I know Debian is general purpose, so a Debian install could just as easily be a server as a desktop. It seems, however, that even with a DVD of disk1 from Debian, it is downloading a tremendous number of files from the network mirror. I would have thought a DVD would be enough to get a base desktop installation running. What am I missing here?

Let me clarify: I chose "SSH Server" and "Desktop Environment" in tasksel. Is GNOME not a part of the primary installation DVD?

  • Can you give some examples? What package sets or packages did you ask for? Perhaps it's just downloading updates rather than packages?
    – Mikel
    Apr 26, 2011 at 3:59

2 Answers 2


Because the full debian distribution for even a single architecture now well exceeds seven DVDs, and the packages on each DVD are sorted by popularity, not by common theme.

Every single installation manual strongly recommends installing from a minimal CD or USB image (100 MB or less, generally) and installing over the internet, or a local apt proxy if you have multiple systems to set up.

In addition to that, the DVDs do not contain the latest versions of all packages -- security updates aren't automatically integrated into the DVD images until the next point release. Regenerating the entire image set (Remember there's roughly seven DVDs per architecture for a dozen or so actively supported architectures and you'll see why the development team prefers not to do live rebuilds every single time a package is updated.)


You would get better response if

  • you didn't use such a vague and inflammatory title (I've fixed that for you);
  • you gave a list of packages you chose to install, and a list of packages that were not on the DVD.

Your question being what it is, here are two guesses:

  • The packages downloaded from the network are security or other updates, issued after the DVD image was built.
  • You have unusual tastes.

As mentioned in the Debian CD FAQ, packages are sorted into Debian CDs and DVDs mainly according to their popularity.

  • I don't see what was so inflammatory about the initial title.
    – tshepang
    Apr 26, 2011 at 0:42

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