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Old 10-05-2019, 02:27 PM   #1
upnort
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Tagfiles


There have been past conversations here about minimal and custom installations. With my recent desire to build a Slackware gateway, I plan to perform a minimal installation. I planned to create and later share some custom tag files.

With that in mind I wondered if others are interested in creating a collection of tagfiles.

As a full Slackware installation provides an all-purpose foundation for servers and desktops, the idea is to create tagfiles for limited purposes.

Some ideas for custom tagfiles:

All-purpose server (not a desktop/workstation)
DHCP server
DNS server
Database server
File server
Gateway/router
Mail server
Print server
SSH server (jump box)
Time (NTP) server
Ultimate bare bones install (only those packages needed to reboot the system)
VPN server
Web server

Perhaps some of these tagfiles already exist somewhere.

This thread is for fun and tinkering only. If proving to be useful the tagfiles could be posted to the Slackware wiki.

Edit: I'll add a traditional disclaimer. Tagfiles are for experienced users or users with special needs. No debate or discussion is needed in this thread about the traditional recommendation for most users to perform a full install.

Edit: Added "All-purpose server (not a desktop/workstation)" option. Initially this option might be seen as not being needed because excluding /kde[i], /x, /xap, /xfce series packages would get reasonably close to the goal, but the /l series includes packages that would no longer be needed if the previous series of packages are excluded.

Last edited by upnort; 10-08-2019 at 08:41 PM. Reason: Add tagfile options and disclaimer.
 
Old 10-06-2019, 10:12 AM   #2
PROBLEMCHYLD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upnort View Post
There have been past conversations here about minimal and custom installations. With my recent desire to build a Slackware gateway, I plan to perform a minimal installation. I planned to create and later share some custom tag files.

With that in mind I wondered if others are interested in creating a collection of tagfiles.

As a full Slackware installation provides an all-purpose foundation for servers and desktops, the idea is to create tagfiles for limited purposes.

Some ideas for custom tagfiles:

DHCP server
DNS server
Database server
File server
Gateway/router
Mail server
Print server
SSH server (jump box)
Time (NTP) server
Web server

Perhaps some of these tagfiles already exist somewhere.

This thread is for fun and tinkering only. If proving to be useful the tagfiles could be posted to the Slackware wiki.
What about RDP, L2TP/IPSEC, PPTP etc... Might as well be a full blown server. I'd be interested in something like this...
 
Old 10-06-2019, 11:50 AM   #3
upnort
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Quote:
What about RDP, L2TP/IPSEC, PPTP etc... Might as well be a full blown server.
Sure, add to the list. The thread is for fun and tinkering with the hope of becoming useful.
 
Old 10-06-2019, 01:05 PM   #4
Geist
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I have an usb stick with a Slack-Trac (issue/ticket tracker) installation somewhere, it has its own tagfile with it...I should probably grab that again.
I don't use tags/templates often, but I really liket them from a mechanics standpoint. So simple...so good...so useful.
 
Old 10-06-2019, 01:15 PM   #5
karlmag
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upnort View Post
There have been past conversations here about minimal and custom installations. With my recent desire to build a Slackware gateway, I plan to perform a minimal installation. I planned to create and later share some custom tag files.

With that in mind I wondered if others are interested in creating a collection of tagfiles.

As a full Slackware installation provides an all-purpose foundation for servers and desktops, the idea is to create tagfiles for limited purposes.

Some ideas for custom tagfiles:

DHCP server
DNS server
Database server
File server
Gateway/router
Mail server
Print server
SSH server (jump box)
Time (NTP) server
Web server

Perhaps some of these tagfiles already exist somewhere.

This thread is for fun and tinkering only. If proving to be useful the tagfiles could be posted to the Slackware wiki.
I guess I've rarely (ever?) used custom tagfiles.
Though a thought that popped up in my mind when reading your post;
It sounds like what you want is a *very* basic and minimal "base" install for a server (I *would* argue that sshd needs to be a part of that, at least in most cases), but then have all the other customizations as "addons" which combined with the base tagfile creates the "minimalized" install you want. I gather it would be possible to even add multiple of these "addons" to get a minimal box that can do more than one thing. E.g time server + file server + print server (just to pick a couple random ones).

--
KarlMag
 
Old 10-06-2019, 02:11 PM   #6
upnort
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Sure, tagfiles for an ultimate bare bones minimal install could be part of the list.

Traditional wisdom is the /a series is the starting point for a usable Slackware system. For my gateway project I eliminated 24 packages from /a without having yet started tinkering. By the time I have a useful device that number likely will change.

There are use cases where a full installation is recommended but services are not configured or enabled. For example, some people want an air-gapped system with no networking or internet access. A full install is fine, just don't configure networking.
 
Old 10-06-2019, 03:30 PM   #7
Didier Spaier
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A very basic check that the resulting system doesn't miss dependencies:
Code:
for i in $(find /usr/lib{,64} -name "*.so" -type f -executable) \
$(find /bin /usr/bin /sbin/ /usr/sbin -type f -executable); do
    if [ ! "$(ldd $i|grep found)" = "" ]; then
        echo $i
        ldd $i|grep found
    fi
done
Caveats:
  • This doesn't find the python, ruby, perl ... scripts
  • This doesn't guarantee that all definitions used be available in the dependencies. However if you tag only genuine Slackware packages this shouldn't be an issue.
 
