Moving w3m out of standard

Soren Hansen soren at
Fri Jun 20 23:06:57 UTC 2008

On Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 11:57:29AM -0500, James Dinkel wrote:
>>>> 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.
>>> I'm not sure if you're trying to spark a flame war or not.
> I think this is a great idea (I actually even suggested that in the
> last Server Team meeting).  I'm all for keeping the install process as
> simple as possible, which means keeping the questions and options to a
> minimum, but I think an additional option to install a bare system or
> to include a set of recommended tools would be worthwhile.

>>> Here's my list:
>>> openssh
>>> samba
>>> apache
>>> postfix
>>> dovecot
>>> openvpn
> um, he's not really suggesting making all these part of the standard
> install, is he?  

Well, that was the topic of the discussion.

> Though the original email was off-list, I'm guessing he was being
> sarcastic here.

I wasn't sure, so I went the safe way and assumed that he wasn't and
tried to provide feedback to his suggestions.

> There are certain software packages that go on EVERY linux server I
> set up, such as screen and openssh-server.  However, I refrain from
> suggesting these go in to the server seed, because some people may not
> use them and they are easily, for me, to apt-get them. 

What exactly is the goal we're trying to achieve by refusing to install
something as useful as e.g. screen?

Are you ashamed of the set of packages you install on every server? Are
there ones you really wish you didn't have to install, but still do? If
not, these packages might very well be what we should consider best
practice to install, and I'd very, *very* much like to see your list.

> I'm not preaching to turn Ubuntu into the perfectly customized server
> distro just for me, 

Nor am I. I'm a) trying to have a discussion about the criteria we use
for choosing the software that goes on our server installs by default,
and then b) trying to apply the logic of my suggested changes and see
what the outcome is.

> I'm preaching to keep it efficient and secure, while providing the
> canvas for admins to create the perfectly customized server for
> themselves.

Michael made comments to this affect as well. I'll address this in my
e-mail response to him.

>>> And, excuse me, saying we can just apt-get remove it is surely the
>>> *dumbest* suggestion I've heard on an Internet list anytime
>>> recently.
> While not the dumbest, I do not like this suggestion, though I do
> practice it.  Particularly on my Redhat servers.  I go though the
> running daemons and uninstall any that are stupid to have on a server
> (like pcmcia and bluez services).  I have a "sudo yum remove" line all
> written down in a text file that I just copy, paste, and run on every
> server, right after install.

I'm not suggesting that we install all sorts of stuff that will not be
useful to most people. I'm in fact suggesting that we install stuff that
*will* be useful to most people. I'd like to install the stuff that only
a minority will want to remove. For instance, it's already perfectly
possible to use a system that doesn't provide an editor other than nano
or ed or whatever, but still we provide vim-tiny in our minimal
installs. We do this because a *lot* of people find this useful.

>> "Oh, so maybe we shouldn't even install a coreutils? Or a kernel?
>> Maybe we should make an apt-get remove --ALL option?" (I'm taking a
>> stab at the
>> take-whatever-people-say-and-blow-it-completely-out-of-proportions
>> things. How am I doing?)
> I think there is a pretty big difference between compiling your own
> kernel and running "sudo apt-get install foobar".

I'm not suggesting that people compile their own kernels. I'm just
saying that they're only an apt-get install away anyway, so why bother
installing it by default? As I said, I was deliberately trying to blow
things as much out of proportion as Michael does, in an attempt to get a
point across. The point in question is that we already install lots of
stuff that otherwise would only be an apt-get install away, but the
convenience of their being installed by default by far outweighs the
crappiness of each user having to do it him-/herself.

> I don't believe I've ever used ftp or openssh-client from a server, so
> those could easily go.  I very very rarely have used at and am
> actually kinda surprised to hear it is installed by default.

Well.. it is.  :)

>>> So don't start me out in a mansion when a rustic cabin is adequate
>>> for my needs.
>> To keep to the house analogies, I think that your suggestion is
>> closer to just providing the foundation of the house and leave it up
>> to anyone who actually wants a place to live to build the house
>> itself, install doors, windows, heating facilities, bathrooms,
>> kitchens, etc., because, you know, a very significant percentage of
>> the world's population manages survives without most of these things,
>> so who are we to go and decide that everyone should have heating
>> facilites installed even though they can just choose to not turn them
>> on?
> I would prefer the foundation so I can customize the size, layout, and
> features how I want them.  This is assuming your analogy means I can
> just point my finger and say "sudo apt-get install toilet".

Well, if there's only one possible type of toilet anyway, I see no
reason to not install it by default. Well, maybe there's another type,
but it can only be installed upside down, or it has spikes on it, so
they're not really useful alternatives at all. Without the toilet, the
house is habitable, but will soon prove to be annoying to almost anyone
who attemts to live in it.

I think I'm ready to ditch this analogy now and talk about actual
packages :)

> The server itself could have been connected to the internet with a
> 100mbit fiber line.  Also, everyone keeps bringing this up that
> "you'll wish you had it when things go sour" but even with my stripped
> down installs I've never felt that I was lacking any tools on the
> server when troubleshooting.

Well, a) you install a stack of packages on all your servers anyhow, so
your available selection of packages is different from everybody else's,
and b) this is not just about having tools that will help you get out of
a jam. This is about all kinds of useful stuff.

> I'm too lazy and busy to proofread all this, so I hope I was
> intelligible and courteous.

I'm happy to report that no virtualisation specialists were harmed,
injured, or offended during the reading of your e-mail. :)

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