This my very first experience with Ubuntu and I'm very much interested in downloading and trying it , but I only have a dial-up internet connection and am limited to a few hours per day , so how can I download such a big file over many days ? Is there anyway I can get a CD ?

  • 1
    Some people sell DVDs, but I don't think Canonical does, so it depends on where you are. Do you maybe have a smartphone with a data plan? Jul 4, 2016 at 0:26
  • No , I don't.............any other options?
    – Zippy
    Jul 4, 2016 at 0:34
  • I'm located in Ohio , USA.
    – Zippy
    Jul 4, 2016 at 0:35
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    Do you have a friend who has DSL or cable? Is there maybe a Starbucks nearby? Jul 4, 2016 at 0:36
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    Even if the wifi is "pretty slow" it is almost certain still a lot faster than dial-up. Let's assume you can get 1Mbit/s there, then the download of the 840MB lubuntu would take 1.9 hours. I don't think that's unreasonable. With dial-up, it would take 1.4 days with 56k....
    – Josef
    Jul 4, 2016 at 11:09

9 Answers 9


If you can stall at a local coffee shop or fast-food restaurant for an hour, you can probably download it in that time.

If you have a library nearby, they often have computer you can work on stuff with. You can probably download the iso to a USB in that time.

Last resort would be to buy a USB-stick with the iso already on it. You can do that at the Canonical Store.

If you want to stick with dialup, you can torrent the iso, and it can be downloaded over many days. You can also get the direct link and use wget -c <url of iso>. You can cancel this command and re-run it to -continue the download from where it left off.

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    Thanks..........good to know I have options...........I'm still trying to grasp "torrent".
    – Zippy
    Jul 4, 2016 at 2:07
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    Torrent is where you download a very small file that you run with a torrent client (such as uTorrent or my favorite for Ubuntu, Transmission). When you run the file, it will download the file from multiple "peers". It is usually faster than a direct-link download, but you may get the same speed by using wget -c. I would suggest using wget -c and continue the download from whenever it stopped. Make sure you run the command in the same location every time. Jul 4, 2016 at 3:43
  • At this writing, it looks like the ISOs for x86 and 64-bit are 843 and 840 MB. Thus, assuming my 15 MB/h estimate (see my answer) isn't too far off, on dial-up you'd be looking at a 56-hour download. That's ten days at 6 hours a day. I'd suggest that makes it not a realistic option, for most people.
    – Mathieu K.
    Jul 4, 2016 at 5:52
  • @MathieuK. Understandable. If he is able to keep the computer running overnight to download, maybe even over a weekend or find some time to do it, he may be able to run the 56 hours in one go. I would agree that downloading it on dialup is really not the best option. Buying a USB stick or linking multiple downloading sessions using the wget method at a coffee shop or the like would be more realistic. Jul 4, 2016 at 6:34
  • If OP is trying to get their first linux install, they might be using windows and not have wget available. No idea if windows supports download resuming, but... probably not.
    – Benubird
    Jul 5, 2016 at 9:10

See if there's a Linux Users' Group (LUG) in your area. My first copy of Linux I got on a CD from a guy at work; a LUG would likely be able to help you get a copy, perhaps in a similar way.


As an alternative to downloading, you could check local bookstores/newsstands for something like a Linux magazine that comes with a DVD with what you are interested in.


Lubuntu 16.04 LTS DVD and Lubuntu 16.04 LTS 16 GB bootable USB stick are available from Shop Linux Online

  • Lubuntu 16.04 LTS DVD - $3.99
  • Lubuntu 16.04 LTS 16 GB USB - $12.99

You can also check your nearest public library if it has computers that library visitors can use to download files and copy them to removable media.

  • The poster is asking about Ubuntu, not Lubuntu. Jul 4, 2016 at 10:02
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    @NictraSavios The title says lubuntu...
    – Graipher
    Jul 4, 2016 at 10:13
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    I just got a live/ install CD ordered at EBay........looking forward to my new experience.............that old xp OS had to go.
    – Zippy
    Jul 6, 2016 at 23:33

As others have mentioned, downloading via BitTorrent is a very good option, as most torrent clients have good support for resuming downloads et cetera. If you're using Firefox, this very minimal browser extension should probably work well enough for downloading. If you're using a different client (e.g. qBittorrent), you might want to limit the upload bandwidth until you're done so uploading doesn't take up too much bandwith.

However, if you know when your time for internet usage is up, you can also download the ISO using your browser and pause the download and resume downloading the next day. (A download manager might offer more robust support for this, such as the ability to resume downloads even after a system restart etc.)
This works well, but with one mayor caveat: the server you're downloading from must support download resumption. (You'll have to try pausing/resuming to find out if it does.)

