Moving w3m out of standard

Soren Hansen soren at
Fri Jun 20 08:33:43 UTC 2008

On Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 01:03:48PM -0500, Michael Hipp wrote:
>> I think an interactive web browser is completely unnecessary on a
>> server.  You should do your browsing from a workstation, and then use
>> wget or sftp to transfer any files you need to the server.
> And w3m or similar tools are only one command away with apt-get if you
> do need them. Let's keep the "clutter" to a minimum.

This seems to be a common theme when it comes to discussing what goes on
servers by default and what doesn't.

  "We shouldn't put foo on servers by default, because not everyone
  needs it, and it's easily apt-get installable if you need it."

Well, that might be true, but consider the converse:

  "Some people need it, and it's easily apt-get removable if you don't."

which is also true.

With the advent of the server seed, I think the time is ripe for us to
be slightly (not much, but just a tiny bit) more promiscuous in our
choice of what gets installed by default.

w3m is a good example of this.  You might not use it every day (or even
week, month, or year), but the convenience of finding it there when you
need it weighed against the space "wasted" for it while you don't makes
it a reasonable candidate for being installed by default, and I'm glad
this decision was made at the server team meeting a few days ago, too.
Something like screen would fall into sort of the same sorting pile, but
I think these are just the starting points.  I for one would certainly
be open to a discussion about additional tools being installed by
default, like chkrootkit, smartmontools, munin-node[1], checksecurity,
bzr, etckeeper (I haven't actually looked into this one, but it seems
like something we might want to push), ntp[1], etc.  This is all stuff
that would (begin to) turn the server install from a very basic system
on top of which you can install stuff to actually make it useful into
something that does that too, but also promotes a set of best practices
and such. So far, our only tools for doing that have been inclusion into
main and sometimes documentation.

We should probably add an install option to the server CD to only
install the base system, so that the die hard group of old school admins
can keep their Ubuntu systems as small as possible, though.

[1]: At least ntp and munin-node do have open sockets, but they're both
only bound to the loopback interface, so I don't expect this to be
overly controversial.

Soren Hansen               | 
Virtualisation specialist  | Ubuntu Server Team
Canonical Ltd.             |
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