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Old 12-01-2012, 07:27 PM   #1
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Red face Debian in Less Than 500 MB?


I'm trying to install a barebone Debian Squeeze installation, hosting purely a mail server (postfix, dbmail, postgresql and fetchmail). No X server, no ssh, any admin will be done locally via CLI.

Two storage media involved: a small SSD for the system (512 MB) and a larger hardware RAID array for mail storage.

I have tried simulating this via VirtualBox. With just the "Standard System" option initially selected in tasksel, the installation takes up over 600 MB, more with the installation of my specifics.

I thought the "Standard System" was the smallest install possible? How can I go about stripping down the system so that I can be sure that only the things that I need (and their dependencies) are installed?

For reference, I did manage to make a smaller system in CentOS 6, but my final target is an ARM system with only Debian supported.
Old 12-01-2012, 08:33 PM   #2
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I'd advise also putting /var on the hardware RAID, since you'll want to allow space for log files, which for a mail server can grow quite copious in size.

I'm not usre how I'd recommend stripping down any further. Even the Linux kernel and initrd take ca 20 MB on my Arch system, which is aleady ~ 5% of your space. You might want to go for a more stripped down distro such as Puppy, if you can convince it to install on your hardware. Otherwise, you might just need to shell out for a 1 GB SSD (should not be very expensive).
Old 12-02-2012, 11:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by SMurf7 View Post
How can I go about stripping down the system so that I can be sure that only the things that I need (and their dependencies) are installed?
Don't select any tasks with tasksel, then install just the packages you want.
Old 12-02-2012, 11:28 AM   #4
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You may find this helpful:

Frankly I don't understand the self-imposed arbitrary limit of 512mb. I can tell you from experience that Linux really doesn't like it when you run out of space on / partition. For less than $100 you can buy a nice big drive to accommodate a stable-reliable-easy-to-install-maintain-and-upgrade Debian mailserver. Isn't that worth a few $$ to upgrade your hardware and have a pleasant Debian experience?


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