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Re: design focus [was Large initrd, was booting problem (udev related?)]

On Fri, Aug 03, 2007 at 12:25:15PM -0400, Douglas Allan Tutty wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 03, 2007 at 05:54:57PM +0300, Andrei Popescu wrote:
> > On Thu, Aug 02, 2007 at 08:34:00PM -0400, Douglas Allan Tutty wrote:
> >  
> > > However, don't all those modules in the initrd end up staying in the
> > > kernel anyway, or do they get unloaded during boot?  If they stay, and
> > > 'most' modules get added, how is that different than having a huge
> > > monolithic kernel?  It may not matter on a box with huge memory, but I
> > > have mostly small-memory boxes.
> > 
> > I may be wrong, but I think that only the needed modules are actually 
> > loaded.

I think this is correct, only the needed modules are actually loaded
into the kernel. The initrd makes the *available* for loading. And
when / pivots, I think the initrd memory gets freed. So its really
only an issue during the initial bootstrap. A really large initrd on a
memory-bound machine could get in the way. A really large initrd on an
I/O bound machine can take a long time to load in. But, IMO, for
general purpose machines, its not a big deal.

> > 
> > > As for xorg-video-foo, that's why I don't install the xorg metapackage.
> > > I choose from its dependencies what I need.  
> > 
> > Same here
> All these extra packages together take a lot of disk space, a lot of
> download bandwidth to install and maintain.

yeah, the extra packages definitely are an issue. I'm not so sure tht
the extra kernel modules are all that big a deal in the long run. but
that's just a gut feeling.

> > 
> > > /rant
> > > 
> > > There's a growing kitchen-sink approach in Debian (perhaps all of Linux,
> > > I don't know).  There's the kernel/initrd size, there's the variable
> > > device name problems, to name two.  It suggests to me that there's a
> > > missing piece of infrastructure.  Perhaps the installer system should
> > > create a hardware inventory file that initrdtools (or whatever the
> > > nom de jure) can access to generate a tailord initrd, that apt can
> > > consult for what drivers to download, etc.  The installer rescue mode
> > > could offer a tool to regenerate the inventory file for times when one
> > > changes hardware.
> > > 
> > > /end rant
> > 
> > True, but you have to consider the competition. 
> I guess the problem is related to this notion of trying to compete with
> MS.  If people 'buy' brand A because they like features x,y, and z, and
> brand B has the goal of gaining market share, it will tend to morph into
> a clone (feature-wise) of brand A.  However, it will tend to take on
> some of the compromises of brand B that go with features x, y, and z.  

I think that on the whole, debian strikes a decent balance. You get
the kitchen sink, but have the option to switch over to a bare pipe
sticking out of the wall for no charge other than your own labor. :)


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