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Re: Bloated package file (Was: Re: ITP: mencal -- A menstruation calendar)

On Mon, Mar 25, 2002 at 12:08:09PM -0500, Stephen Frost wrote:
> > True, but I'm much more concerned with bloating Packages [sorry that
> > I didn't say that in the first place]. On low end machines, like m64k
> > or 386/486 with little ram (<32M) it becomes a horrid process to try
> > to update the system just because Packages is getting out of control.
> Yeesh, it's not all *that* bad unless you're trying to update every day.

How about embedded or handheld computers? Why shouldn't dpkg/apt work on
some 8M 33MHz palmtop that doesn't have swap at all?

I think that size of Packages file is a valid problem to be addressed, I
like the idea of moving less critical (all that is not used by apt-get)
data to individal source packages' .dsc files, or at least into separate
Packages-Desc file. Even just removing Description field will do:

$ wget -o /dev/null http://http.us.debian.org/debian/dists/testing/main/binary-i386/Packages.gz
$ gunzip Packages.gz 
$ grep -v '^ ' Packages|grep -v '^Description: ' >Packages.stripped
$ ls -l Packages*
-rw-r-----    1 angdraug angdraug  6125949 Mar 24 22:33 Packages
-rw-r-----    1 angdraug angdraug  3039724 Mar 25 20:10 Packages.stripped
$ gzip Packages*
$ ls -l Packages*
-rw-r-----    1 angdraug angdraug  1682655 Mar 24 22:33 Packages.gz
-rw-r-----    1 angdraug angdraug   646892 Mar 25 20:10 Packages.stripped.gz

As you may have guessed, Packages without Description compresses much
better, and thus can save not only memory, but bandwidth as well.

Dmitry Borodaenko

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