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Linux Fatware: Distros That Need To Slim Down

samzenpus posted 1 year,12 days | from the getting-in-shape dept.

Linux 299

snydeq writes "We need bare-bones Linux distros tailored for virtual machines or at least the option for installs, writes Deep End's Paul Venezia. 'As I prepped a new virtual server template the other day, it occurred to me that we need more virtualization-specific Linux distributions or at least specific VM-only options when performing an install. A few distros take steps in this direction, such as Ubuntu and OEL jeOS (just enough OS), but they're not necessarily tuned for virtual servers. For large installations, the distributions in use are typically highly customized on one side or the other — either built as templates and deployed to VMs, or deployed through the use of silent installers or scripts that install only the bits and pieces required for the job. However, these are all handled as one-offs. They're generally not available or suitable for general use.'"

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299 comments

Really? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394417)

Got that. It's called Debian Net Install.
Done.

Re:Really? (-1, Troll)

ilikenwf (1139495) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394435)

Mod parent up! Ubuntu sucks.

Re:Really? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394477)

Mod parent down! Saying "Ubuntu sucks" is redundant.

Re:Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394603)

MOD PARENT DOWN! it is your civic duty to warn n00bs away from Ubuntu, since that is its target market!

Re:Really? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394899)

Can You explain to me why Ubuntu sucks? I have seen this statement multiple times on Slashdot, but I really think this is just a stupid trend.

When I configured my workstation, I downloaded the Ubuntu 12.04 minimal CD [30MB] and installed a encrypted commandline system . After that I installed Xorg and compiled DWM with my preferred settings, then I installed browser, editor etc. The system is slim, fast and stable but it is still Ubuntu, so can You explain why my system sucks?

Ubuntu consists of a Linux kernel and GNU userland like most other Linux distros, but I also get the following:

1. Applications and kernel that is compiled with hardening flags. Current Debian is built with absolutely no hardening, so a zero day in a network service on Debian will be very very easy to exploit.

2. Security updates to 2017

3. Reasonably current software.

I also like Debian very much, but I think it is stupid to keep saying that Ubuntu sucks...

Re:Really? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43395025)

For those of us that install a Linux image expecting to get work done with it instead of jacking off and building every piece of software ourselves, Ubuntu sucks - most specifically, because of Unity.

Re:Really? (3, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,12 days | (#43395115)

For those of us that install a Linux image expecting to get work done with it instead of jacking off and building every piece of software ourselves, Ubuntu sucks - most specifically, because of Unity.

Which software do you have to build yourself? I don't like Unity so I use Kubuntu as a developer workstation and the only software I've had to build myself is software I've written myself. It's been a while since I've used plain Ubnutu so I'm curious what software they don't include with Unity.

But then, I don't use Linux for jacking off, some of the porn codecs are windows specific so I use windows for jacking off.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43395145)

So, Ubuntu sucks because of Unity. Who uses Unity on a server? I am quite happy with my 2 ubuntu servers (a LAME and a LEMP) by the way. Learning a lot, plenty of documentation available, very stable, might switch one to centos to learn some new stuff.
As far as desktop is concerned, what happened to freedom of choice? If you don't like it, choose another distro or window manager.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43395183)

That should be a LAMP instead of a LAME.

Re:Really? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43395177)

A huge reason why is the hodgepodge of INIT you have if you are running 12.04... there is no mechanism to tell whether the packages are you installing use SysV or upstart style-init. You have to go looking for it depending which package you installed.

Other reasons...oh where to start...
1) Your ubuntu-only gnome3 UI? (eg unity). Did you remove it? If so, wtf are you using ubuntu for again?
2) resolvconfd, another ubuntu-introduced joke
3) disparate dependency tracking mechanisms (eg, are you using synaptic? it doesn't play with aptitude's dependency tracking, and vise versa)
4) ufw is a dependency of most network daemons, another huge fail (you imply you are savvy, so you should find ufw particularly offensive)
5) kernel hardening? WTF are you talking about? Look at the 12.04 kernel sources, they are the opposite of hardened. Bonus question: how do you harden those 3rd party binary BLOB drivers?

I could go on...but it's not challenging and it probably isn't even news to you. Great you use ubuntu...but please don't imply it isn't loaded with an above-average amount of crap, whether you tried to strip it down or not.

Re:Really? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394559)

Did the server version of Ubuntu suddenly disappear?