Old 10-06-2019, 03:54 PM   #8
philanc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upnort View Post
There have been past conversations here about minimal and custom installations. With my recent desire to build a Slackware gateway, I plan to perform a minimal installation. I planned to create and later share some custom tag files.

With that in mind I wondered if others are interested in creating a collection of tagfiles.
Yes!

In most threads about minimalism, a common issue is the lack of clear goal. Without a target system, "minimal" could mean anything from busybox + some up to xfce instead of kde... What I like in what you propose is to set the target(s) first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by upnort View Post
Sure, tagfiles for an ultimate bare bones minimal install could be part of the list.
Yes. What a "bare bones minimal install" (or "base system" as karlmag called it) should support?

- it must be connected and probably remotely managed. So I think it implies at least

- basic network tools (ip, or ifconfig and friends)
- a SSH server
- iptables
- it is a Slackware server so

- it should include the core structure and most basic libraries (aaa_*) expected by other packages, and core utilities (coreutils, util-linux, bash, ...)

- devices must be set up (kmod, udev), server time must be set (a NTP client), logs must be collected (syslog, klog, logrotate, ...)

- it should be possible to install other Slackware packages. => the core package management tools (installpkg, ...) and maybe slackpkg to make maintenance easier.
+ whatever is used by these (tar, xz, gzip, ...)
- it requires some persistent storage (although it could be only initrd + remote storage, e.g. nfs)
I would suggest to include only tools to setup/repair/tune basic ext4 storage
- information, logs, data may be transferred in or out of the server. So maybe a general purpose utility such as curl.

Any category blatantly missing?
 
Old 10-06-2019, 05:17 PM   #9
upnort
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Quote:
A very basic check that the resulting system doesn't miss dependencies:
Good sanity check!

Quote:
What a "bare bones minimal install" (or "base system" as karlmag called it) should support?
it must be connected and probably remotely managed. So I think it implies at least
My definition probably is unclear.

I intended my use of the phrase to mean the absolute minimal packages needed to reboot with a functional system. That means only packages from the /a series. The other package series are not needed to have a functional system on reboot. Yet many of the /a series packages are not needed for a functional system. Networking is not needed for a functional reboot.

Even then likely there will be opinions about "minimally functional." For example, should xfsprogs be included? Strictly speaking, no, but how to predict if a user wants to use xfs rather than ext4?

Likely there will be more than one tagfile set for "bare bones" install.

Quote:
it is a Slackware server so
While my original list focused mostly on servers, there is plenty of room for other types of systems. For example, in my original list I have Gateway/router, which is not a "server" by some definitions but more of a "device."

Quote:
Any category blatantly missing?
Doesn't matter. I want this to be a fun project for anybody involved. We can add tagfile collections at any time and from anybody. Trial and error will be the primary approach for most folks creating tagfiles.

Last edited by upnort; 10-06-2019 at 05:29 PM.
 
Old 10-06-2019, 05:37 PM   #10
upnort
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Side note: Eric has a shell script to help create custom tagfiles based on the installed packages:

tagfile_generator.sh
 
Old 10-06-2019, 07:03 PM   #11
philanc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upnort View Post
My definition probably is unclear.

I intended my use of the phrase to mean the absolute minimal packages needed to reboot with a functional system. That means only packages from the /a series. The other package series are not needed to have a functional system on reboot. Yet many of the /a series packages are not needed for a functional system. Networking is not needed for a functional reboot.

Even then likely there will be opinions about "minimally functional." For example, should xfsprogs be included? Strictly speaking, no, but how to predict if a user wants to use xfs rather than ext4?
Obviously, a lot depend on what you call "a functional system" :-) As they say, the devil is in the details...
Quote:
While my original list focused mostly on servers, there is plenty of room for other types of systems. For example, in my original list I have Gateway/router, which is not a "server" by some definitions but more of a "device."
Yes... my point was mainly network or no network. If your gateway device has no network, you may find it a bit limited
 
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Old 10-06-2019, 08:30 PM   #12
upnort
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Quote:
my point was mainly network or no network.
A full installation is possible without configuring the network. Tagfiles don't play a role.
 
Old 10-06-2019, 11:41 PM   #13
philanc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upnort View Post
A full installation is possible without configuring the network. Tagfiles don't play a role.
I just don't understand what you mean. The tagfiles just define what packages should be installed.

If the target box (be it a server or a gateway device) has no network connection, once installed, what would the box be used for?

If the box is connected to the network, then some packages with the basic network management utilities (ip, or ipconfig, ...) must be installed, right? So these packages must be listed in the tagfiles.

What do you mean by "Tagfiles don't play a role"?
 
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Old 10-07-2019, 09:01 AM   #14
rainydais
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That's a great idea. I always start with a minimal install and built up from there, would be great to have some tagfiles configurations for various needs. Will look up my minimal tagfiles when I get home.
 
Old 10-07-2019, 01:43 PM   #15
upnort
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Quote:
If the target box (be it a server or a gateway device) has no network connection, once installed, what would the box be used for?
Yes, in most use cases network packages will be desired. I provided an example earlier when somebody might not want those packages -- an air-gapped system.

Quote:
What do you mean by "Tagfiles don't play a role"?
Tagfiles do not play a role in whether networking is configured. The install script asks the user to configure networking and the user may decline.
 
  


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