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Re: Debian on the Sharp Zaurus/SL-5xxx

On Sun, Jun 16, 2002 at 08:09:08PM -0400, Joey Hess wrote:

> Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> > For my test installation, /var/lib/dpkg is 2.8M of du usage.  It is
> > interesting to note that the total length of all of the files is
> > actually only 1M, or close to 1/3 of that size, so half the space could
> > easily be recovered by a filesystem capable of storing small files more
> > efficiently than ext2.  I have been planning to use jffs for other
> > reasons, and I wonder if it has such a capability.  reiserfs seems to do
> > very well with small files, but I imagine that jffs will be better
> > suited for the media.
> One nice approach might be moving the dpkg status area, /usr/share/doc and
> some other stuff to a separate media like the microdrives or even nfs in
> some cases. Unless you really plan to upgrade your palmtop on the road, or
> expect to need to be able to query the database or something, you can get
> away without that stuff for all the typical PDA tasks (notes, games,
> books, email, ssh; what else would one use a PDA for? ;-) Slip in the
> microdrive when you need it and you're good to go.

This is indeed part of the plan.  I am trying to avoid a strict requirement
for removable media, though.  While it is fine for optional software to live
there, I would like for it to be possible to install software without it
when necessary.  Based on my initial experiments, I think this is possible.

> Myself, I've long decided to wait until PDA's are up to about 64mb of
> flash, and then just slap debian on it, but if you do the work to make it
> fit in the current generation, I may need to reconsider that decision.

I've been waiting as well, and the Zaurus is the first one that I've seen
where I think that I can make it happen.  It basically has 80M of internal
storage to work with (the consumer edition anyway):

16M flash ROM which holds kernel and initrd, both of which are used in-place
	(the cramfs initrd root filesystem is read-only)

64M persistent RAM which holds additional software and runs user programs
	At kernel compile time (or boot time?), this space is divided up
	into block device storage and operating memory

So, only kernel and (compressed!) root (without /etc) need to fit in the 16M
flash.  Everything else should fit easily within, say, 24M of the 64M,
leaving a comfortable 40M for execution.  Pop in a 128M SD card, set up some
symlinks, and you have plenty of room to install additional applications.
Eject the card, pop in another one, nonessential pieces of some of your
applications go away, but you still have enough of a system left to install
different software on the other card.

It's the symlinky part that I want to make easier.  Currently, the only way
I see to do it is to know in advance what needs to go where, and create the
links before calling dpkg.

 - mdz

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