• Published on | Jan 25, 2006 | by Chris Osborn

All I want is bash and a package fetcher

Decided to re-build my spamtrap computer and the easiest way is to start from scratch on another computer while the original keeps going. I want to try out Reiser to see if it will go faster with the huge directories I end up with from all the spam queues.

What I'd like to start from is the absolute bare minimum. I want to boot into Linux and have nothing more than bash, apt-get, and a dhcp client. I know there's going to be things that go along with those, like ls/rm/mv/etc. to do much with bash, probably dpkg for apt-get, some rc scripts for booting, init, login, and shared libraries. I don't want other shells, other interpreters (Perl, Python, etc.), X11, games, or stuff like that.

First off I figured what the heck, I'll give Ubuntu a try. Well it didn't even give me any options for choosing what to install! Sheesh, and their site babbles that I'm supposed to be able to customize it however I want. It installed waaay too much crap so it's out.

Next up is a Debian business card net-install. This started out pretty much the same, didn't ask what I want, just started slapping things on. Went into expert mode and I still am stuck with a "base install." I don't want all that crap! I just want the absolute bare minimum and I'll install things as I find they're missing!

Part of the reason I want such a minimal install is because I have been contemplating taking old junker computers (486/586/PPC601) and installing Linux and using them as Linux server educational machines. Since they are junkers they don't have a lot of disk space or speed and won't need GUI stuff. It'd be better for them to be fairly stripped but also easy to add things as people become interested in what different things their new "server" can do.

The other reason I want a minimal install is because I'm just sick of all the crap and bloat that all the distributions have. I end up having to overwrite a ton of it and ignore a whole lot more when I build a server. There's a lot of things I do differently than the way the packagers set things up.

I did a linux from scratch install once, and it is surprising how much stuff you take for granted as being there. The reason I don't want to do that this time is because I wanted to have apt-get to automatically get stuff instead of having to manually compile and put things on myself.

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