viernes, 21 de enero de 2011

Linux CDs Vs. Linux DVDs...

I downloaded and installed the final version of Pardus 2011 I awaited so much. It didn't let me down.

My only complaints are that it is 1.1 Gb. and that Pardus repository is not as varied as those of Debian-based distros or Mandriva are. However, I can do without some packages...they are not vital...just minor things I like. In exchange, Pardus does have its unique features.

Now, concerning this distro's size...I've seen some Linux fans upset because distros are becoming bigger and bigger...some of these distributions no longer fit into a CD (my favorite one took that path already! T__T). I am with CD advocates in part; I don't know why, but I favor CDs over DVDs.

For example, my Pardus download took about 4-5 hours...I'm not sure. According to CD advocates, how can Linux developers expect that a Windows-only individual will stay for several hours downloading a distro to test it? We might add here that for Windows people, Linux is kind of a "shady, unknown, and unreliable" OS, too. Seriously, they don't test a distro even if you give them the CDs away!

OK...let's consider a couple of details that speak in favor of these "monster-sized Linux distros":

1. The DVDs contain office, multimedia, and other utilities.
Some, probably thinking that Linux is suffering the same mutations that the most widespread OS has suffered over the years, believe that including lots of software with a distro is highly negative. "Linux is a penguin, not a turkey to be stuffed for thanksgiving," they seem to say. They think that a good distro should be nothing but the core because "users will then download what they need." Well, I'm not sure about that. Actually, I came to Linux because it had everything I needed and I could test it right off the CD. Had I downloaded a distro lacking office or multimedia utilities, I'm pretty sure I'd have stayed where I least for longer.

2. Many people actually download pirated copies of another OS.
Let's compare a Linux DVD download with one of an illegal copy of Redmond's warhorse. How big is the latter? Not 1.1 Gbs, I'm sure. I think it is around 3 Gb. What does that one have? Motherboard drivers? No. Video/audio codecs? No. Multimedia tools? No. Office tools? Not in this life! That means people who are not willing to pay for an OS are willing to wait days and weeks to get an illegal copy that can send their PC to LimboLand plus they are willing to start more downloads to get that illegal OS functional.
Sure. This does not mean they will come running to download Linux, but it does mean they have the means--and the patience--to start a long download. Linux DVDs are then not so outrageous as others might think.

3. Where there is no connectivity, minimalistic distros do little for the user.
Again, there are different social and economic contexts. Countries vary, so judging everything according to our narrow perspective (thinking globally, all of us will end up having narrow perspectives, however open-minded we think we are) is not a good idea. Give someone a Linux version with no office suite, no multimedia tools, no games (yes! there are people who still think a computer is just for playing! I talked to one of them last week) and tell them how great that distro is. How can they believe you? You are not showing anything new to them, you know? Tell them then that they can download whatever is needed afterwards...Oh, but they don't have access to the Web. What did you give them? A pretty useless CD. Add several points more under the "pretty useless" label if the CD only speaks one language. Yes! Not everyone speaks English and the ones who cannot pay for English classes cannot pay for Windows, either. They could benefit greatly from Linux...if only they could understand its menus!

Oh, but how come a person who has a DVD drive won't have access to the Web? Check again...DVD drives are not so expensive about a fast Internet connection? That then proves that minimalistic CDs are the solution, right? If there's no access to the Web, DVD downloads are impossible. Think again. How much time will they need to spend on a telephone connection to download a word processor or their localization package? They'd rather have a DVD with everything included given to them by someone who does have a fast connection: YOU! :P

Of course, the greatest idea would be to keep Linux distros so small that they may fit into a CD, but if you want to add localization, an office suite, and a video player, the task becomes a bit hard to achieve, especially if you want this distro to look somewhat modern, too. Please, understand that some people would rather have a DVD that will give them all that and will speak their language than a CD that will tell them to download a language they cannot understand!

2 comentarios:

  1. Well, I am afraid that, although some Linux users might not like your arguments, you are right.

    Ubuntu got where it is by sending live CDs that included all the tools that an OS needs. However, the Ask-for-a-free-CD party is over...can they afford giving away DVDs?

    For my part, I prefer a functional distro packed to fit a CD.

  2. I agree. A DVD is too much, but I don't mind getting a DVD if the distro includes an office suite and localization packages.