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Re: why not kernel images and other tools?

My question is a little different. When you install a package on a
RedHat system, a local rpm database is queried and manipulated. I
assume that the desktop Debian system is similar. However maintaining a
"local" database would not be good for an embedded system. (since I am
new to Debian I am making assumptions about how things work so this
message may be totally irrelevant.)

It depends.  It's certainly true that the dpkg database on a full
desktop is megabytes in size and inappropriate for small spaces. On the
other hand, the ipkg database is a lot smaller (100s of K or less,
depending on a number of factors), and in many cases you want an
otherwise independent machine which is able to maintain its own
database of packages.  For "static" or very space constrained systems,
or where you have lots of cloned systems, a central database on a
server may well prove to be the correct option.

This is exactly where I was going. Is it possible to have a central database of system configurations?

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