I have a computer that only accepts CD's, can't boot from USB at all, and I have a bunch of 600MB CD's. The Lubuntu install image is closer than many, at 700MB, but not quite close enough to be able to burn it. I don't want to start from a server install as it doesn't have wireless (it's a desktop) and I'm sending it to someone after installation so they need to be able to, as novice computer users, autonomously set up the thing. I need it to install with the full GUI but none of the normally included programs, like the mail client, music players, that kind of thing since they can install all of that on site with direction once it's connected to ethernet and they open the browser. Any ideas how I can install Lubuntu on this thing from an image that will fit on a CD?
Yep, you can use the mini.iso instead. It's like 32mb total and it does an install similar to tasksel like Debian or Ubuntu server where you can choose what to install and it will install it. This also allows the option to not install all the bloat you normally get with a desktop install.
BTW, I do not believe you should install any of the "live" desktops listed. I believe those are not for installation purposes.
I believe 14.04 installs a minimal command line environment first, then reboot and type
14.10 and newer have a better interface that lets you choose the desktop or apps to install right away. Just choose command line install or graphical install (I think they are actually the same).
I think I found what you are looking for, it's called "alternate install" for Lubuntu and it's for pcs that can't handle the full Lubuntu version and or need to install using a CD rather than a DVD or a USB. The iso is 617mB, however, when you burn the iso to disk it should fit within 600 because the 617 includes reserved space, title of the file, etc ...
Also, other processor versions (for older processors) are available at the Lubuntu/Alternate_ISO wiki.
Finally, if you don't have more than 700mB of RAM, you should select the installer from the first boot menu and do not select the installer from the "try Lubuntu" interface as the "try Lubuntu" option uses 200mB RAM to run the desktop.
Instead of using CD's you could try network-boot the machine on the minimal ISO (if Lubuntu comes with netboot stuff)
I would then install Lubuntu to the desktop, followed by rebooting to the desktop hard drive and running
sudo apt-get install lubuntu-core
You may need to modify /etc/apt/sources.list to a non local server and then run
sudo apt-get update
You may also want to use
sudo apt-get install lubuntu-core --no-install-recommends
However I have not tried this.
I found an alternate method that works...I created a grub rescue CD and then used that to chain load a LiveUSB stick, but at the same time I'd still really like to know how I could custom make an install image without some of the included software suite...all of it being possible to obtain from the ubuntu software center.
There are some bigger CDs out there(700MB+). If you are able to buy them, try it out and get yourself a live CD, with the normal install. I, myself, have a 12 year old PC that runs Windows XP and I installed the normal installation, works perfectely. If you're really afraid that full/desktop won't work, try out the alternate, as @mchid said. I think 15.04's .iso is too big for a CD, so I think 13.04 or similar will suffice.