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Operating Systems Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Quietly Raises Install Image Size to 2GB (omgubuntu.co.uk) 154

Joey-Elijah Sneddon, reporting for OMGUbuntu: You can expect to see a larger Ubuntu desktop installation image by the time the Yakkety Yak yips out. Developers are currently debating the exact size limits that official flavours will adhere to, with some favouring a 2GB hard limit while others are looking to go full-DVD size at 4.7GB+. Canonical's Steven Langasek explains the plans for Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak: "I've finally gone ahead and bumped the limit on Ubuntu desktop images to 2GB for a minimally-sized USB stick; this gives us a new limit that I think we will care about, while also leaving us headroom so we're not constantly fighting it back down to the line." The Ubuntu ISO is supposed to be around the 1GB mark but has creeped past this in recent releases. The current Ubuntu 16.04 LTS desktop .iso is 1.4GB.
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Ubuntu Quietly Raises Install Image Size to 2GB

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  • With 32 gig usb sticks so cheap, there's no reason not to make it the size of a full dvd or more. This way, multiple installations would not have to individually download tons of packages. It would "just work."
    • I wouldn't call 32GB USB drives "cheap" just yet, but you're right that a limit of 2GB "because of USB flash drives" is an extremely low target. I'm not even sure I'd be able to find 4GB or even 8GB drives in stores anymore.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I mean there's cheap and there's throw them out because you don't like the color cheap.

        I just bought a 128 GB SANDisk USB3 stick from Amazon for $31.

        How cheap does a 32GB drive need to be to be cheap?

        I already think they're cheap enough that I wish Microsoft would quit refusing to install and boot from USB drives as a kind of copy protection.

        • How cheap does a 32GB drive need to be to be cheap?

          I'd say cheaper than the overage fees to download an OS installer over a cellular or satellite data network.

        • I mean there's cheap and there's throw them out because you don't like the color cheap.

          I just bought a 128 GB SANDisk USB3 stick from Amazon for $31.

          How cheap does a 32GB drive need to be to be cheap?

          I already think they're cheap enough that I wish Microsoft would quit refusing to install and boot from USB drives as a kind of copy protection.

          Well, you could buy 10 2GB flash drives for less than that and give 9 of them to your friends with Linux ready to be installed ( http://www.amazon.com/10pcs-Sw... [amazon.com]).

          Put differently, how many people are going to spend $31 to try out this thing called Linux?

          • by swb ( 14022 )

            Put differently, how many people are going to spend $31 to try out this thing called Linux?

            Less than the number of people who will just wipe the USB stick you just gave them without ever booting it and fill it with porn or MP3s.

          • Put differently, how many people are going to spend $31 to try out this thing called Linux?

            $31 is the price for a 128GB, you don't need anywhere even close to that much space for a Linux install. Plus we've had live cds/dvds for many many years and now even have an online way to try Linux [ubuntu.com]. The barrier to entry is ridiculously low, if the uptake isn't happening then most definitely something else is the problem.

      • A 10-disk install on 3-1/4 floppies (at $3 a disk) costs more than a 32-gig drive nowadays. TigerDirect has USB 3.0 64 gig usb keys for under $20 today, and 32gig for $8. $8. for 32 gigs is pretty darned cheap, all things considered, especially if you can boot off it and give life back to that laptop when the soldered-in hard drive dies and there's no DVD drive, which is the trend nowadays.
        • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

          I like to think that i've had a lot of laptops apart over the years and I have never seen one that the hdd was not replaceable.

          I do see a lot of them with no disc drive nowadays though.

          If it was made in the last 10 years i'd like to know the model and who made it so I can be sure and avoid it.

          • Plenty of them have a soldered-in hard drive, including this 2-yer-old Acer. It's easier to just add an external USB drive than futzing around, and by the time it's full, it will be due to be replaced anyway.
            • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

              This ive got to see someone has made the most failure prone part non replaceable and simultanusly decided to pay more for a drive with a non standard interface.

              • They probably paid less, since there's no need for the drive caddy, and when you order in the millions, they'll make it the way you want it.

                I opened up mine to see if I could install a second drive, and I was quite surprised. The tracings are there, so if I wanted to solder one in, why not? And the drive currently in there doesn't have the edge connector. Soldered right in.

                Planned obsolescence, plus cheaper to make, sounds like a win/win. As long as it lasts 3-4 years, nobody's going to cry - by then a ne

                • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

                  Alright maybe I'm just getting bad at using google. But I can't find any mention of a acer laptop with a non replaceable.

                  Could you please tell me the model number of yours?

      • I'm not even sure I'd be able to find 4GB or even 8GB drives in stores anymore.

        Newegg has plenty of 4GB USB sticks — if you don't mind waiting two weeks for it to arrive from China. Today's special is a three-pack of 8GB USB sticks for $10.

        http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA4AJ1H87282&ignorebbr=1 [newegg.com]

      • by dougmc ( 70836 )

        I'm not even sure I'd be able to find 4GB or even 8GB drives in stores anymore.

