[Dev] arch replaced the 'base' package group with a leaner 'base' meta-package

Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli GNUtoo at cyberdimension.org
Wed Oct 30 20:05:29 GMT 2019

On Mon, 28 Oct 2019 11:39:16 -0400
bill-auger <bill-auger at peers.community> wrote:

> there is an open ticket about this on redmine[1] because it was
> immediately clear that some action would be required - there is
> still much to discuss though in regards to how they should be
> done; and the mailing list is the best venue to discuss things
> that are yet to be decided

Users (me included) do expect to be able to install Parabola in this
> # pacstrap /mnt base grub
> # arch-chroot /mnt
> # grub-install [...]
> [...]

This now ends up with a non-booting system as grub, linux-libre and
many other packages required to boot are not present anymore.

I see several possibilities:
- Keep the same packages in base not to break users and scripts
- As suggested by bill-auger on IRC, make a base-extras with all the
  expected packages that are required for booting, and also write a
  notice on the website to notify users and script maintainers.

There are obvious advantages with having a smaller base:
- Thanks to that chroots are now smaller
- More fine grained dependencies could enable to have smaller
  rootfs for devices with tiny amount of storage like BMCs.

  For instance a chroot with filesystem, busybox, glibc and dropbear is
  about 75M on armv7h. The Talos 1 BMC has probably a 128M flash.

  Adding linux-libre brings dependencies like coreutils and systemd, and
  many other, and we end up at 490 MB. That's already too much for such
  computers. If we also add pacman, we end up at 555M.

  I'm aware that there are more recommended solutions for cases like
  that, like using LibreCMC or even build the rootfs more like a
  firmware with PKGBUILDs, however I'm very interested in solutions
  that have the least possible amount of maintenance.

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