Why Don’t More Linux Distros Package DVDs?

With VirtualBox running very effectively on all of my computers, I decided to start looking into some alternative linux distributions. I am, admittedly, a SuSE fanboy. It was the first Linux distro I ever tried, and, excepting my limited usage of hosted servers running on other platforms, and attempting to use Sun Solaris 10, it’s the only *nix distro I’ve ever tried. I was so impressed with it from the start that I never looked back.

However, now that I’ve begun to look into other distros, I’ve found something that’s severely lacking, so far. It seems that SuSE is one of only a very small few that release full packages anymore. Everyone else seems to have one or two choices for installation media – a live disc or a minimal installation CD.

Why doesn’t anyone else offer full-package DVDs for use as installation media? I must admit that I was a little shocked to see that Novell decided to forego the multi-CD installation media when they released SuSE 11.0, but I wasn’t really disappointed. It just meant that, instead of burning five CDs at work, I had to download the DVD iso onto my external hard drive, then take it home and burn it onto a DVD from there (I don’t have a DVD burner at work). Of course, since I am using it at work, I then had to carry the drive and the DVD back to work.

In case you’re curious, my Internet connection limits the amount of information I can download during a 30-day cycle. Therefore, I really would prefer to download a complete DVD to install a Linux distribution rather than using a live disc and installing from the Internet.

So far, the only other distro I’ve found that appears to offer a DVD installer is Fedora. I checked the sites for Gentoo, Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Solaris. None of them offer DVD installation media from their Web sites.

Now, maybe I’m an idiot for assuming this, but I’m guessing that that means the installation media only includes the bare minimum packages needed to run the distro, and doesn’t include very many extras.

For those of you that are familiar with other Linux distros, please let me know if I am wrong.

3 Responses

  • Well it depends on what you call “bare minimum”

    Ubuntu live CD has:

    Open Office
    Gnome (plus games)
    GStreamer (you need to get restricted pack to get xvid, mp3, etc)
    Cheese (a silly webcam program)
    Ekiga phone (for SIP calls, like gizmoproject, voipstunt, etc)
    Skype (not so sure, its been a while since i freshly installed)
    Quanta (i believe, its an html editor)
    Audio recorder

    Thats out of the box, usually a normal user wont need more, and if you do, you install.

    Then you have the server edition with python, ruby, php, apache, etc etc (more info on ubuntu.com)

    Anything else, you can ask :)

  • Well, I suppose I could have phrased the question more like: What are all of the things included on the SuSE and Fedora DVDs that are missing from the other distros’ install discs?

    I can see, from the list you posted, that there is only one desktop (I know SuSE offers at least Gnome and KDE; I think they offer a few others, too). Obviously, since I mostly use KDE, the lack of KDE on the Ubuntu disc (yes, I’m aware that Kubuntu is an Ubuntu branch that uses KDE) means that it’s missing Konqueror, Kaffeine, Kate and Kwrite, etc.

    Honestly, in order for me to get my install set up the way I’d want it, I’d probably have to download at least a few hundred megs of extra packages, if not a few gigs. I’d rather have those packages already included on my install disc, and then decide whether or not to update them if updates are available after I install.

    I notice that you can purchase the DVD version of Ubuntu and Kubuntu, but it just seems like the DVD ISOs should be available for download.

    I will definitely try it out, and see what I think, though.

  • patrick

    I agree with you. I would like to see more DVDs containing all the packages for a distro, so you could install a PC that is not connected to the Internet.

    Even if it would be offered for sale, I would go for it.

    tip: Debian has full package DVDs for download.