        Both are quite easy to find at the store, http://www.walgreens.com/q/fla... [slashdot.org]">even convenience stores like Walgreens.

        2 GB ... that's hard to find, and I'd say that 4 GB is on the way out (but still easy to find). 8 GB ... that'll probably be around for a while.

        In any event, I've got lots of 4 GB sticks around, and so I do appreciate it when an install image fits on one because I can just put the install image on it, label it ... and then use it as needed. A larger stick, and I might be inclined to erase

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        I wouldn't call 32GB USB drives "cheap" just yet, but you're right that a limit of 2GB "because of USB flash drives" is an extremely low target. I'm not even sure I'd be able to find 4GB or even 8GB drives in stores anymore.

        Well, 4GB drives are hard, and I think I saw 8GB ones at the dollar store for around $3 or so. Which is basically cheap and free - I think people give away 4/8GB sticks nowadays. 16GB sticks are maybe $5-10 or so.

      • I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a 4GB drive in stores, even the bargain stores like Big Lots have 8Gb sticks now for under $5 so having a 2GB limit is really dumb.

        I'd say a standard DVD should be the limit simply because 1.- USB sticks below 8GB are getting harder and harder to find and 2.- DVD burners have been pretty much standard issue for so long in desktops that they are pretty much ubiquitous.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's probably limited to 2GB to stay compatible with FAT32 max file size. I guess some people mount .iso files or something like that.

    • by LichtSpektren ( 4201985 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @11:15AM (#52028051)
      Ubuntu's not just for the developed world. There are many places where a 2 GB USB stick costs more than the average daily wage.
      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        Of course, the relative cost compared to the device being plugged into is low. If one can't afford 2GB USB key, then affording the device to install onto is a challenge.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          I imagine it's for a situation where the computer was donated to you, possibly as a hand-me-down from an upgrade, but a flash drive wasn't. Or for a situation where the computer and a flash drive were donated to you, but 2 GB of data transfer allowance wasn't. Here in the USA, if you aren't in the service area of a fiber, cable, or DSL provider, 2 GB of cellular or satellite data is more expensive than even a 16 GB flash drive.

      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        Ubuntu's not just for the developed world. There are many places where a 2 GB USB stick costs more than the average daily wage.

        Wouldn't it make more sense to use a DVD-R in those cases?

      • Insightful? Really mods? Let me asking you a simple question....which do you think is more expensive in the developing world, an 8GB USB stick or 4GB+ of bandwidth to download all the stuff they didn't include in the .ISO?
    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      The flip side is downloading a bunch of cruft you'll never use. It would also be a significant extra load on mirrors.
      • The flip side is downloading a bunch of cruft you'll never use. It would also be a significant extra load on mirrors.

        Not the case when you download it once and then do multiple installs. Knoppix is available on a 4gig dvd iso - lots of stuff there compared to their cd iso.

        • But it really is when you are trying out distros in a VM. It had been a while since I did it last; I was shocked as to how much they have grown over the years.

    • by MacTO ( 1161105 )

      An OS installer is something that I use once, then stick in a drawer in case I need to reinstall the OS or use it for data recovery. In other words, it's not receiving much use so I would rather dig an unused flash drive out of the drawer rather than spend money on it. I most certainly don't want to go to the trouble of getting a larger cheap drive via mail order because any local shop charges a premium for it.

    • What they really should do is just make an easier solution to making a custom image with exactly the stuff you need.
      • And where would this custom image be built? And how are you going to discover software that you didn't know you would be interested in? Or something you didn't need at the time but do now? Rebuild the installer image?
        • And where would this custom image be built? And how are you going to discover software that you didn't know you would be interested in? Or something you didn't need at the time but do now? Rebuild the installer image?

          I'm thinking somehting along the lines of:
          1. Install one system from a base image, and anything needed but not included just gets netinstalled
          2. Install any other packages you want to be part of the install image
          3. Run the image creator on that machine, which would package the cached dpkgs into the installer
          4. Run the new installer on the rest of the machines
          So then you get exactly what you need in your custom installer, without having to download anything twice. Anything you decide that you need later

    • With 32 gig usb sticks so cheap, there's no reason not to make it the size of a full dvd or more. This way, multiple installations would not have to individually download tons of packages. It would "just work."

      Other distros have full 4.7gb isos and people still ahve to individually download tons of packages. Of course those that do use full sized isos usually do so to allow the option of various other desktops in one iso, Are you proposing getting rid of the dirivatives like Xubuntu, Kubuntu, UbuntGnome, etc. and just have one iso to rule them all and you select the flavor you want at install time?

