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Emdebian Grip is available - and 25% smaller.

I've just converted my Acer Aspire1 (i386) - running XFCE - from Debian
Lenny to Emdebian Grip:

607 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 2 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 184MB of archives.
After this operation, 278MB disk space will be freed.

Yes, update 600 packages and have nearly 300Mb more free space - that's
a 400Kb space saving *per package*, on average. Gaining 90Mb more free
space than the total size of the download is nice too.

Comparison *after* using 'sudo apt-get clean' to remove downloaded

Debian Lenny:
/dev/sda1             7.1G  1.2G  5.6G  17% /

Emdebian Grip (unstable)
/dev/sda1             7.1G  919M  5.8G  14% /

I make that about 25% smaller and not all packages installed on the
machine have been "gripped" - (about 100 remain, many of which I
should probably remove anyway).

Add the Grip source to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/
deb http://buildd.emdebian.org/grip/ unstable main

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install grip-config

This is a very important stage - Emdebian Grip is still in development
and with the Lenny freeze, a few wrappers and helpers are needed to
allow smooth migrations between Debian and Emdebian - grip-config is
Architecture:all and contains the relevant scripts. (grip-config is
Priority: required so debootstrap picks it up by default.) grip-config
also includes the same key as the emdebian-archive-keyring package used
by all Emdebian repositories.

Only after grip-config is installed should you use:

$ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Note that this is a complete replacement, including libc6, apt,
coreutils, dpkg and (on i386) the stock kernel. As such, it can take a
while to complete the installation once the download is complete. (As
ever, if the kernel is updated, ensure you reboot before you next
suspend to disk - even the "gripping" changes may confuse grub when
deciding whether to use the suspended image.)

A few packages are currently behind Debian Sid (notably ncurses) and
I'm working on the scripts to enable full update automation.

One other problem is that /usr/share/locale/locale.alias has also
disappeared which compromises localisation support right now but that's
fairly easy to fix.

Note that this test install *adds* the Emdebian Grip repository to the
existing Debian sources and relies on the em[0-9] version suffix to
implement the upgrade - packages that are behind Debian get left at the
Debian versions, you can also use normal pinning.

$ apt-cache policy
Package files:
 100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
     release a=now
 500 http://buildd.emdebian.org unstable/main Packages
     release v=0.1,o=Debian,a=sid,l=EmdebianGrip,c=main
     origin buildd.emdebian.org
 500 http://ftp.uk.debian.org sid/main Packages
     release o=Debian,a=unstable,l=Debian,c=main
     origin ftp.uk.debian.org
Pinned packages:

I've done some testing with debootstrap and a chroot works too - it
should be possible to ally these packages with the normal Debian
installer because there is no point "gripping" udebs that are already
v.small and the packages that actually get installed are dictated by
your choice of mirror. debian-live should be gaining support for
Emdebian Grip in due course.

If someone fancies trying a test installation by choosing
http://buildd.emdebian.org/grip as their mirror in d-i, let me know.

(Installing Grip is likely to result in further size gains as the Grip
repository data does not support Recommends, so you don't have to try
and get d-i to not use recommended packages).

Emdebian Grip (unstable) is now available for 7 architectures:

i386, amd64, arm, armel, mips, mipsel and powerpc.
(amd64 is my debugging arch, that's the only reason it is listed)

Please report any and all bugs to the buildd.emdebian.org
pseudo-package in the Debian BTS.

If you want more packages added, set up a Debian machine or chroot with
all the packages you need (and only the ones you need) and send the
complete output of 'dpkg --get-selections' to this list.

Alternatively, file RFP bugs against buildd.emdebian.org at wishlist

To see the current list of packages, use the search support:

Headline packages:
coreutils, perl, python, apt, dpkg, grip-config, XFCE, debhelper, make,
devscripts, sylpheed, iceweasel, drivel, xchat-gnome, gpe-tetris,
totem-gstreamer, liferea, thunar, evince, seahorse, gthumb, libsqlite3,
pilot-link, python-gnome2, lua, tcl, gcc-4.3, libmysqlclient15off. (All
these are installed in that 919Mb above.)

Currently, very few -dev packages exist in Grip - I need to know which
ones are needed and whether to just use the Debian packages unchanged.
(If you've space to build packages, you probably don't care if the -dev
packages are not gripped.) I'll make the emdebian-grip package available
on Grip itself in due course so that new and bespoke packages can also
be "gripped". (If you ask for cross-building support on Grip you are
officially insane.)

I'm migrating the current packages to Emdebian Grip testing soon and
I'll be making a release of Emdebian Grip 1.0 (based on Debian 5.0
"Lenny") as well as Emdebian Crush 1.0 (based on Debian 5.0 "Lenny"),
alongside the main Lenny release.

Finally, note that Grip is binary compatible with Debian - indeed, the
binaries themselves are untouched - but bugs that appear in Emdebian
Grip must only be filed against the buildd.emdebian.org pseudo-package.
Right now, reportbug is not part of Emdebian Grip because I need a way
of telling reportbug to only use the pseudo-package.

The main usability improvements will come in the development of
Emdebian 2.0 (based on Debian 6.0 "Squeeze") - please consider Emdebian
1.0 as a "developer release", think back to what things were like with
Slackware 1.0 or Debian buzz, rex or bo.

P.S. there is no concept of a release-critical bug in Emdebian Grip, at
least not yet - the 1.0 release will happen as soon as Grip testing is
in sync with the released Lenny (no matter what). Please do not file any
bugs against buildd.emdebian.org with higher severity than important,
it will just annoy people trying to fix RC bugs in Lenny. Please also
do not file bugs against Debian packages based on problems in Emdebian
Grip, that will also annoy (and confuse) Debian maintainers.


Neil Williams

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