back to article Canonical kills free Ubuntu CD program

Say goodbye to Ubuntu on CD. Canonical is killing the free distribution of its Linux on disc, while ramping up cloud trials for penguin-curious Windows fans. On Tuesday, Canonical said it's stopping the six-year-old ShipIt and CD distributor programs, as technology has moved on and they no longer make sense. The move will also …


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  1. Ole Juul


    I can't see how the overhead can be all that high, but whatever. I'd rather see Canonical concentrate their efforts where it counts the most. There's plenty of us out here who promote open source. I don't think I'm the only one who will do an installation for someone or burn a disk and send it to them.

  2. James Hughes 1


    I thought everyone downloaded an ISO and burnt it themselves anyway.

    Sounds like a sensible move - saves money which could be put to good use making Unity work....

    1. Elmer Phud


      Recently had someone moaning about how long it would take after clicking on the 'download' button. "23 fucking days!" was the wail.

      15 minutes later I gave him a CD with the ISO he wanted - "Use the torrent, Luke".

  3. ben_myers

    free Ubuntu CDs gone, but what about ISO downloads?

    This is confusing. Is it because Canonical was sketchy in its announcement, or because the article missed an important detail. What I want to know is if i will still be able to download ISO images of Ubuntu and burn my own CDs and DVDs? ... Ben Myers

    1. copsewood

      You can still download the ISOs

      and burn your own CD/DVDs.

    2. Steve George

      RE: Free CD's gone


      All the info is in the blog post:

      Essentially, no change to your ability to download and burn your own CD's. This change only applies to the "shipit" programme which was the ability for anyone to receive a free CD.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    In Other Words

    They're saving money. Ubuntu/canonical is becoming just another corporate entity. I wonder how many meetings they held to arrive at the gloriously banal "Shipit-Lite" name.

    "The goodness of the cloud." Give us a break guys!

    1. James Hughes 1


      Canonical has always been a corporate entity. And isn't saving money a sensible thing to do?

  5. Silvensis


    So - hypothetically barring a nice kindly friend with a memory stick or having already made a recovery disc to start with - in order to get hold of Ubuntu now I have to already have an installed OS that I'm migrating from, in order to be able to access The Sacred Cloud of Internet Wondrousness to download Ubuntu in the first place?

    1. Cameron Colley


      Yes and no. In most cases if you buy a computer there will be an OS on it -- and if you're building one you are likely to have another working machine capable of burning a CD or copying to USB stick.

      If you're in the rare position of either buying your first machine OS free, or building your first and only machine then you could easily send off for any number of OSs costing anything from free to £2000 or more, or you could purchase one of many magazines devoted to Linux and use the cover disc as live CD to allow you to burn an Ubuntu one -- or it may even be Ubuntu on the cover disc.

      Granted it's not as simple as "send postcard to Canonical and get free CD" but it's not all that difficult.

    2. Steve George

      RE bootstraps


      Yes, or you could buy a CD pack through the Canonical store:

      Though you need an Internet connection for that sooo!

    3. Rob Beard

      But... use Ship-It in the first place you needed an internet connection to order the CD.

      I'm sure there's lots of friendly geeks out there who would burn a CD for free, or maybe even your local independent computer shop.

      In Devon one of the guys from my local LUG leaves copies of Ubuntu and The Open Disc at places near to him (shops, cafes) etc in case anyone is interested in trying Linux, and I'm sure he's not the only one.


  6. Change can be good

    From CDs to HDD and SDDs

    Ubuntu has been growing & how!

    Just saw an ad. for a Dell computer with Ubuntu as the OS in a leading Indian Daily. :)

    Its time for Ubuntu to ship on Solid State Drives & Hard Disk Drives instead of CDs.

    Spread the goodness!

  7. PushF12

    Own The Whole Set

    In a few years, a complete set of Ubuntu media will be a collector's item.

  8. Peter Murphy
    Thumb Down

    Could they at least rescind this decison for the third world?