      Besides, not everybody on the planet has access to uncapped, very high speed internet. Why make people download a 4

      • You're only downloading the iso once, so the size isn't all that relevant. Also, the bigger it is, the more likely you won't need to download other stuff and then distribute it as well. Also, if they're sharing a computer, not everyone needs the same basic set of programs, but a full-sized iso is more likely to satisfy both their needs off-the-shelf.
  • by LichtSpektren ( 4201985 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @11:09AM (#52028019)
    The main reason why the .ISOs have grown is because lots of language support packs have been integrated directly into the installer. The size of the rest of the system has been relatively the same since 14.04.
  • it's become one big blob known only as systemd. ;)

    • I'm assuming you were joking because of the smiley, but I'd just like to point out that the Slackware 14.1 iso (uses BSD init) is 2.4 GB. Devuan beta (uses sysvinit) is 4.36 GB. So Ubuntu 16.04's (with systemd) piddling 1.4 GB seems not so bad in comparison!
  • What did you expect when Microsoft announce Ubuntu on Windows? Of course, the install image got bloated.
  • A number of sites are posting this story; and I really don't get why this is news of any interest to anyone...

    A basic DVD-R is about 4GB and you'd have to be a hoarder to still have USB sticks smaller than 4GB.

    I could also assume that the majority do not do offline installs anyway...

    Despite all that, how is the size of some OS' install media attracting so much attention? And why Ubuntu? How about OS X or MS-Windows?
    • Yeah, also why is it "quietly"? Quietly implies that there's something nefarious or suspicious going on, not just a normal adjustment due to increasing storage size available in newer technology...

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      A basic DVD-R is about 4GB and you'd have to be a hoarder to still have USB sticks smaller than 4GB.

      How much does AT&T charge for 4 GB of cellular data? Or Exede for 4 GB of satellite data? Or the Post Office to mail a 4 GB stick to and from someone with wired Internet?

    • you'd have to be a hoarder to still have USB sticks smaller than 4GB.

      Millions of 2GB flash drives were given away as swag at trade shows and through direct marketing. They aren't useless yet, unless they have reached the end of their useful life, and that only happens after a large number of *WRITE* cycles, not read cycles. Using them for Ubuntu install media is a perfect way to keep them from the landfill.

  • Multiple sizes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kreuzotter ( 13645 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @11:26AM (#52028127)

    There is no reason not to have different ISO sizes. I would love to have an ISO that fits on a CD AND one that is 32GByte big.

  • for those of us still installing slack and gentoo to servers or BSD, the additional disk requirements are really rather simple.

    soundcard support: nothing like rockin out in the datacenter to the latest skrillex mix. soundcards are critical for todays infrastructure, and drivers should be available..
    bluetooth support: how else are you going to sync your contacts or hook up your wireless mouse? datacenters are prime real estate for the mingling professional on the go, so youll need bluetooth drivers
  • If we're using the full desktop DVD .iso file for Ubuntu 16.04 (amd64), and not the Ubuntu Core, Server, or netinstall images, then it's 1.4 GB.

    Slackware 14.1 is 2.4 GB (source: http://www.slackware.com/getsl... [slackware.com] )
    FreeBSD is 2.7 GB (source: ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/Free... [freebsd.org] )
    Solaris 11.3 is 1.4 GB for the USB (source: http://www.oracle.com/technetw... [oracle.com] )
    Devuan beta is 4.36 GB (source: https://files.devuan.org/devua... [devuan.org] )
    Fedora 23 Workstation is 1.4 GB (source: https://getfedora.org/en/works... [getfedora.org] )
  • The use of optical media is dwindling. If a limit is to be selected, it should be a common flash disk size minus some overhead. Using 4.7GB as the maximum will mean everyone will be buying 8GB disks instead of 4GB disks to put the images on.
    • As far as I can tell, one should generally assume that the DVD .iso also works for live booting on a USB (sometimes this isn't the case; I found out the hard way that openSUSE 42.1 can't boot from a USB). They want to keep the image size down, both for poorer people that don't want to pay for a DVD or 4GB USB stick, and to save bandwidth on their mirrors.
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @12:45PM (#52028727) Homepage Journal

    If 2GB is a "debatable" target, the next "step up" is a 4GB USB, not a 4.7GB DVD/ISO image.

    Actually, just under 4GB if you are going to create an ISO image. You need to leave a little room on the USB stick for boot sectors, UEFI boot partitions, and other overhead so the end user can turn the ISO into a bootable USB stick. So either set the limit for the ISO image at 1.9GB or 3.9GB, but not 4.7GB.

    Also, if the ISO itself is bigger than 4GB, it can't be stored on a FAT-32 formatted USB stick. Many people still use FAT-32 for cross-platform storage devices.

  • I really can't take an OS seriously that is named Yakkety Yak. You lost me right there. What next Leprous Lemur?

  • I don't think anyone still sells brand new 2GB sticks plus 2GB + formatting = less than 2GB. Basing it on optical storage is the only thing that makes sense as a limit that has actual logic instead of arbitrary numbers.
  • Windows brought Ubuntu to Windows so Ubuntu was just following suit.

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