Ubuntu Studio: We're out of space

Erich Eickmeyer eeickmeyer at ubuntu.com
Thu Mar 24 05:28:06 UTC 2022

Hi everyone,

Two years ago, at Ubuntu Studio,we decided switch our default desktop 
environment to KDE Plasma. Unfortunately, that is coming back to bite us.

At the time, it seemed like a good idea, as both Plasma and Xfce were around the 
same size in disk space, and we also decided, Ubuntu Studio isn't tied to its desktop 

The problem that I'm seeing is that the ISO 9660 spec, the standard on which all of 
our ISO images are built, has a hard limit of 4096MB per file size. In our case, the 
squashfs file size is exceeding that. This is resulting in failed builds. 

HOWEVER, and this is why I'm CCing the Release Team and ubuntu-devel@, there is 
another ISO format that works for DVD: ISO 13346, aka UDF. This allows for a 
virtually unlimited filesize, although I've seen anecdotal mentions of 1024GB (1TB). 
This would be preferable, and on behalf of Ubuntu Studio, we request this switch if 
able, or even an alternative. I realize this is short notice prior to beta, but we don't 
have much choice as the amount I'm having to remove is basically nullifying Ubuntu 
Studio's reason to exist in that we're having to severely limit the amount of tools we 
can carry. It seems that Ubuntu Kylin shares our plight.

To emphasize this note, the squashfs file size is only going to get larger. Kubuntu is 
already at 3.5GB (more on that later), and if current pace holds, they'll have the 
same problem Ubuntu Studio has now in two years. In fact, Ubuntu Desktop isn't far 
behind at 3.3GB, meaning this is going to become a problem for *everyone* sooner 
rather than later. 

Basically, the ISO 9660 limitation can no longer be ignored and we need to find a 
new solution, not in the future, but *now*. When one flavor suffers, we all suffer, 
regardless of commercial support.

The table below shows the official flavors and their corresponding image size as of 
this writing, from smallest to largest:

Xubuntu:         1.9GB
Lubuntu:         2.4GB
Ubuntu Budgie:   2.7GB
Ubuntu MATE:     2.8GB
Ubuntu (GNOME):  3.3GB
Kubuntu:         3.5GB
Ubuntu Kylin:    3.9+GB (shows as oversized)
Ubuntu Studio:   4.0+GB (shows as oversized)

You can see that KDE Plasma (Kubuntu) is taking up so much space that it's leaving 
us with very few tools to put on the image. This wasn't a huge problem at first, but 
as soon as we seeded the Firefox Snap it became a reality, taking a whopping 
156MB *compressed space*, meaning that's about how much room it takes in the 
squashfs, if not more. If the trend continues and more apps become snaps, we can 
only expect this to grow, meaning the ISO 9660 standard is no longer a viable 
option for anyone.

For the Ubuntu Studio team, if the above requests cannot be accommodated (or 
won't be because nobody cares about Studio), then we have to look at perhaps 
switching DE *again*. 

Another option I'm looking at, which wouldn't work for 22.04 LTS as it's just too late, 
is making a welcome application that people can install the metapackages that they 
need for their particular workflows while still keeping the Studio optimizations that 
make us Studio (lowlatency kernel, etc). However, I've spent several evenings going 
through the seed trying to trim excess, and I am just out of excess to trim.

Thoughts? We need answers, and fast. Beta freeze is Monday, and we're running 
out of time.
Erich Eickmeyer
Project Leader - Ubuntu Studio
Member - Ubuntu Community Council
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