Note: kbps = kilo bits per second
kBps = kilo bytes per second

Therefore 1 Mbps= 128 kBps, and 256 kbps=32kBps

Now coming to the topic…

What does offline friendly mean? it means one which is friendly for the users who are not connected to the internet or who have weak/slow internet connection… Like me, Though I have an “Unlimited” broadband(1 Mbps) connection at home, it is capped one which has a fair usage policy. After downloading 5 GB, it is reduced to 256 kbps, which is snail speed compared to what I get initially. So I can’t wait for “ages” to download a piece of software from repositories, this is one of the reason I switched over to Debian from Ubuntu. I once tried to use net install when my speed was 1 Mbps, even then it took around 6hrs!

Debian has all* the software I need in CDs or DVDs or Blu-Ray Disc!, this is very helpful as I can download the images and use them for offline use, thereby reducing the time required to fetch software. And I can save my precious bandwidth for other uses.

You don’t even need to burn these images, you can just mount them and use them directly(and do the same thing for your friend too!)

all* = all free software packages in Main repo, excluding non-free and contrib.

How to do it?

use the following command(as root/ sudo)-

# mount -t iso9660 -o loop   /path/to/the/image/file      /media/cdrom0

check whether the disc is mounted by using the file browser and next

# apt-cdrom add

use this and your sources list is updated to use the disc.

after this unmount the disc by using

# umount /media/cdrom0          **Be Careful its   u-mount  not   un-mount!!

and repeat the above steps for other discs…

example:  mount -t iso9660 -o loop /home/gibran/debian-6.0.2.1-i386-DVD-1.iso  /media/cdrom0

here the image file “debian-6.0.2.1-i386-DVD-1.iso” is in the home folder of the user, the user name here is “gibran”.

Hint: to become root- use “su” command.

You cannot do the same thing with Ubuntu(or any other distro) easily, though it can be done, but I saw the amount of steps and effort required, and that sacred me, Here in India you don’t have continuous power supply or the bandwidth to wait till the whole repo is downloaded, Debian simplifies this.. to a very LARGE extent. My sincere thanks to all the Debian Devs and Free software Devs. Thank you!

Oh well, people may recommend me to use  Pingy/Linux Mint/Ubuntu Ultimate/etc.. I could have used these but the problem is I have got only 512 MB of RAM out of which 32 MB is shared, so effectively I get 480 MB of RAM, and they require a minimum of 512 MB, so these are heavy weights and some include both KDE and GNOME applications!  compare this  to what I get from Debian- XFCE+all extra software I need without GNOME/KDE libs/dependencies… this config consumes around 110 MB of RAM, xorg being the culprit which consumes 42-45 MB, typically on Open Source drivers I have seen it consuming only 20 MB, but I use the closed source Nvidia Drivers, so have to adjust. Even I can run Debian with the full blown GNOME desktop(uses 130 MB of RAM), but XFCE is noticeably faster.

and some others may recommend Slackware, but that will be too advanced for me and I can’t spend my time compiling and resolving dependencies, again Debian has made this easier with is aptitude 🙂 Debian has best of both worlds(and even more),

1) has lots of software (2) which is thoroughly tested and has fairly new version of software(Compared to Cent OS), and (3) is similar to Ubuntu, so as a Ubuntu user for 3+ years I am at home!, (4) is definitely easier than Slackware… I can go on and on.. 🙂

Further Links–>

http://blog.ordinarylad.com/2011/02/how-to-use-debian-iso-for-repository/

PS- I like the KDE, I feel its complete and when I have enough RAM I plan to move to KDE.

Update[10 March 2016]:

Debian is still among one of the offline friendly distributions, but it is not the only one.

I have covered more here => https://kgibran.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/other-floss-operting-systems-which-are-offline-friendly/

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