10 Responses to “Ubuntu disks are reaching capacity”

  1. Oz Says:

    Another option is to remove the many languages. I always make custom Hebrew CD’s to my friends and I found out removing lots of stuff related to languages I don’t use give me about ~200 MB for adding my own software.
    So maybe Ubuntu install CD can be distributed as versions for:
    ENGLISH languages,
    European languages.
    Latin languages
    African languages
    Middle Eastern languages
    Asian languages

    Of course each CD will have by default also english, and it would be harder to check and develop such CD’s, but this is a really good option for making more space on 1 cd !

    Cheers, Oz

  2. Limulus Says:

    I think that unfortunately that complicates matters too much; part of the idea is that you can send a disk to a place like New York City where ALL those languages are represented and you don’t have to specify the right one (I find that part of the ‘WOW’ factor for Ubuntu is that there are so many languages, including rare ones :) plus this would result in 6x the amount of CD images! Better to just switch to DVD methinks… Custom derivative CDs would be a better idea.

  3. Oz Says:

    Well, I’ve said my self this is complicated. But that’s just a crazy idea.

    Another thought I had about ubuntu development. I have an unchecked filling that ubuntu comes with a very weird collection of software that sometimes is not needed for the desktop user or it’s just a plain bad choice: here’s an example:

    AppArmor
    SELinux

    I don’t see Newbies use those libraries, and why are they needed anyway if you’re not in a corporate environment?

    Plus, MONO apps:
    I admit I don’t know if I’m right here, it’s just a gut feeling.

    I think they are to big and have to many dependencies on mono.

    Why do we need mono anyway ? we have python, perl and ruby that’s enough for base CD.

  4. Limulus Says:

    SELinux was a new introduction for Gutsy; that’s going to stay :)

    Mono… oh boy ^^; That’s a huge argument. View this post and keep clicking “Next message”:

    https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel-discuss/2007-December/002619.html

  5. tallman Says:

    That would be great!
    But the CD option should remain as the main option. I still don’t have a DVD-RW drive ;)

  6. Limulus Says:

    tallman: do you have a 32-bit or 64-bit CPU? If the former, you would still get a CD.

  7. freanir Says:

    It would be better to release a CD-Version and a DVD-Version for both platforms, because there is a huge amount of PC User who got an 32-Bit Processor and a DVD-ROM drive. It is also possible, that there are Users, who got an 64-Bit CPU and just a CD-ROM Drive. It would be a bad choice to exclude them, or to force them, to buy a DVD-ROM Drive, just fo installing Ubuntu.

  8. languy Says:

    I think that English-only live cd with a multilanguage installer would be a good solution. Of course at the system start, Ubuntu could inform user (in his/her native language) by saying ‘This cd has only the English language in menus and dialogs. The installer and the installed system will be in your native language.’

  9. Eric Lee Elliott Says:

    Can we make a way to use DVDs for all and format or write first 0.7 GB as CD, then use remainder as DVD? I have not bought CDs in years. When a bootable CD is needed I use a DV disk. Would this work in CD only drives?

  10. Limulus Says:

    Eric Lee Elliott: I’m fairly certain that what you’re describing is not possible due to the nature of the blank DVD disks.

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