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from / to /usr/: a summary

On Dec 07, Stephan Seitz <stse+debian@fsing.rootsland.net> wrote:

> If this is the future way and the way the developer want to go, then
> the way will succeed in time, but as Goswin said, it will take time.
> The admins who think the new way is bad will not change their
> systems.  New admins may think otherwise, and if the old server will
> be replaced, they change the system to the new way.
I do not think you understand well the issue: we cannot accomodate
everybody, this is not just a matter of local policy.
Two issues are being discussed here:
- mounting /usr in the initramfs
- symlinking /bin, /sbin and /lib to their /usr counterparts[1]

The first feature sooner or later will be needed to support some major
software: this is not just about udev, it going to be required soon by
major desktop/gnome components.
The second point, which depends on the first one, does not need to be
implemented and if implemented could conceivably be optional.

Some changes are coming from upstream and we will have to either embrace
them or actively revert them.
Both options require work on our part, and it would be sensible to
understand how much work will be needed in each situation.

Let's try to summarize the possible configurations and what is needed to
support them:

- / and /usr are in the same filesystem
  * no changes are needed
- / and /usr are in different filesystems
  - an initramfs is or can be used and will mount /usr
    * initramfs-tools will be updated, no operational changes are needed
  - the platform does not support an initramfs
    * I am still waiting for somebody to enumerate them, but I believe
      that I can design a suitable workaround
  - the administrator refuses to use an initramfs
    * tough luck for them

Some people also argued that they would be more comfortable with a
smaller root file system which can act as a rescue system, but I am
not sure about which tools they would miss from an initramfs with
busybox and fsck.
A side note, I think it would be interesting to design a small
initramfs in the 25-50 MB range which could permanently live in /boot
and work as a complete rescue system like the tiny live CDs do.

[1] https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/UsrMove


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