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    Bit torrent overhead is quite high.. It might be slower than standard HTTP which also can be resumed depending on server
    – Antzi
    Jul 5, 2016 at 6:31

In earlier days when I had 56k internet I downloaded the ISO to the school computer, splitted the image into parts and transported it home with my MP3-player. (Some other guy used an extra back-pack full with floppies.) Took some days for me to transport but was faster, more stable and cheaper than with my home connection. As of today there should be USB-sticks where you can store the whole file without splitting.

Depending on your area you might get some kind of internet connection like internet cafee, McDonalds, schools, libraries, ...

A good option is to use a torrent client for downloading the linux iso as it contains better support for resuming downloads and auto-correcting failed downloads. Be aware that torrent clients also upload the files you download which might be problematic if you use it to download copyrighted material.


There's a minimal CD that runs about fifty megs, it seems.

Most first-time Linux users use a graphical user interface (GUI), such as the one installed by default by the normal ISO image. If that's what you want to do, this isn't a direct path to that experience.

If, on the other hand, you'd like to start by learning the command-line interface (because you have a book or tutorial to teach you Linux commands, for instance), this should work fine. It'll still take a while, but you should be able to download it in about 4-5 hours, I think. (Assuming 33kbps, which is ~15 MB per hour, that's about 3-4 hours; added an hour just in case.)

Edit: Changed the link to point to the Lubuntu page, rather than the Ubuntu one.

For the following two reasons, I no longer support this proposed solution. Firstly, the Lubuntu page mentions the need for a wired Ethernet connection to the Internet. Unless the modem is elsewhere on your local network (in another computer, say), this solution is probably a no-go. Secondly, per the comments, this doesn't immediately provide you with the full classic Lubuntu command-line experience, which I had assumed it did.

  • The minimal CD just downloads the necessary files during installation. You still have to download quite a bit. Standard Ubuntu won't fit on 40 megs. Jul 4, 2016 at 5:49
  • Per the page linked to, "You may also select nothing and just continue to finish the installation. If you selected nothing, upon reboot you will arrive at a cli prompt; from here you can fully customize your new system." That's the choice I was intending to suggest, since choosing a package to install, and then proceeding with it over dial-up, presumably means the same kinds of time problems as downloading the full ISO over dial-up would.
    – Mathieu K.
    Jul 4, 2016 at 6:12
  • Okay. In your method, which would work pretty well, he'd still have to wait and download from the terminal. As far as I know, apt should support download pausing (which I think it does), but might only be per file, not file segment. Jul 4, 2016 at 6:36
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    It is a real, full fledged Linux CLI prompt … and nothing else. It literally contains only the absolute minimum amount of apps to partition your harddisk, create a filesystem, select programs to install, connect to the internet, download, and install them. Basically, some form of parted, mkfs, APT, dpkg, and the Debian / Ubuntu Installer. Jul 4, 2016 at 8:11
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    Hmm. Okay. Then this proposal is really only good if the user is willing to dive right in and do a bunch of stuff manually, which is not the easiest way to learn the GNU/Linux command line.
    – Mathieu K.
    Jul 4, 2016 at 15:32

First of all, I must admit that I'm very curious. Are you somewhere incredibly rural, with no DSL or similar service available?

Now, you haven't mentioned what speed dialup you have. At 28.8k, the stock Ubuntu image will take you 113 hours to download; at 33.6k, 97 hours, at 48k, 67 hours, and at 56k 58 hours.

Considering that you have restricted Internet access I would recommend downloading as much data and packages as possible so that you can be off and running. I don't think the times I've listed above are that bad, so I strongly recommend this approach.

As mentioned in another answer bittorrent is certainly one option, but I keep hearing about people in the US getting harassed for using it. Unlikely to be an issue in your case, but here's another alternative if you'd like one: download the DVD image onto a remote server, split the file up into chunks on that server, then download the chunks from that server individually. If a chunk is corrupt you just redownload that. Ubuntu provides official checksums for their images so you know you got unmodified data.

You could also very very viably use this approach if you wanted to try downloading the image via free Wi-Fi.

I have a server I can use to split the ISO up with if you like this idea (or would like to contact me for any other reason). Find an online base64 decoder and pass it this string (including the ==): YXNtcWI3QGdtYWlsLmNvbQ== (or alternatively open your browser devtools, click Console, and run atob("") with the base64 string inside the quotes).


Your best bet is to use something other than ubuntu. For example:

http://tinycorelinux.net/ - 16mb

http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ - 50mb

http://puppylinux.org/ - 100mb

Even on a 28.8 Kb dial-up, you should be able to get tiny core linux within two hours, and if you've got 56 Kb available, damn small linux can be downloaded in just a little longer.

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    OK..........let me be perfectly clear
    – Zippy
    Jul 5, 2016 at 11:15
  • I ordered a lubuntu live DVD from eBay .
    – Zippy
    Jul 7, 2016 at 11:17
  • I'm going to give puppy Linux a try , but I'll likely be back to Ubuntu very soon.
    – Zippy
    Jul 17, 2016 at 11:14

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