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Re: Installation Philosophy



tfreeman intel digichem net wrote:
I'm finally getting around to FC5 installation, to see if I like it, and if it is worth the effort for me to change from FC4. It's too early to tell about FC5's worth to me, but I did get an idea during one of the pauses during installation.

But first, some guesses and observations. Install routines need to be as simple as possible since every option is an opportunity to incure a support expense or a flat out bug. Also, from the installer's point of view, a majority probably can not optimise each install very much due to a lack of time and/or end user information. Therefor, the smart thing for a given distribution to do is to get two or three generic installations mostly right while erring mostly on the side of being too generous with applications since disk space is _relatively_ cheap at this time.

In otherwords, I don't really have a beef with the FC installation routines. I think in general they make sense.

Ok. I'm through trying to be reasonable now. I'm curious if an install routine could be added to FC which starts with an absolutely minimally bootable system, to which only selected components get added at the choice of the installer.

Let me attempt a example and hope it makes sense. Assume I'm doing an install, and have selected the "anal retentive" option (or what ever it is called). The installer lines up just enough packages to create a bootable system with bash, pam, and possibly networking. In theory, I could stop there, install nothing else, and have a working system for a very very limited definition of "working".

From this "working" system, in one case, I want to have a headless server.
I need packages for samba, nfs, dhcp, MTA (postfix?), IMAP4 (dovecot?). For the moment I'll ignore some utilities like nut, and ssh(d) which would be excellent additions to the system. While installing X isn't going to actively hurt anything, for a headless machine X is pure waste.

Note that the package/capabilities list covers only one relatively unique situation. Somebodyelses server could need a database server, but drop dhcp. Or maybe add a sound streaming server and ldap server without file shareing. And so forth.

An alternative is that I'm actually building up a server machine with heavy duty desktop capabilities with Gnome. Or maybe the machine is just a desktop with KDE. My point isn't that FC can not be customized to this type level, but the approach feels backwards to me. Packages need to be removed, or turned off and removed to reduce the security exposure. A fair amount of background knowledge is needed to do this reduction without hurting something.

In contrast, by building the system up selecting only the specific capabilities needed, there should be less need to remove/shut off packages which are not needed.

I realize that both Gentoo and Slackware (and possibly Debian) have much of if not all of this flexibility, but I'm most comfortable with Red Hat/rpm style systems.

If the list thinks I've got something here in terms of a desired capability, I'll try to bugzilla something coherant to the developers for consideration. If not, well it won't be the first time I've had a brain fart...

Thanks in advance for the bandpass and consideration.


I agree with you and this should be put in as an RFE on bugzilla.

If you have been following the Install Everything thread, it is part of this thread.

A menu selection of basic bootable installation or even as suggested in the Install thread, just a boot image to install applications after.

The I see a basic server install with sub menu to add/remove applications from the install. A basic desktop install, a development install and then a full install. You could pick both the desktop and server at the same time to install more than just the basic but not as much as the full install.

This would be similar to what used to be available years ago.
--
Robin Laing


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