I can’t remember the last time we had only two distros on the
LinuxFormat DVD, but that is the case this month. The DVDs aren’t getting any smaller, of course − it’s the distros that are definitely bulking up.
While this size increase is evident in all areas, from the kernel to the desktop, it’s definitely the latter that’s noticeably growing. Ubuntu 18.04 is 300MB larger than the last LTS release, 16.04. You may think this is because of the switch from Unity to Gnome, but Unity still ran on Gnome Shell.
Furthermore, Fedora has grown by the same amount in just one release and that’s still using Gnome. Yes, we could have found room for a third distro had we used a vanilla Ubuntu, but the desktop remixes are popular and this one has only two additional desktops. Previous remixes also included KDE, which is large in itself because it makes use of a different graphical toolkit for the other choices.
So Gnome (in this instance) is getting bigger − a lot bigger, as it turns out. The question that we have to ask ourselves is: is a larger distro worth the effort? Only you can answer that, by looking at the latest Gnome release and deciding if you want the new features and if they are worth the hard drive real-estate price. Or is there a price at all? After all, hard drives are bigger and cheaper then ever, so what does the odd 100MB here and there matter?