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Re: Essential packages (Re: Debian on the Sharp Zaurus/SL-5xxx)

On Mon, Jun 17, 2002 at 11:25:51AM +0200, Magnus Ekdahl wrote:

> On Sunday 16 June 2002 22:35, Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> > head, tail, tr and wc are certainly necessary for booting.  Are those
> > the ones which you replaced with asmutils?
> I'm able to boot without head, tail, tr and wc . If you have a spare
> filesystem you can trash you could test it yourself. I have put the deb on
> http://oxtan.campus.luth.se/debian/ . The package will probably not
> install unless you remove all Essential tags, and is still be buggy as
> hell. But it is booting at home, and I can install packages. 

You are able to boot by replacing these programs with (at least minimally)
functionally equivalent versions.  They are still necessary.

> > There is, of course, nothing stopping a user from deleting those
> > programs if they do not use them.
> While they certainly can delete them they would have to be very brave
> indeed.  Since they cannot possibly know if another program in the distro
> depends on the program they delete. 

The same is true if they want to install something like asmutils-req and
recover the extra space.

> > As I understand it, booting is not the only requirement for making
> > something Essential.  Essential packages are treated differently in
> > other circumstances as well, for example by dpkg.
> While that may be, I am certainly not getting wiser by this. Are there
> some documentation/references, please?


dpkg will also immediately configure essential packages after they are
unpacked, even if multiple packages are being installed in one run.  I don't
know if this is documented anywhere, but anyone who has used dpkg or apt for
any period of time has seen it happen.

> > It is also not worthwhile to split packages at the finest possible
> > granularity, just to support users who can do without certain components.
> > The benefit must justify the additional cost of packaging and maintaining
> > the critical programs which coexist with the non-critical ones, and not
> > overcomplicating essential infrastructure.
> True, but even for the Zaurus I think the effort is worth while in the long 
> term. And we must remember that Zaurus is a high end PDA. It would be sad if 
> we put a lot of work in the Zaurus that would have to be redone for another 
> PDA. 

The only Zaurus-specific work that I will be doing involves the kernel and
boot process.  Everything else is just packaging new software, and helping
Debian to fit into a smaller space.

> Package: asmutils-req (some assembler, some busybox, some original progs)
> Installed-Size: 358k
> Replaces: gzip, e2fsprogs, grep, bsdutils, hostname, shellutils, textutils, 
> util-linux, fileutils
> Installed-Size: 7688k
> the reduction in size is ~95%, and I think 7330k is worth the effort. And
> thats only what I can do. I think that the 14 debian essential maintainers
> can do a lot better. They have indepth knowledge on their packages and
> probably know some additional tweaks.  

As far as I know, there is no asmutils equivalent for ARM, so that part is
unusable for the Zaurus.

Also, I am assuming that in calculating Installed-Size, you are including
the entire size of the packages, which includes documentation and other
things that I will be excluding.

 - mdz

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