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The Minimal CD will download packages from online archives at installation time instead of providing them on the install CD itself. Downloading packages at install time reduces the size of the install CD to approximately 5 to 30MB depending on architecture (see below), as well as providing only the packages needed for installation. The download time savings achieved by using a Minimal CD can be significant, as only current packages are downloaded, so there is no need to upgrade packages immediately after installation.

Source: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/MinimalCD

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