Standard releases of Ubuntu, including the forthcoming release of 13.04, will not be available to buy or order on DVD, Canonical have said.
The company say that going forward physical copies of Ubuntu will only be produced for Long Term Support releases, starting with Ubuntu 14.04 next year.
Ubuntu 13.04, and its successor in Ubuntu 13.10, will still be free to download and to burn to a DVD or USB of your own. But physical printed copies will not be sold by Canonical through the Ubuntu Shop or made available for Ubuntu LoCo Teams to distribute at educational events.
The Ubuntu Loco Council quote Canonical as saying that Ubuntu 12.04 CDs/DVDs will be supplied to Loco teams ‘to bridge the gap till 14.04′.
While the discontinuing of physical discs for standard releases will, ultimately, affect few, it does mark the end of an era. Physical copies of Ubuntu have been produced since the first release of Ubuntu back in 2004.
Ubuntu 6.06 LTS was the first release to merge both the installer and the LiveCD into one disc.
With disc production not being cheap, and disc sales probably not being that great given most people make their own, this ‘cutback’ is, perhaps, another indication that Canonical, who are yet to turn a profit, are streamlining their expenditure. Earlier this year the live, bi-annual Ubuntu Developer Summit was axed in favour of a cost-free virtual gathering with a more regular schedule.
However the most logical reason is the one we can see at face value: Ubuntu Long Term Support releases are the preferred and recommended option.
Copies of Ubuntu 12.04 and 12.10 can still be purchased from the Ubuntu Shop, as can a few remaining copies of Ubuntu 11.04 server!