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Re: package lists for older machines

On Tue, Dec 18, 2001 at 02:21:43PM -0500, J. Tang wrote:

> I've been running [GNU/]Linux for many years, but only recently have
> become a Debian convert.  I must say that I thoroughly enjoy apt-getting
> my software rather than wading through RPM's dependency hell.
> One problem I see with the dpkg/apt-get model of Debian is that the
> package database is enormous.  Normally this would present no problem to
> modern-day machines, but for those of us who wish to run Debian (testing
> and Woody) on an older machine (in my case, a 486 sx-33), parsing the
> package list is extremely CPU intensive.  dselect, for example, consumes
> nearly all available RAM and takes up to a minute to build the dependency
> tree.
> Thus, there ought to be a database for "Debian lite" -- only those
> packages that would make sense on a slower machine.  For example, this
> list would not have any of the mp3, DVD, kde, or gnome packages.  It think
> this would be an extremely useful addition to the Debian system.
> What are your thoughts on the feasibility of this?

This would not be too difficult to implement.  Probably the easiest way
would be to for you to just set up a partial mirror which contains only the
packages that you feel fit this category, and make this mirror available to

I think that it will be difficult, however, to select which packages are
appropriate for this "Debian lite".  One of Debian's great strengths is its
flexibility to start from a minimal base system and quickly and easily pull
in exactly what is required to do what you want.  Since small systems like
these can be used for a wide variety of tasks (print service, firewalling,
dialup/terminal services, scientific data collection), you would want to
have all of those packages at your fingertips.  The only way to achieve that
is to have a large package database on the system.

 - mdz

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