[conspire] CABAL meeting, Saturday, Aug. 13

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Aug 12 19:57:13 PDT 2011

I wrote:

> I'm just about to burn a few CDs and DVDs:
> 4.3G ubuntu-10.04.3-dvd-amd64.iso
> 4.2G ubuntu-10.04.3-dvd-i386.iso

See those?  Notice that they're DVD images.

Any of you who's been dealing with the *ubuntus for a while has probably
gotten used to what the project urges on people.  Since earliest days,
they've pushed people towards CDs of the Desktop Disk edition for their
respective CPU architectures.  When in doubt:  Ubuntu whatever-is-current
i386 arch Desktop Edition CD, was the one-size-fits-all solution.

The logic of this recommendation has always been understandable.
Desktop Edition presents a friendly graphical face to the target novice
market.  If all goes well, it offers a pleasant live-CD environment with
an optional graphical installer that asks the user almost no questions
and just bulk-installs stuff, then runs to completion and pops up a
friendly message that it's done -- the canonical (no pun intended)
'forehead installer'.

There are a few drawbacks.  The thing sucks down RAM and CPU like
there's no tomorrow, is inflexible, is relatively slow, and often
completely fails (hardware-support obstacles) on machines that work
great with the more-reliable Alternate Disk.  However, because Ubuntu
Project pushes 'Desktop Disk' and because of Alternate Disk's name, 
rarely is it even considered even though it's better in just about every

People act surprised when I reach for Alternate Disk by strong
preference.  *I* act surprised when I see people claim that Ubuntu is
intolerably slow to install on their 512 MB Pentium 4 boxes -- but it
inevitably turns out that they mean the bloatware Desktop Disk.

Because people inevitably want to have Desktop Disk available at CABAL,
and because of its one feature Alternate Disk lacks (live-CD operation), 
I've for years been obliged to burn and store both editions.  Two
editions for Ubuntu on i386, two for Ubuntu on x86_64, two for Kubuntu
on i386, two for Kubuntu on x86_64, and so on.  And then burn them all
again next release -- and keep one LTS set and one non-LTS.  That chews
through a lot of CDRs over time, and it's a storage and handling

This new-ish _DVD_ edition fixes much of that, because it's basically
Alternate Disk _and_ Desktop Disk both bootable from a single optical
frisbee.  At boot time, you can elect to start either the live-distro
environment (which then offers the graphical install) of Desktop
Edition, _or_ you can boot into the battle tested ncurses-driven
Alternate Disk installer.  

Less clutter, fewer discs.  I like that.

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