about the base install

Marc MERLIN marc at merlins.org
Tue Apr 12 14:11:23 CDT 2005

On Tue, Apr 12, 2005 at 08:58:21AM -0700, Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> We considered this when introducing (renaming, really) the server-mode
> install, but there was a distinct lack of concrete proposals.  To me, a
> server install should be minimal and conservative, and allow the admin to
> add the necessary software for that system to fill its intended role.
> There is essentially no additional software that I (personally) want
> installed on _every_ server, except for ssh, and a task for a single package
> doesn't make sense.  The base system provides a fairly rich set of server
> administration tools.
> Do you have specific suggestions in this area?

Mmmh, I see your point.
The problem is that the current base ubuntu install seemed fairly big anyway
for a stripped down server install.

How about a:
ubuntu-base: libc/sysinit/coreutils/getty/sshd/ip-utils/vi-minimal and so forth
just the base minimum. This should be around 50MB, maybe 100MB now?

after that:
ubuntu-desktop / ubuntu-gnome / ubuntu-kde
(note that ubuntu-desktop has basic user utils and X, but no desktop
managers. That's if I want just X and twm/enlightenment/blackbox/whatever)

For the rest, I think the way RH does it isn't bad: 
- ubuntu-extras (all common stuff people put on top of a stripped down
  server: default mta/vim/emacs/mc/perl/python/ruby?/tcl?)
- ubuntu-printing
- ubuntu-web (i.e. apache and all the mods/php/etc)
- ubuntu-devel (devel libs/includes/full compilers)
- ubuntu-games
- and a few more, look at a recent RH install for other examples

This more or less mirrors RH's options except that the minimal RH install is
absolutely way too big and laughable for a stripped down server

> > For that matter, for stuff like postfix (not an ubuntu-desktop
> > dependency), if I want exim4 by default do I have to let the installer put
> > it, and then remove it myself and put exim or is there a way to seed
> > negative packages compared to the default install?
> We'll be skirting this issue for the next release by removing postfix from
> the base install (which will allow the admin to choose any MTA easily, or
> have none at all).

I'll just be removing ubuntu-base for now, which I guess isn't a huge deal
I'm also not quite sure why ubuntu switched away from exim4 since debian put
a lot of effort into the exim4 package due to the number of users (along
with a nice debconf setup, and the option to have a self maintained
exim4-config replacement, but I'm sure that's an FAQ and I don't want to
start an MTA war :)
Either way, the base should depend on an mta virtual dependency, but that's
not a huge deal.

Either way, just see this as my personal opinion and nothing earth
shattering. I can just fix the package lists after the install, even if it's
a bit suboptimal to remove stuff that just got installed :)
I'd say that if you can only offer just a very small ubuntu-base/server
install, you'd be there 90% of the way IMO (adding stuff on top is always

"A mouse is a device used to point at the xterm you want to type in" - A.S.R.
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