I want more CDs in the distribution

Daryll Strauss daryll.strauss at gmail.com
Mon Feb 28 20:04:25 UTC 2005

Here's a counter idea for people to chew on. I'd like to see more CDs
in the distribution, I'd just like them all to be less full.

One of the problems we seem to be bumping up against is that although
a personal desktop, a workstation, and a server share a lot of
packages, there's also a lot of packages that are specific to one type
of use or another. Server's typically don't install OpenOffice, and
desktops don't install NetNews servers in most cases.

What if we break the distribution in to more CD's each with fewer
packages more tightly organized around usage. For a made up example:
   CD1 & CD2 - Base OS (practically everyone uses)
   CD3 - Core Server packages
   CD4 - Core Dekstop packages
   CD5 - Additional Server packages
   CD6 - Additional Desktop packages
   CD7 - Really bizarre packages (anything else we include for some reason)

   If I'm installing a basic desktop or basic server I'm downloading
fewer packages.
   The installer already seems to handle multiple discs and notifying
the user which ones are needed.
   If you're downloading everything the total size really isn't
substantially bigger (just a smidge for ISO overhead)
   If you install a minimal version and want to add packages later you
can do that via the Internet anyway. (We should encourage people to do
this if they have broadband)

   More files to download - I don't think this is an issue
   More CDs required for the full distribution - Media costs are small
and you can put it all on one DVD if you really care. This probaby is
an issue for publishers.
   More disk swapping to install everything - That's a real drawback,
but since you have to swap disks anyway I'm not sure it's a big deal.
   More work categorizing end user usage and arguing over which
packages are in which category. - yes :)
   Users need to figure out which disks to download.

>From my point of view that last one is the only one that a big
usability issue. The installer already tells me which disks are
required early on in the process but that's not when you want to find
out. It's just a failsafe. Documentation would help, but we know
people often don't read it. A web script that let a user pick what
packages they want to install and it tells them what discs to get
would be helpful and fairly easy. In reality we want the installer to
get stuff from repositories after the fact, but that's a more major

What do you think?

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