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Bug#696154: cloud.debian.org: Please install 'less' by default on official Debian AMIs.

Le Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 03:14:02PM +0100, Stefano Zacchiroli a écrit :
> On Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 02:11:52PM -0800, Clint Byrum wrote:
> > How is it a slippery slope if it is driven by data?
> > 
> > Seriously, figure out a way to ask users what they want. popcon isn't
> > going to be all that useful here becuase of the wild diversity of systems
> > that exist in popcon. But you can certainly just ask users to list any
> > optional packages that they'd like to see on images. Or have a subset
> > of popcon just for cloud images.
> Data is always good to have so, sure, let's find out ways to do that.
> But I urge to figure out how to gather data that distinguish the wishes
> that are cloud-specific wrt the others.
> For everything that is not cloud specific, I think we should strive to
> make the corresponding improvements where they belong, i.e. in Debian
> default installation choices. And I'm sure there is room for
> improvements there, because there is always room for improvement :-)
> Here, I think we should be mostly concerned for cloud-specific needs
> and, sure enough, we should add them to the pre-built images we offer.

Hi all,

I think that the Debian defaults should be based on common practice.  In that
sense, I think that we should first work out a package list that suits our
needs, and only after, if we can demonstrate that it is of general interest,
propose that it may be reflected on Debian's standards.

It would be tempting to use package priorities, with "important" representing
the "bare minimum" discussed earlier, and "standard" representing the images
that are ready to use for some simple tasks.  However, this would mean downgrading
the priority of exim4 and raising the priority of openssh.  I do not volunteer to
lead this discussion...

I think that this rules out bothering debian-boot@lists.debian.org until we
have a good record of providing images that are used broadly, except perhaps to
propose a new "tasksel" task (or more if relevant).

We therefore need a good definition of what is minimal, in terms of packages
and in terms of image size.  For instance, on the Amazon cloud, the size of
instances is defined in gigabytes, and our images are currently configured to
use 8 Gb volumes by default.

For the cloud-specific part, the defintion of what is minimal also needs some
arguments, that can for instance justify why we ship systems with ssh by
default and not other packages, as it is equally easy to install them with
user metadata.

Lastly, there are packages like "less", or "psmisc" (/usr/bin/killall), that
have a neglectable footprint in terms of cost and security.  I understand the
argument of slippery slope, but if we consider the 8 Gb images discussed above,
there is enough space to install some of them.  If we all agree that the
contents of the images is not set on stone (that is, we can remove "less" when
it proves to be deleterious to some users), why not satisfying our current
users (including myself), instead of focusing on the leanest solution, that I
think is likely to attract less users.


Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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