I've been looking at the dependencies of our base system packages, and
also the size of the live images. I'm not very happy with what I've seen.
The 64-bit PowerPC live target image is 364 MiB uncompressed. I feel
like this is significantly larger than it needs to be.
The single largest package, at 51.2 MB, is Perl. The only package
pulling Perl into the base system is console-setup. Max (sroracle@) has
mentioned investigating a replacement for console-setup, so I will defer
to that work. That would be a great and simple win by itself.
Another large set of packages is our viewer for manual pages. Right
now, documentation viewing is done via man-db. The man-db package is
1.2 MB, but it requires the GNU groff typesetting system which is 17 MB
and the Berkeley database library which is an additional 2.1 MB. Added
up, this is over 20 MB.
The BSD operating systems, Gentoo, Void, and Alpine are using the mandoc
package, which came from the OpenBSD and NetBSD communities. This
package appears to be less than 1 MB installed, and would allow us to
not only significantly reduce the size of all base images, but would
also allow us to remove another GNU package from base. I think we
should seriously investigate this option.
The live images also include hwids, allowing you to determine the names
of PCI cards, graphics adaptors, network adaptors, etc. from the live
environment. This is very useful, but the databases use almost 30 MB.
Can we investigate if there is any way to compress them? I understand
that squashfs already uses gzip on the entire image, but I am also
thinking about size used on installed systems.
Finally, the GRUB base package uses 17 MB for the various tools. I do
not think all of those tools are needed in the base GRUB package - do
all systems really need `grub-sparc64-setup` or `grub-syslinux2cfg`? I
feel this should be something else we investigate.
Comments and additional suggestions are quite welcome. If anyone would
like to take one of these items and work on it, please feel free and
respond to the list that you are doing so.
Best to you and yours,
A. Wilcox (awilfox)
Project Lead, Adélie Linux