Why is the size of the Elive ISOs so big?

The installed system (on your computer) will be very light thanks to special features in the installer, and also by removing temporal needed stuff from the ISOs. Therefore we need to include a lot of extra content for a better functionality of the system. Here's some details:

  • The full size of a 4GB ISO build (first one based on bullseye) is 11 GB uncompressed, where:
  • Nvidia drivers 485 MB: you may not need them but they are pre-cached (pre-downloaded), otherwise downloading them in Live mode would likely exhaust your RAM and you would be not able to install them. RAM size is also decreased in order to enlarge the temporal-disk size so as to allow more computers to install them (you can adjust this size in the boot options when selecting nvidia)
  • Other cached packages 20MB required for the installer and similar things (remember some people install offline, so same as the nvidia drivers: They can be installed offline)
  • Wine 300 MB: this one may be removed from the Live mode in the future and only be installable from the installer for your final installed system at a later stage (but we will lose wine featured on live mode), similar with LibreOffice too but these may need a better research
  • firmwares 350 MB we have many installed to make more hardware work by default
  • 2 kernels: 500 MB + 500 MB (1GB) Elive features 2 shipped kernels because sometimes a hardware is not working with a specific version, and there's nothing more annoying than an entire OS unable to boot in your computer just because of the included kernel, so Elive provides always 2 kernels, one as the default distro and one from backports
  • locales 500 MB: they are needed to have languages working by default, so this is a size for your ISO, but your installed system will probably have only 1 set installed (option from the installer)
  • themes 600 MB: Elive includes a few themes by default, so that the user can customize the look of the desktop in very different ways
  • Demo files 300 MB: there's demo files included, like a documentary to promote the venus project, an mp3 demo file, a few PDF's, etc... all of them are compressed to the utmost, sacrifycing some quality
  • apt cached lists 350 MB: this is needed for both being able to directly "apt-get install foo" on live mode (without the need to apt-get update first) and also for the installer to be able to work fast and being able to install offline. Remember that if instead, these are removed; The ones that wanted to use apt will generate an extra 350 MB extra load on their ram by just the ability to apt something (by downloading the apt lists)

Final note: there's some software that can be a tad large (wine, LibreOffice, sane, and others listed), but Elive is meant to be a ready and fully usable system with everything needed onboard. Elive is also a very light system but this is a job for the installer, so having a bigger sized iso is the least of our worries. I don't think it hurts anybody in having a 4gb ~ huge iso, except for some with a slow download speed. The benefits are major in every sense and as said before; The installed system can be pretty light thanks to the installer