Linked by David Adams on Sun 11th Dec 2011 01:37 UTC, submitted by rhyder
Linux It's starting to look like the end of an era for Ubuntu users as Canonical mull the creation of an ISO that won't fit onto a CDR. The question is, does it matter? Canonical owes at least part of its success with Ubuntu Linux to the unique way that it has been distributed. From the start it has been available as a downloadable ISO image and a free CD, posted at no cost to the user. This was great news for people who wanted to install Linux but did not have the luxury of a decent Internet connection. In a sense, installing via a CDR image has always been like a kind of cache, in that you're moving part of the content that you need onto permanent storage rather than pulling it through the network connection
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r_a_trip
Member since:
2005-07-06

We can keep hammering on the optical disk as the way older computers get their OSes installed, but that problem will vanish in 2 to 3 years time. What is hot now and comes without an optical drive, will be tommorows donated hardware.

Distro's should aim for USB Thumbdrives these days. Preferably the 2GB's ones for now as that is the low end of those drives and relatively cheap. The machines that can't boot from USB are getting scarse these days.

USB thumbdrives are reusable with newer software and a lot faster than a CDR. It could potentially save on e-waste. Practically nobody installs Warty Warthog from CD anymore as a means to fit a computer with a main operating system. A thumbdrive is more readily "upgraded" with the latest software.

It would be nice though if the USB booting could be made more standardized and maybe a bit simpler. El Torito was a godsend on the CD. Maybe by letting the firmware search for a USB bootable image file on the drive. Than it would be as easy as just copying the image on the drive and boot from it. Although unetbootin is pretty easy already.

Reply Score: 2

Gullible Jones Member since:
2006-05-23

Perfect... Except old computers often can't boot from USB drives.

(Which wouldn't be an issue, except that throwing out computers is dirty; and recycling them is even dirtier, and usually involves poorly paid workers toiling over open vats of hydrofluoric acid.)

Reply Parent Score: 2

Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

Maybe someone could make an adapter that presents flash drives as optical drives to the computer, or maybe a hybrid floppy/optical drive.

There would be limitations, like drive formatting and maybe size, but that would be a handly little tool.

Reply Parent Score: 1

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Perfect... Except old computers often can't boot from USB drives.

That's a non-issue. You can get a USB-to-IDE adapter for about the cost of a 50pack of blank CDR's.

Reply Parent Score: 1

r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Valid points, but adhering to that premise entails accepting as the lowest common denominator anything that can still boot if turned on. So any new developments need to take into account machines with 8086 processors. Anything else is not considering the implications.

Computer recycling today may be dirty, but I don't see that as an inherently technical problem. This is one group of people exploiting another group for some extra profit. That needs to be adressed internationally through politics. We need to learn as the "First World" not to export agony to other countries, in pursuit of another buck to add to overflowing bank accounts.

Reply Parent Score: 1