Re:Really? (-1, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394703)

I can't sort out why anyone would want to use Ubuntu Server.

Re:Really? (0)

Pentium100 (1240090) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394797)

Because CentOS and Debian use relatively old packages.

For example, if you want btrfs you either use ubuntu/fedora or compile the kernel.

Re:Really? (1, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394853)

why would serious business use shaky unstable things like btrfs? The "well tested" is relatively old, yes.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394921)

why would serious business use shaky unstable things like btrfs? The "well tested" is relatively old, yes.

Because developers aren't the ones who have to wake up at 3AM when ShinyNewShitware shits itself and takes down production.

Duh!

Re:Really? (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394939)

Because in some cases it is useful. Though in this case zfs is better as it is more stable. Still, there are things that, while not as "well tested" are still quite useful. Fedora/Ubuntu should be limited to the servers that really need them, but they are useful.

Re:Really? (2)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,12 days | (#43395129)

why would serious business use shaky unstable things like btrfs? The "well tested" is relatively old, yes.

Oracle supports btrfs with their database product, so I assumed that meant it's not so shaky and unstable anymore - it doesn't make sense for them to spend expensive support engineer time supporting known shaky software.

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394929)

Because there are potentially large performance gains to be had in VMs running postgres by running a 3.x kernel, which CentOS doesn't use yet. Fedora or Ubuntu server are what i'm going to look at to see if it's of use to me.

Re:Really? (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,12 days | (#43395153)

I use Ubuntu server if I need a server up ASAP with a well supported distro. It's not a one-size-fits-all distro any more than... any other distro.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394629)

Then install apt-cacher-ng or a similar tool on a local machine (could even be another VM!), and point your Net Installer to it when it asks you for an http proxy during the install process. After the first install, you'll be downloading all the packages (including software updates, once you're running your VMs) from your local cache, which should speed up your installs a bit.

Re:Really? (4, Informative)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394827)

TFA was a complete exercise in BS. Here's another example of how to do a slim Linux install: during a Mageia or Mandriva install, select the Custom option, deselect everything, click through to proceed but when it stops to check if you really, really want to have such a sparse choice select "truly-minimal-install" and you will get exactly what it says, without X or even man pages.

Re:Really? (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | 1 year,12 days | (#43395167)

Unfortunately, until the distro is supported on the various agents that are required (Netbackup, OpenView, OpNet, Data Palette for example), we'll have to stick with a tuned Red Hat distro for our virtual environment.

[John]

Ubuntu Core (4, Informative)

simonbp (412489) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394427)

Ubuntu core distribution is ~34 MB, and available for x86, amd64, and ARM. It's more than suffcient to bootstrap a lean OS.

Re:Ubuntu Core (4, Informative)

ilikenwf (1139495) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394445)

It's also nonstandard in terms of all the stupid patches and daemons it comes with.

Re:Ubuntu Core (4, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394507)

If "nonstandard" is a problem, maybe you should be looking at OSes from a certain angry bald man.

Re:Ubuntu Core (0, Troll)

ilikenwf (1139495) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394549)

Linux is in fact, fairly standard, short of the init system and sometimes the system layout you use. Ubuntu is a bit of an exception since it follows Shuttleworth's whims instead of established norms. Furthermore, it's size on disk doesn't matter if it runs 50 daemons and eats up a bunch of CPU time at idle.

Re:Ubuntu Core (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394585)

Wrong. Pretty much every distro has a fairly extensive patch set for the kernel and userland systems (and many of them have entirely distro specific, custom userland components).

Re:Ubuntu Core (4, Interesting)

ilikenwf (1139495) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394621)

With the kernel it's almost always fairly mainstream changes - security patches, upstream stuff, BFS, whatever. With the userland, I see patches only when necessary on something like Gentoo or Arch... With Ubuntu though, it's a nightmare.

Real world example: I develop with the Nightingale Media Player. While setting it up to use the current taglib, we managed to get it to work just fine with the taglib shipped with about every distro you can imagine...except Ubuntu. Some patch they have going on there completely breaks the build, as well as playback and tag parsing.

Re:Ubuntu Core (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394667)

Than its fairly safe to say you (and other Linux users) have a fairly different meaning of 'standard' than ... well, everyone else in the world.

You don't eat CPU time at idle, thats exactly the opposite of idle. I realize you mean that the daemons sit around eating CPU doing nothing you care about, but I suspect, even on a desktop install of Ubuntu you'll find the CPU sitting at 99.9% idle in top since those daemons are in sleep/wait states and not using any CPU.

