Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ubuntu will longer fit onto a 700 MB CD after recent update

For the past few releases, the file size of the ISO was coming dangerously close to the 700 MB mark, something that also limited features in some way from making their way into the distro. Everything had a file size, and some files were even compressed on the disc to save space. Even wallpapers took a bit of space.

The news came from Canonical’s Kate Stewart on the Ubuntu Mailing list, who wrote:
There  is no longer a traditional CD sized image, DVD or alternate image, but rather a single 800MB Ubuntu image that can be used from USB or DVD.  
Ubuntu Server, however, remains unaffected by this size change.

Why the increase?
1. Well there is many reasons for this to happen, but the main reason why is to give developers some breathing room. Developers can feel a bit relaxed with they they are creating. This is not that much of a space increase, but you want to keep from bumping put the max file size a lot at one time to avoid the distro from becoming bloated.

Before, developers and Ubuntu maintainers have had to made hard decisions on what to include on the disc image and what can't make its way in. You got to feel bad in this scenario because you don't want to be the one that has to say "no" to a package because you don't have enough space.

2. Secondly, ‘consolidation’ of images and developer effort will play a part.

Prior to Ubuntu 12.10 alternate installer and DVD-sized .iso’s were available to download alongside the main ‘LiveCD’ image. The more images produced, the more time that has to be spent by developers in compiling, checking, bug testing and reviewing each specific build. For Ubuntu 12.10 both of these have been retired.

Comparison to older releases
Here is a comparison of iso size from Ubuntu releases over the years, leading up the the latest 12.10 beta.

  • Ubuntu 12.10 Beta 1 745MB
  • Ubuntu 12.04.1 695MB
  • Ubuntu 11.10 695MB
  • Ubuntu 11.04 685MB
  • Ubuntu 10.10 693MB
  • Ubuntu 10.04.4 694MB
  • Ubuntu 9.10 690MB
  • Ubuntu 9.04 699MB
  • Ubuntu 8.10 699MB
  • Ubuntu 8.04 699MB
  • Ubuntu 7.10 696MB
  • Ubuntu 7.04 698MB
  • Ubuntu 6.10 698MB
  • Ubuntu 6.06 696MB
  • Ubuntu 5.04 627MB
  • Ubuntu 5.04 625MB
  • Ubuntu 4.10 643M
Installing Ubuntu From Now on Onward
For now on, you will not be able to use a CD. That part is obvious. You are not left in the dark, though. You do have other options, and some actually have benefits over using the CD in the first place. You have these options of installing Ubuntu:
  1. Via DVD
  2. Via USB device, such as a flash drive or memory card
  3. Via the update manager's update distro feature
  4. WUBI
You won't have an alternative CD, because of reasons specified above in the first few paragraphs. How have you installed Ubuntu recently (or in the past, it doesn't matter)? Let me know in the comments below.