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file filtering in dpkg -i

Hello dpkg team,

for a project of mine (embedded/thin client system) I need to bring up
a reasonably useful system in as little disk space as possible. This
involves careful selection of packages, file system, etc., but one
part of this is also to reduce the footprint of packages themselves,
such as removing documentation.

A flexible and convenient way to do this would be to allow the user to
specify filter expressions to dpkg -i (and thus to
/etc/dpkg/dpkg.cfg.d/), such as removing /usr/share/man/* or
everything from /usr/share/doc/* except "copyright" (which probably
needs to stay for legal reasons).

It is impractical to do this cleanup just once during building an
installation image, since every subsequent package update would bring
back those files.

I found surprisingly little precedent for this, the only one is Neil's
blog entry from 2007 [1].

I would be happy to work on an implementation of this, i. e. an
--ignore option which taskes regexps for files which should be ignored
on package extraction. .

Is this a feature which you would want and accept upstream in Debian?
Depending on this I can do either a clean patch and discuss it with
you (including update of the corresponding .md5sums and .list files,
manpages, etc.), or create a really minimal quick'n'dirty patch which
is easy to carry in my local installation.



[1] http://www.linux.codehelp.co.uk/serendipity/index.php?/archives/25-dpkg-filtering.html

Martin Pitt                        | http://www.piware.de
Ubuntu Developer (www.ubuntu.com)  | Debian Developer  (www.debian.org)

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