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carlosinfl 08-23-2008 11:18 AM

Distributions Offering Too Much?
 
I have been using Linux since 2003 so I would say I know enough to get my hands dirty but lack the old testament experiences of compiling kernels from source and doing other tasks required back in the day. My point of this thread is since I have been using Linux, it seems that as things progress for Linux, I am seeing a lack of option to control package selections on most commonly used distributions. For example, at work we use RHEL & CentOS and sadly there is no minimal install option. Sure you can select and de-select what packages you want and don't want but it seems that no matter how minimal I try and trim the install, there are always dependencies of things I don't want or need. So far I have only been able to get Debian Etch stripped down to basically just the bare minimal to what I need to boot then I can install exactly what I want and or need. RHEL and CentOS no longer offer a "minimal install" option since moving to release 5. I guess my point is I wish developers would really take to heart that there are weirdos like me who just want a stripped bare minimal install of Linux and then allow me the option to install exactly what I want post install :D

arizonagroovejet 08-23-2008 11:27 AM

Gentoo? You can start with pretty much nothing, compile everything from source and control the build options.

carlosinfl 08-23-2008 11:34 AM

Gentoo is the only distribution I have never tried. I have heard to many horror stories and really have never compiled anything from source. Perhaps Gentoo would be a great learning experience but to be honest - its the one distribution that scares the crap out of me for simply ignorance. I am sure its not that bad but I don't understand the installer, I heard it takes for ever to install depending on the stage, I don't know the package maintainer, and other aspects of Gentoo. I am sure there are lots of good guides. I will perhaps try Gentoo on a spare machine one day just to say I tried.

pwc101 08-23-2008 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carlwill (Post 3257095)
So far I have only been able to get Debian Etch stripped down to basically just the bare minimal to what I need to boot then I can install exactly what I want and or need. RHEL and CentOS no longer offer a "minimal install" option since moving to release 5.

You can do a netinst installation of Debian, which installs only the bare minimum; whatever else you need, you apt-get install. It's one of the most sensible ways of doing things I've come across, so long as you have the bandwidth to download another 100MB+ of packages.

carlosinfl 08-23-2008 11:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pwc101 (Post 3257114)
You can do a netinst installation of Debian, which installs only the bare minimum; whatever else you need, you apt-get install. It's one of the most sensible ways of doing things I've come across, so long as you have the bandwidth to download another 100MB+ of packages.

Yes and no. If you do a "netinst" of Debian, it assumes you want Exim4 as an MTA and other small things which can conflict the entire reasoning for the server. When I do a "netinst" of Debian, during the "tasksel" section, I de-select the default 2 options that are selected:

- Desktop Environment
- Base System

I never use a GUI on my servers, and sadly base system includes cups and exim4 which cause conflicts with Postfix if I am building an email server. You can remove Exim4 with apt-get remove --purge however this does not remove the exim4-debian user and group so now you have traces or trash on your newly built system. My biggest pet peeve.

j.todd 08-23-2008 01:31 PM

You could build your own distro from scratch. Just check out the Linux From Scratch website, there's a couple different guides; from beginner to expert.

Micro420 08-23-2008 01:46 PM

There is a CentOS 4 Server CD (1-cd install). It is really convenient because like you, I only needed a minimal install to get a webserver or file server going. Didn't need much more. Since CentOS 5 came out, the developers did not make a Server CD. I wish they did.

Although I hate Ubuntu, I do have to say that I like their 1-cd install.

dv502 08-23-2008 01:55 PM

You can try arch linux as well. Arch does a bare install and lets you install the rest of the stuff as your needs apply. There is no compiling during the installation of arch.

Visit the website listed from my sig.

carlosinfl 08-23-2008 02:01 PM

Yes, I hear a Arch compared to Gentoo a lot w/o the headaches. Perhaps another fun task.

Thanks!

Hangdog42 08-23-2008 03:27 PM

How about a Slackware install with just the A and N folders. That should get you a console only system with network support. You can add from there.

jay73 08-24-2008 06:36 AM

I can see what you mean, Fedora is a really bad case. Like it doesn't allow removing an application to overclock radeon cards when you have an nvidia card. Speaking of common sense...

pinniped 08-24-2008 06:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carlwill (Post 3257106)
Gentoo is the only distribution I have never tried. I have heard to many horror stories and really have never compiled anything from source.

There's no reason to fear Gentoo. Like other distros, you can use pre-built stuff. :) Aside from libc6 and the kernel, I wouldn't recommend rebuilding anything else anyway; in fact most of the time I wouldn't recommend building libc6 (unless you really know what you're doing). Debian provides several builds of libc6 so you can choose the best one for your processor type.

As for Debian - the installer installs way too much these days. In another recent thread there have been comments that packages on the "recommends" list now get installed unless you tell apt to ignore it (via "APT::Install-Recommends false" in the apt.conf file). Another poster suggested that the same be done for the "Suggests" list (APT::Install-Suggests false). I wish I'd known that before I spent hours making notes on dependencies in an attempt to trim down a system I was installing. There's really far too much bloat in Debian these days.

rob.rice 08-24-2008 08:37 PM

another vote for slackware I had a rescue install with just the tools to repair the system that fit in 30 megs


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