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Re: /bin/sh (was Re: jessie release goals)

On Tue, 07 May 2013 19:46:43 +0200
Marc Haber <mh+debian-devel@zugschlus.de> wrote:

> On Tue, 7 May 2013 16:46:46 +0200, md@Linux.IT (Marco d'Itri) wrote:
> >On May 07, Thorsten Glaser <tg@debian.org> wrote:
> >> My stated goal here is, indeed, to be able to run at least some useful
> >> configurations of a Debian installation without *both* bash and dash
> >> installed.
> >What is the point?
> A smaller footprint of the intalled system? This may be interesting
> for embedded things.

If the space taken up by bash on top of dash is sufficient to be a
problem for an embedded device, then it may be time to think about a
different solution for that device (e.g. buildroot). The device is
going to hit ENOSPACE very, very soon if removing bash would make even
the slightest difference.

Emdebian Grip can shrink normal Debian by 40% on average and there is
discussion about how much further should be set as a target. That step
will be aiming to shrink installs by another 15-20% - not just a
handful of Mb. bash is less than 1Mb.

Package: bash
Source: bash (4.2+dfsg-1)
Version: 4.2+dfsg-1em1
Architecture: armel
Maintainer: Matthias Klose <doko@debian.org>
Installed-Size: 944


Please don't waste time on shell changes for a supposedly embedded
gain. That is a false argument and only serves to weaken the case for

I see no reason for this particular idea to be a release goal.
Certainly not due to any "embedded gain" or "footprint" argument.

Besides, Emdebian already provides mechanisms to not install bash (or
any other package in Debian, whether Debian thinks the package is
Essential, required or important) - so swapping out individual packages
is not the issue.

Much better candidates for embedded footprint improvements are trimming
dependency chains in some of our most popular libraries:


(Some of those are out of date, I know.)

Those steps are massive gains and, individually at least, are probably
less work than changes to the shell. Much of the useful work on
dependency chains is at a proof-of-concept already due to the
build-profile support and Debian package archives.

The remaining question is not whether bash or dash is a problem but
whether there is enough interest to make it worth providing the
reworked libraries with trimmed dependencies & functionality.


Neil Williams

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