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Why the ISO format has to die

December 28, 2021 — BarryK

EasyOS ships as a .img.gz file, that is, a compressed image file that is written to a drive. Barry stopped shipping EasyOS as an ISO file from early 2020. This was a controversial decision. Barry will continue the rest of this page writing in the first-person.

I maintain that the ISO format has "had it's day" and needs to be retired. Furthermore, I claim that the image format is simpler and easier to use; however, some Linux "old timers" claim the opposite.

I saw their entrenched obstinacy as akin to my elderly step-mother sticking with audio cassettes and keyboard flip phone. So finally, in December 2021, I decided to clarify my claim in a blog post:

I also started a thread on the Puppy Forum for feedback, and as a consequence wrote a follow-up blog post:

If anyone reading this feels that they would like to contribute an opinion, here is the forum thread:

However, please do not just post your pre-conceived prejudices and narrow understanding.

Misunderstandings are OK, as long as the person is willing to learn.

For example, someone sent me an email yesterday (December 26, 2021) asking if they needed to format the usb stick with an ext3 or ext4 partition before writing the 'easy-3.1.17-amd64.img.gz' (latest release at time of writing) file to the drive. I replied that it doesn't matter what is on the drive beforehand, just use Etcher or easydd or some other tool that will write the image file to the usb-stick, then boot from the stick and you are good-to-go.

A note to anyone reading this, who needs help on how to use tools like Etcher or easydd, see this page:

That person was willing to learn and did follow my instructions. Unlike the entrenched "pro ISO" elderly Linux users, who just "dig their heels in" and re-state their fossilized opinions.

I will make one more statement. I received an email recently, the person stated that they understood ISOs and just didn't want to have to learn something different. This attitude is common among the elderly Linux users. The funny thing is, there isn't much to learn to make the switch to image format. The one area of difficulty is opening up an image file if one wants to extract the contents (vmlinuz, initrd, easy.sfs); however, that difficulty only applies to legacy Linux distributions, not to EasyOS.      

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