    I signed up for the free CD in 2006, when I was living in Sài Gòn. ADSL was then a recent development, and it didn't seem to be up to downloading a 650 MB ISO without corrupting it. By having the CD delivered, I got to try out Ubuntu for the first time.

    Broadband may be "ubiquitous" in developed countries... well, I doubt that as well. But at least one can choose to access broadband. Mostly. It's not so easy if you are living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Or outback Australia.

    1. copsewood

      Job for your local LUG

      There are Linux User Groups all over the world where a useful promotion event is to run a stand at a local event and burn CDs for those interested enough to try it. My local LUG in Coventry does this annually. But I think increasingly people will buy computers with Ubuntu preinstalled or get a friend to help them install it. Also every 6 months or so you'll find the latest Ubuntu on a magazine cover disk. Best for Canonical to spend their money where they get the best return and I think the season for this particular means of promotion is successfully over.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      So you get the CD where you get your hardware.

      Plus remember there's probably a ton of patches to download after you install. (Is there an easy way to fill up on those?)

      1. Rob Beard

        Patches on CD

        You can get patches on CD using apt-on-cd (I think it's called that anyway). Basically it makes a CD/DVD repository of patches which you can put in a machine and have it install.

        Works pretty well for those situations where you're installing Linux for someone on dialup or on a usage limit.

        Or you could remaster a Live CD and update the packages on the disk before burning using something like RemasterSys (or doing it manually).

        Failing that downloading the packages would work but then you'd need every other dependent package to install. Sadly this way it's not as easy to say just install a service pack (which apt-on-cd is kind of similar to in a way).


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "you can still download and distribute without its specific You don't need Canoncial's specific blessing"

  10. doperative

    There is a market for disks

    Even with "broadband", downloading can be a hassle, there is a market for the basic CD and the rest on a DVD, at a tenner a time it would be good value ..

    1. Elmer Phud

      Torrents make life easy

      as title

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        CDs make life even easier

        I would likely never have tried Ubuntu if I hadn't been given it on a CD.

        Admittedly Canonical isn't saying there won't be CDs but there was something about their providing the CD and packaging which gave a warm glow and engendered a 'good company' feeling. Those sort of feelings are hard to buy.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it work without the internet anyway?

    500Mb download. Install. 500Mb update from net.

    1. Michael Thibault

      @Thad - "Does it work without the internet anyway?"

      > 500Mb download. Install. 500Mb update from net.

      And the same again--typically--every month. Sometimes more. So you can't win no matter when in the cycle you download your favourite flavour.

      Haven't looked to see if there is such a beast, but a bootable pan-flavour (U-, Xu-, Lu-, Ku-, Edu-, Medi-, etc. buntu) minimal net-install ISO would be a good thing. Certainly it would travel well on (and more quickly copy to/from) a USB key.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Yeah, why -not- Ubuntu 10.11, 10.12, ...

        But costing $$$ if they'd promised to mail you -every- new CD release.

        Now, a lot of the fun went out of SystemRescueCD for me when the Windows PC I used it on spontaneously un-disabled media AutoRun and I discovered that SRCD came from somewhere in a range of IP addresses that got blacklisted by the Malwarebytes defence tool, and it is compiled by a French guy, although the first two matters are apparently coincidence. It -is- a relatively light live download and frequently updated, but not necessarily your top choice Linux desktop. And it's not the smallest, but that's a race to the bottom.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't mind that

        And it is probably an exaggeration any way. You don't have to accept all the upgrades, but, unlike the Windows equivalent, which I viewed with dread and apprehension, I quite look forward to my Ubuntu upgrades!

        Maybe its all psychological, in that I expect (OK... Unity excepted!) Ubuntu to give me something better, whereas the suspiscion was that MS was out to screw me and my system. Foolish prejudice, no doubt ;)

        However... how much work would it be to keep their distribution CD images up to date?

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