Trying out Linux doesn’t have to mean downloading a 700MB CD image and then having to burn it onto a CD. Thanks to the university software mirrors you have at least three places where you can go to get CD images for free.
http://mirror.cs.auckland.ac.nz/ – The Department of Computer Science software mirror. Clicking on the ‘iso’ or ‘linux’ folders will give you access to a large variety of the most popular distributions, including some less known ones. The mirror is kept fairly up to date and if they don’t have what you’re looking for you can always email the CS mirror maintainers and ask them nicely to help you out. The mirror has a host of other software as well and it’s all FREE!!
http://intraftp.ece.auckland.ac.nz/ – The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering FTP server. Although compared to the Computer Science mirror the FTP server has a sparse collection of Linux distro’s, they do host an Ubuntu and Debian software repositories, which have most of the software programs you are ever gonna need.
http://dist.ec.auckland.ac.nz/ – This is the server which all of the Linux machines in the labs get their updates from. Not much in the way of CD images here, just a Debian, Ubuntu and possibly RedHat repository.
Once you’ve chosen your distro, download it to /tmp, under Linux or C:usertmp. under Windows and then burn it to disc (most of the CS lab computers have CD burners). If you try to save the CD image to your afs drive (H: drive) it will most likely tell you that it can’t do it due to a lack of space. The default allocation for Science students is about 300MB. If you download to the temporary folders though, don’t expect to be able to access your files the next time you log in. The files in those directories are deleted regularly.