Raspian has no CPU in use when even when X is running if you're not doing anything. Daemons swap out and don't waste CPU if they aren't in use and aren't shitty daemons. They do waste swap space though.

No Linux distro on the planet uses the stock kernel. All of them have different locations for many different files. All of them have major patchs to all sorts of 'standard' apps.

You seem to not understand what makes a distro different. If they were all 'standard' you wouldn't have xteen million variations of Linux.

Linux's lack of standardization is repeatedly brought up as one of its largest problems in becoming a more common desktop since software vendors don't want to target a bunch of slightly different distro's to pick up a statistically insignificant portion of the population.

Have you even used more than one Linux distro?

Re:Ubuntu Core (1)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394791)

> Linux's lack of standardization

That would be the lack of standardization that prevents me from running Oracle on some random unsupported distribution?

It case you missed it, that was sarcasm.

Re:Ubuntu Core (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394545)

It also burns 100% CPU on booting to render its splash screen, with no obvious way to disable it.

Re:Ubuntu Core (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394573)

Ubuntu

I heard "Ubuntu"...

Choking back vomit .... I haaaave to vooomit .... *spit* ...*spit* ....

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

darknet-defender (2782907) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394431)

Yay first post

Re:First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394535)

First guest virtual First Post

TinyCore? (3, Insightful)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394441)

No interface, but you wanted tiny didn't you?

SliTaz is also another tiny one but has an interface and a cute spider.

Re:TinyCore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394533)

TinyCore has a pretty minimalist UI, but it is a UI.

I suppose you could configure a pretty small Gentoo install. Wouldn't even take that long to build, if you want minimalist. Should be done within a week. ;P

Re:TinyCore? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394965)

The UI is also completely optional. Check the MicroCore variant. (TinyCore, sans UI)

TurnKey Core (4, Informative)

americamatrix (658742) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394453)

I always like to use TurnKey Core for such things http://www.turnkeylinux.org/core [turnkeylinux.org]

It's small, lightweight and runs very quickly even on older hardware. It does a great job.


-americamatrix

Re:TurnKey Core (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43395061)

Does core have the weird turnkey update scripts that I seem to recall from years ago?

Re:TurnKey Core (1)

rsborg (111459) | 1 year,12 days | (#43395095)

Does core have the weird turnkey update scripts that I seem to recall from years ago?

From the link: "It includes custom automated backup and migration software, a web management interface, automatic daily security updates, live installer, configuration console, and all other common features. Take a look at some screenshots."

So ... yes, probably. It also weighs in at 161MB, about 5x more than Ubuntu Core.

Once upon a time... (2, Interesting)

filmorris (2466940) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394457)

there was Arch. And Gentoo. And LFS. And long strings of 0s and 1s. Then a rock and a piece of wood.

RHEL/CENTOS minimal (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394461)

RHEL/CENTOS minimal does this just fine.

Why bother about a solved problem?

Re:RHEL/CENTOS minimal (2)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394599)

Because the article's author wanted his 15 minutes on the /. front page. CentOS (or RHEL server) base install is 1.6 GB without a GUI and takes very little time.

Re:RHEL/CENTOS minimal (3, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394689)

thats the base install? Hell my full Raspian install is smaller than that!

Ubuntu Core is 34MB.

Whats better ... if the submitter of the story had bothered to even google for it ... on the Ubuntu Core page ...

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Core [ubuntu.com]

About half way done the page, under Deploying Ubuntu Core, it links to the documentation for an x86 VM running ubuntu core ...

Re:RHEL/CENTOS minimal (4, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394891)

CentOS minimal [mirrorservice.org] is 342Mb, which isn't as small as the Ubuntu, but I guess it comes with more "what you'd install anyway" packages.

There's the netinstall too, which is 230Mb. Nowadays if it can fit on a CD, its considered insignificant in size.

Re:RHEL/CENTOS minimal (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394735)

No it isn't, an installation of CentOS configured for the Minimum role is under 1GB when installed and requires about 50MB of RAM.

Re:RHEL/CENTOS minimal (1)

fnj (64210) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394857)

CentOS minimal install (choice picked from menu at install) takes about 0.68 GB and includes apache, nfs server, ssh server, selinux, python and iptables. Pretty much good to go. Yum install perl, mysql and php would add very little to the footprint and only takes a few seconds.

