[lug] Minimal Linux?

Randy Arabie rrarabie at arabie.org
Thu Sep 5 05:59:15 MDT 2002

On 4 Sep 2002, Ed Hill wrote:

> On Wed, 2002-09-04 at 15:43, Randy Arabie wrote:
> > On Wed, 4 Sep 2002 David.Menges at UCHSC.edu wrote:
> > 
> > > I'm building a Linux web server and would like to hear from anyone that has
> > > minimized what software gets loaded when Linux is built.  The goal is mainly
> > > security, but simplicity, performance, etc. wouldn't be bad either.  I have
> > > searched the archives and web sites and not found anything, so maybe no one
> > > bothers with this.
> > 
> > There are several distributions that cater to this sort of situation - Gentoo 
> > and LFS (Linux From Scratch).
> > 
> > If you don't build it, it won't get installed.  I've never used/installed LFS,
> > but I've got a Gentoo system.  I like it. 
> Hi Randy,
> You need not deal with the (painfully?) slow process of LFS or others to
> build minimal installs.  


The Gentoo installation process does offer you the option to install 
pre-compiled binarys (or is it binaries) of the base system.  You don't 
_have_ to build/compile everything.  In that sense, it is much like Debian, 
which was mentioned by Tim.

Installing Gentoo on anything less than a PII (500 mHz) system will likely be 
a slow process.  It is a rather new distro, and has been desinged primarily 
as a server distro.  My favorite feature is the portage system.

The Gentoo portage system is modelled the FreeBSD ports system, and is a
very easy to use package installation and package management system.  Once 
your base system is up you can use portage to install the rest of your apps.
I've been told it is somewhat like app-get (Debian), but I'm not familiar with 

Of course, there are many other options to get what you want, some of which
are mentioned by Ed.  That's really the best feature of GNU/Linux...options.

> You can very easily accomplish the same sort of
> thing (that is, an install with just the necessary/desired packages)
> using the common RPM-based distros such as Red Hat, KRUD, Mandrake, or
> SuSE.
> The process:
>   1) identify the packages you want
>   2) perform the install using whatever "expert" mode that the 
>      distro has that allows package selection and/or removal on 
>      an individual basis  -- selecting only the things you need 
>      or want and de-selecting all the rest
>   3) #2 can be an iterative process since the install program 
>      (on Red Hat, for instance) will help you with package 
>      dependencies
>   4) done.
> I've done this for installs on older hardware (486's and 586's with
> small hard drives) where I don't want XFree86 or other bloat, just
> something to, for example, ssh into and control serial port(s).
> If you know packages you want, this process is straight-forward and
> works well.  And, if you want, I'll be happy to demo it at the upcoming
> Installfest.  ;-)
> hth,
> Ed


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