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Re: ITP: mencal -- A menstruation calendar

On Sun, Mar 24, 2002 at 10:23:28PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> "Adam Majer" <adamm@galacticasoftware.com> writes:
> > This is NOT about _censorware_ or other crap like that. It about making
> > the Packages file less than a gig. Why the hell do we even have 386 as
> > a platform? or m64k? When you need tons of ram just to load Packages?
> Ah, that's a different problem.
> It was once said on Usenet: "we can't add that group, because rn can
> only support N groups" (rn used a static array).
> But that was a bug in rn.  It may well be that it's time for Debian to
> think about how to split up the Packages file so it doesn't require
> re-downloading the entire database on every update to it.
> Do you have suggestions about how to fix that problem?

With lots of swap (as compared to actual RAM) it is _possible_ to
do an upgrade or to install a new package, but since dpkg and apt-get
seem to keep the entire packages file in memory during an upgrade,
on my 486 with 20MB ram it took about 4h to do an upgrade of woody.
And some poeople said something about running Debian on systems with
only 4 or 8MB RAM. Upgrading becomes a horrid process and it gets
worse everytime someone thinks to add another package into
Debian. While most are quite useful, people still using an old computers
should not suffer so much due to an upgrade. [And if you leave the computer
to its swaping, Murphy dictates that when you come back the first package
that's upgrading will ask whether or not to replace its conffile :-]

The solution is not necessarly with splitting up Packages but with
a system that will be managable on a supported dino. My suggestion would
be a patch for dpkg so that Packages is flushed from memory during the
unpack and pre->post phases of the installation (on low end systems at least
which can be determined with debconf or something).

- Adam

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