The Ubuntu LiveCD is Dead
It’s official: the Ubuntu Live CD* is dead.
Ubuntu 12.10 will increase the maximum size of its disc image from 700MB to 800MB, thereby making it too big to fit onto traditional CD-R media.
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 remains unaffected by the switch.
Why The Increase?
The reasoning behind the increase is likely to be two-fold.
Firstly, an extra 100MB of space on the disc gives developers more breathing room. As apps, packages and their dependencies become larger so to does the ‘foot print’ needed for them on the CD.
In the past this has resulted in tough choices have to made as to what can ship on the CD and what can’t.
But the buffer remains small enough to enforce discipline and thrift, thus making sure that developers keep the default install as trim as possible. This ‘thrift’ is already evident: the Ubuntu 12.10 Beta image clocks in at 745MB.
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.
But for Ubuntu 12.10 both of these have been retired.
How It Compares to Older Releases
The increase means that the standard live CD for Ubuntu 12.10 will displace Ubuntu’s 8.04 to 9.04 as the largest sized releases.
Disc sizes for Ubuntu Releases (standard live desktop 32bit iso)
- 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
How to Install Ubuntu 12.10 From Now On
So Ubuntu 12.10 won’t fit on a your regular blank CDs, but is it really that much of a problem?
Most PCs and Laptops made within the last 6-7 years ship with DVD drives. And external USB powered DVD writers are easy and cheap to come by, as is blank DVD media.
USB installs have been long-supported in Ubuntu, too. In fact Ubuntu ships with an Live USB creator by default, and there are similar apps available for Windows and OS X.
So this change, despite adding a little extra waiting time to your download, isn’t likely to prove much of a problem for most users. And where a laptop or device is so old that it can’t support DVD or USB booting it’s probably not going to be ‘fast enough’ to run the new ‘Unified Unity’ anyway, so a CD-sized Ubuntu spin like Lubuntu would make more sense.