Taking into account hardware requirements, chances are that you will have a DVD reader. I think its a bit silly to keep limiting ubuntu size to 700MB.

If they switched to DVD size (4,7 GB) we could

  • Include more apps, not only more but also better. They claim that they don't include VLC because it doesn't fit so instead they include Totem which is a much worse player.
  • Live CD and Instalation would be faster, since they wouldn't need compression at all, or maybe a much lower compression rate.

And for those who only have a CD player, offer a ripped version (like Alternate CD).

  • This question is no longer valid since the ISO images are now >700 MB in size. Jul 17, 2015 at 21:52

13 Answers 13


In an interview Mark Shuttleworth talks about the strategy around this issue:

Any plans on changing the one-cd strategy, to get room for more standard tools, like say a daemon administration tool and a firewall?

No, it’s a good discipline, we need to get better at helping people find things like those tools of yours, after they install and forcing less on them up front.


I am guessing it has something to do with wanting to make it available to as many people as possible, while the hardware isn't the real issue, the amount of time it would take to download a 1+gb is rather long. Plus, not everyone has high speed internet, or have limits, say 5gbs a month... which a 4 gb download would eat it all up in one download.

  • 1
    Then download the alternate CD. Most people do have a DVD reader (from vista, DVD was required)
    – Ignacio
    Oct 28, 2010 at 23:33
  • XP is still responsible for 60% of the market: netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10 Oct 28, 2010 at 23:52
  • @lovinglinux: The statistics only shows users with internet access ...
    – ddeimeke
    Oct 29, 2010 at 4:09
  • @ddeimeke Yes, but who else will download Ubuntu? Oct 29, 2010 at 4:28
  • @lovinglinux Why download? Lots of people in Africa are using Ubuntu, they don't even have a DVD drive.
    – ddeimeke
    Oct 29, 2010 at 5:58

Because not everyone has broadband or unlimited download quotas.

  • 7
    Even people with broadband do not want to download 2+gb if they can help it. >_< Oct 29, 2010 at 0:03
  • Indeed. I have a decent broadband and I don't want it. Oct 29, 2010 at 0:11
  • A DVD installer you can buy like the OpenSUSE one would be nice. Though not essential. Oct 29, 2010 at 0:13

A lot of computers with sufficient hardware to run Ubuntu have a DVD reader, but only a CD Burner. And Burning the CD is kind of an important step ;-)


Because, IMHO:

  • It needs to be put on USB Flash drives (which are still below 4 GB for the majority of people) for booting into netbooks.

  • They may want to emulate Windows XP setup disk.

  • Some people have FAT32 partitions which would render errors for DVD downloads (max 4 GB).

  • Some computers still do not have a DVD drives (a basement server made from an old CD computer, refurbished computers in schools, etc.).

  • 1
    That it uses DVD doesn't mean that it will be full 4,7 GB. It can perfectly be 2gb. Also I doubt that if you have a FAT32 partition (Windows 98), your hardware will support Ubuntu. If you want it for a server I doubt you will choose the desktop edition. Pick the server edition instead.
    – Ignacio
    Oct 28, 2010 at 23:36
  • @Ignacio: Ubuntu works fine on my 10 year old Pentium III that came with Win98 originally, and it works fine on older hardware than that.
    – JanC
    Oct 29, 2010 at 8:56
  • @Ignacio: I use FAT32 partitions even now because NTFS is more dangerous to write under Linux, and so do a lot of other people. IMHO it will be fully safe to write earliest in the year 2014.
    – iugamarian
    Nov 1, 2010 at 0:04

you can also buy ubuntu at half price books or check out this website http://distrowatch.com/ they sell thumb drives and CDs


In countries like mine it pays to keep the installation media pretty small. What you install after is a matter of choice and ability. I do agree that a DVD version with some more umph would be great though.


Try Edubuntu, it ships on DVD


It does come in DVD sizes.. I keep one handy just in case.



Include more apps

I don't want more apps. I'm already uninstalling a bunch of unwanted apps and bulky libraries they depend on after a fresh install. Why should I have to download them just to have to get rid of them? Adding apps from repos is easy and results in less wasted bandwidth.

Sure, I install a lot of extra apps that aren't currently ubuntu-desktop deps. But they're probably not the same ones you install.

they don't include VLC because it doesn't fit so instead they include Totem which is a much worse player.

Well that's very much a matter of opinion. VLC's a great player, in particular for its format support, but Totem, as a standard part of the GNOME desktop, fits the UI much better. All the Gstreamer stuff is coming along anyway, so installing the comparatively small Totem front-end is a no-brainer.

So I install VLC, yes, but could I claim it's an essential for the average desktop user? No. Indeed, parts of its interface, like the playlist, are pretty clumsy and newbie-hostile.

Live CD and Instalation would be faster, since they wouldn't need compression at all

The installation process is disk IO-bound. The CPU usage from decompression is not a bottleneck.


I don't believe that increasing the size of the disk image would allow Canonical to include more applications as the ~700MB CD image, when expanded and installed, eventually takes up ~4GB of drive space anyway.

There's no need to include an advanced application such as VLC as most average computer users have no need for it, and that's who Ubuntu is targeted at, and Totem fulfils their needs (and mine as a semi-power user and developer). If someone is in a situation where they need to use programs like VLC, GIMP and Inkscape, then they probably already know that they exist and how to get them.

Ubuntu's (this applied to Linux in general TBH) strength is that it meets the requirements of the majority of users with a footprint considerably smaller than that of Windows, and in fact I think during each development cycle Canonical should be finding ways to streamline the size of Ubuntu, not increase it.


Older computers can't read DVDs, and a lot of people put Ubuntu on older machines to give them a second life, I doubt this is the main reasoning, but it is a factor to keep in mind.


Ubuntu is moved to DVD

Ubuntu moved to dvd from ubuntu 12.10 onwards, Now ubuntu developers can breath easily (no size limit of cd):)

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