Re:RHEL/CENTOS minimal (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394619)

Pretty much. snydeq needs to learn how to write kickstart files for custom anaconda installers.

Re:RHEL/CENTOS minimal (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394709)

That is what I generally use for VMs too. I actually kinda wonder what kind of functional returns one gets on increasingly smaller VM installs. I know for embedded systems there can be a measurable advantage to getting things as lightweight as possible, but for VMs I am less sure.
 
I guess I could see having decreased complexity (number of packages installed, daemons running, etc) making maintenance cheaper, but drive space is cheap and with that swap is cheap, so actually reducing the footprint....

Gentoo stage 2 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394467)

Gentoo works just fine for that or go 'rpm -e' crazy

Archlinux, Slackware, Gentoo (5, Informative)

ilikenwf (1139495) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394475)

If you really want lightweight and have a specific purpose in mind, just use something that only gives you what you want/need based on what you install. Then, localepurge.

Re:Archlinux, Slackware, Gentoo (4, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394869)

I this saw long ago on a Windows 3.1 networking site:

"Freedom of choice means you have some work to do."

Agree -- issues w/ VirtualBox... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394501)

I agree!!!!

Install software should allow one to create a bare-minimal install of the O/S. From there, it should be SIMPLE to add features, etc. I gave up trying to get Fedora 18 installed in VirtualBox on my son's Windows 7 (64-bit) laptop as it kept crashing with some unspecific error. Years ago, just about ANY Linux would install in VMWare using either a Linux or Windows host WITHOUT ISSUE.

Have we gone backwards?

Re:Agree -- issues w/ VirtualBox... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394663)

Virtualbox has interesting problems with 3D acceleration

#! Linux (5, Informative)

Tyler R. (2787023) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394515)

I'm really liking Crunchbang lately! It's very fast, very stable, and it's based on Debian so it works pretty well with mainstream software. It also comes with non free repositories, and codecs.

Re:#! Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43395191)

Crunchbang is awesome. I set up my first persistent usb-stick installation with it, and it worked immediately & efficiently with an old laptop and a Franken-PC I had lying around-- both of which Ubuntu thumbed its nose at.

Not just distros (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394519)

I've had to wrestle several times with getting Linux to work inside virtual machines, regardless of what flavor it is. The current situation with VirtualBox and its drivers is hilarious--having to explain to someone that I had to bootstrap an OS install from inside itself was mindblowing.

task-*.rpm (4, Informative)

hduff (570443) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394537)

For RPM-based distros, it's easy enough to set up a task-*.rpm to install a minimal subset of the entire repository for a specific purpose, like a LAMP server. I'm sure .deb-based distros have something similar, so I'm really not seeing the problem here, just a lack of understanding the power of FOSS by the OP.

vmware tools? (4, Interesting)

iaw4 (2704637) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394569)

and why do we still need vmware tools to be installed separately? why are these guest tools not already natively supported out of the box?

Re:vmware tools? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394751)

What about virtual box, virtual iron, parallels, and QEMU drivers just to start? And thats just some of the popular/well known hypervisors.

And what about Bloat? Why not include every driver and software package known to man?

You don't NEED the vmware tools installed, the OS will run without them. You want them installed for better performance and because VMware is shit and won't send an ACPI shutdown command to the guest, only a freaking vmware tools command.

Re:vmware tools? (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394957)

While vmware may be crap, it runs much faster on older CPUs (without hardware virtualization support) than qemu-kvm does.

Re:vmware tools? (1)

afidel (530433) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394771)

They aren't necessary, newer kernels have compatible drivers available. I'm not sure if RHEL has a version with the slipstreamed drivers yet or not but I do believe that CentOS does.

What a pile of shite (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394587)

dedupe

many of the demands made by (4, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394607)

the author in TFA are irrelevant outside the proprietary sphere of vmware. what i suspect is really being cited is the piss-poor nature of error reporting and handling with respect to what images it can and wont handle.

every linux distro ive seen has a 'bare minimal install' option; puppet chef and to a lesser extent cfengine and spacewalk exist solely to chisel the initial image into "your server." PXE boot can ensure "your server" just gets decompressed into the guest space as well. dont understand any of those? just save and copy a version of "your server" as a blueprint to use whenever a new one is necessary

speaking as someone whos contributed to open source projects like Fedora, i can agree bluetooth isnt necessarily appropriate everywhere. thats a bottle of mr potterings special sauce that had you cared to research might make more sense. however, it is rather shocking to hear a vmware user whos software uses a minimum of a gigabyte of disk storage (that doesnt include the generous 20 gigabytes free for your host OS) bitch about the default load of something like, say, centos which stands around 4 gigabytes. That includes KVM/QEMU. indeed this is not as you put it "rocket surgery."

