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Re: udebs for more than just installation

On 27 Feb 2003 18:56:09 +0100
Martin Sjögren <md9ms@mdstud.chalmers.se> wrote:

> > Another approach we're thinking about is regular dpkg support for
> > directory exclusion during package unpack, for things like
> > documentation and localization files.  Of course, that's more an
> > issue for debian-dpkg... :)
> Isn't that what has been discussed before, for handhelds and stuff? If
> you're willing to make udebs anyway, you won't need this though, as I
> don't see why dpkg wouldn't be able to handle udebs. There's nothing
> magic about udebs, they just happen to have different names and don't
> follow policy more than they like...

(sorry, this has tuned into a bit of a rant)

The reason udeb's came about is that the debian-installer wanted to be
modular, we wanted these modules to be distirubted via debian mirrors,
and we didnt want any non-functional parts inside (docs, copyright
notice etc).

This last point means they arent valid debs according to policy and as
such arent allowed into the archive, by renaming them to something other
than debian package (they are installer _modules_) meant that the
bureaucracy was avoided.

The binaries of a .udeb are different to the .deb counterparts, they are
usually compiled with -Os and other options to make the binaries
smaller, so having an option to strip docs using dpkg would not avoid
requiring another package (woops, debian installer module).

udebs are a technical solution to a social problem, i hope that one day
debian policy will reflect the needs of the installer. In the mean time
they do serve as a convenient way of distributing packages (woops,

Technically i think the biggest problem with minimal debian systems is
that debian packages dont declare dependencies on essential packages,
installign Essential packages and their dependencies requires 62MB
(dependencies pull in dselect, which pulls in c++ libs etc).

As much as i like dselect, i shudder at the thought of running it, or
even needing it to exist in my space constrained environment.

If all the essential packages wernt installed then the dependency
 system breaks.

Debian currently just isnt geared toward small environments, and the
steps required to improve the situation dont seem to be a priority, i do
hope the situation improves.


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