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Re: Newbie Idea

On Fri, 23 Apr 1999, Scott D. Boyd wrote:

> I think that's a great idea! Does anybody in the Independence Project know
> what RPMs are *not* needed if one is not a hacker or programmer? I'm pretty

A quick summary:

*	removing the *devel RPMs saves a lot of space. These take up about 60MB 
*	the latex stuff ( tetex-* ) hog disk sapce ( ~75MB ) 
*	emacs ( escape-meta-alt-control-shift ) is a biggie
*	foreign language howtos are redundant. the user only need download
their own language howto. Also, sgml and PS format HOWTOs might not be
*	kernel source is a waste for most users
*	glibc profile is big and unnecessary
*	gimp-data-extras and the gimp manual are useful, but disk space
*	egcs* aren't very useful either if you don't want to
*	The user shouldn't download every single X-server. They just need

that's a start (-; and it should save about 150MB download.

this command

rpm -q --queryformat  '%{SIZE}  %{NAME}\n' $(rpm -qa) | sort -n

will give you a list of packages sorted by size.

> sure that would cut down needed disk space and download time (if a person
> *had* to download rather than buy a Redhat CD.

This is a silly assumption though. Everyone in the US can get a $2- CD and
few people  outside the  US can download it over a modem.

> one is still advised to either get a RedHat CD (which is aimed towards the
> programmers/hackers) or to download the entire distribution. Neither method

our current release is the first release of the distribution. We didn't
want to make a major release of something that was at the time untested.
Just like you don't see Redhat putting 5.9 in the shops, we didn't put 0.1
on CD because it wasn't ready.

The next release should go on CD.

> tells a person exactly which files are not needed if one is not a
> programmer. 

this is incorrect. The Redhat installation makes it easy to not choose
LaTeX, and not choose unnecessary servers and developement tools. So if
you install from a Redhat CD, you don't have this problem. You shouldn't
have this problem if you do an ethernet install either since you'll only
download packages you need.

The situation where the user downloads over a dialup is problematic
though. But then, it's obvious that we will miss our target audience if we
rely on modem downloads as the primary means by which users acquire our

> Those apps can easily be added later if the average consumer
> *does* decide to take a whack at compiling, right? 

yep. Just put in the CD and add them.

Then again, in practice, you make it sound simpler than it really is. To
be able to compile without running into problems all the time, you need to
install all the right header files and shared libraries. 

IMO the idea of a "lean install" is really at odds with user friendliness.
Leaving out header files and compiles saves disk space, but it makes it
much more likely that the beginner will go crazy working out what they
need to install to compile program X if they try. And some beginners do
want to compile stuff.

> So how about it? Anyone want to tackle the task of figuring out which RPMs
> aren't needed for "having fun" with your computer? I'd take a stab at it -
> but it would probably be a case of "the blind leading the blind" here.

My list is a pretty good start (-; I could go through and pick out more.

However, just a straightforward Redhat install with "developement tools",
"emacs" and "latex" unchecked is a pretty good approximation. I think home
users can also uncheck a lot of the web service stuff.

By the way, I think this idea of shooting at "minimal installs" is getting
off track. A lean install will not make linux more user friendly. It will
make it easier to download the distro over a modem, but we want to be on
CD anyway -- most users can't afford to download over a modem ( internet
access is cheap in the USA, but not so everywhere else ) 

-- Donovan