Re:many of the demands made by (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394967)

My thoughts as well after seeing the title. If they are worried about bloat, why not instead look into using OpenVZ, or Linux Containers (LXC)? If they need something like solaris crossbow, look into vswitch for Linux.

I use d-i netinstall, and clone configured vms for school.

Management (1)

MikeDawg (721537) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394631)

So, if you have say more than 10 linux systems/servers/types you should be using some sort of configuration management software, something like, puppet, chef, or spacewalk. Within those programs, it is easy enough to build custom templates for server, that can easily be re-used.

wankers... (5, Funny)

Jawnn (445279) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394649)

If you aren't recompiling the kernel to include only the things you "really need", you don't deserve to be talking about bloat.

Re:wankers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394801)

The source to compile your own kernel is 1000x larger than the object code you'll even need. Add to that the full make tools and compilers. Prick!

It's already there... (2)

Noryungi (70322) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394749)

... And it's called Slackware. Around 2GB if you install everyhting and much, much less than that if you know what you are doing. Easy to keep out stuff like X11, KDE, XFCE, or anything else for that matter - simply make sure the little checkbox is not checked while installing.

But, hey, why take my word for it? Go ahead and install it, you will see.

(Oh, and don't bother whining ''Slackware is hard to learn'' yadda yadda yadda - you wanted customization, right? Live and learn)

Re:It's already there... (4, Informative)

volkerdi (9854) | 1 year,12 days | (#43395005)

2GB for a full Slackware install? Try nearly 8.

And yeah, I'd like to put it on a diet, but once something is already included it becomes quite entrenched. It's extremely difficult to remove anything large enough to make a difference without causing rioting in the streets with torches and pitchforks. I suspect it's the same for any Linux distribution.

Re:It's already there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43395059)

A few years back when I was playing with user mode linux I made a script to create root file system images. From memory I use most of 'a' (base install) and some of 'n' (networking). It also performed some basic config on the resulting image. Not difficult. Can't remember if I used custom tag files.

Taking this to the extreme... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394877)

obligatoryreducetotheabsurd:

Create your own distribution with a boot loader, kernel w/ compiled-in device drivers, init, busybox, and a few other odds and ends then market it.

What more could anyone ever want anyway?

*joke*

SUSE Studio is another option (5, Informative)

houghi (78078) | 1 year,12 days | (#43394931)

http://susestudio.com/ [susestudio.com] and make your own. As light or as heavy as you desire.
A starting point is JeOS. From the first page:
You can export your custom operating system as a Virtual machine, Live USB Disk, CD/DVD-ROM, Hard Disk Image and so much more.

As you want something very specific a great way would be SUSE Studio. Because I might want just a little bit different configuration then what you would want.

Arch Linux is definitely has this problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394981)

When are these guys going to slim down the install...man...you boot up and you've got this CLI and everything...

SAS bought this idea already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43394995)

Go look up rPath.

Your problem has already been solved. (5, Insightful)

zachary.grafton (1820370) | 1 year,12 days | (#43395035)

Don't be a pansy. Use Gentoo. Quit bitching about not having the features you want, or having features you don't need. Need to deploy a bunch of VMs? Just create your own portage mirror, remove the packages you don't want to be available, create an overlay for things that aren't in portage and to deploy your own meta package, for shits and giggles, since you seen to be so fascinated with binary packages, build all the packages you want, create binary packages for everything, then deploy to a VM. Once that's done, just copy the base VM image every time you need to deploy a new VM, then log in, run a portage update and quit whining. Hell, I'm sure you could even create your own packages for deploying binary kernels. I'm so sick of this, "My linux doesn't do what I want because I'm a (insert your distro here) fanboi."

Re:Your problem has already been solved. (0)

ChipMonk (711367) | 1 year,12 days | (#43395221)

And good luck recovering when a Gentoo update hoses a library needed by GCC. In my case, it was "libffi.so". That was the end of Gentoo on my system.
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