PROPOSAL - REFORMULATED - Create alternative Packages files for each section
Based on a previous thread on the same matter, I reformulated the
proposal I made earlier.
Here it goes:
Create alternative Packages file for each section
Today, the downloading and processing of the entire packages file is a
problem both for low-bandwidth users and for low-specs computers. In
fact, the download of the packages file for a modem user can take ~ 15
minutes, and the processing of this file by apt can take hours on a 486
55Mhz with 8Mb RAM and 45Mb swap (self experience, actually I had to
cancel the processing after two or three hours).
The idea is to create a Packages.descriptor file (the name can be
changed) which will describe the available Packages files like (this
would be used to help the user choosing the sections):
base Base system
gnome Gnome Desktop Environment
Then create a Packages file for each section inside
main/contrib/non-free with the respective packages (the names could be
Packages.base, Package.gnome). The current big Packages file would not
be removed, keeping the compability with the current system.
The ftp-master scripts would change to create the appropriate
alternative files, it doesn't seems to be a big change, since it can be
done after the generation of the Packages file, I mean, there is no need
to _change_ anything, just _add_ a new procedure after the generation of
the Packages file.
Apt would have to know about this and ask the user if she/he wants to
download the entire Packages or choose from a list of sections. This
could be done while configuring the sources.list. The sources.list file
would have to accept an extra parameter which would be the name of the
deb http://http.us.debian.org/debian sid main (base,gnome,...)
This is backward-compatible too, if the sections parameter (between
parenthesis) is not present, then it would download the big Packages
Obs. The choosing of the sections in apt by asking the user can be
optional, leaving to the user to manually configure the sources.list
file, which would make the Packages.descriptor file useless. But I think
this would be a nice feature.
Waiting for your comments,