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How many files does a modern OS really need?

mopomi (696055) writes | more than 6 years ago

Operating Systems 2

mopomi (696055) writes "I'm setting up a home-office for my SO. Part of the company's requirement for the home-office is that the computer have an anti-virus package installed (because it will be connected directly to their network via a VPN). Since we don't like to use Windows for day-to-day work, we're running the VPN and remote display software under Suse 10.1. To be technically compliant with the AV requirement, I found and installed software from a big-name AV vendor (company is irrelevant). Last night I ran the AV scan on the entire system (bar /proc and /dev). This includes the Windows XP partition that is used for gaming.

The software scanned nearly three million files (with no positives!). My (somewhat rhetorical) question: Why are there so many files on modern operating systems? is every file necessary? is every tenth? how much of this is cruft?"


Is the Suse install just the OS? (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20046835)

Suse, as many Linux distros, comes with a lot more than the OS. Besides the OS proper you'll probably want at least the window manager, the windowing toolkit, the X server, and utility programs.

You probably also want some applications, and the major distros all include many of those. You can install more office applications, text formatters, PIMs, browsers, email clients, and solitaire games than you'd ever really want if you're not careful.

Add in server software (web, DB, SMTP, POP, IMAP, print, etc -- most of which big distros have multiple options for as well), header files, compilers, man pages, HTML documentation for packages, multiple sound system options, multiple printing systems, an extra window manager or three, /proc pseudo-files (not really files, but appear to be), device files (which depending on distro and version might be pseudo-files), network diagnostic software, and multiple alternatives for a bunch of other stuff, and you've got a big overpowering mess. This is why smaller, more coherent distros are becoming more popular. They pick a package for a task, and go with it.

If you have enough experience and want to take the time, Suse, RedHat, Fedora, Mandriva, Debian, and the other big, bulky distros can be installed with less baggage. I have a Mandriva system in my office that has the core OS, X.org, KDE, developer tools, a few games (hey, I get stressed/bored, okay?), Apache web server, Postfix SMTP server, three browsers, graphics software, a bunch of diagnostic software, log files for the past several months, lots of other software, and backups of the data for itself and three other systems to its RAID array. I just did a find / | wc -l as root, and my total file count is 687,065. It took quite a while to hand-select the packages at install time, and I've slowly stripped off packages and added new onces since then as my needs (and tastes) have changed.

I have no doubt that I could make my system much smaller and tighter given the time, and there are those out there who could do a much better job at it than I. However, considering that over 212 gigs of in-house data are on the system, I'm not real concerned with what the OS is taking up at this point. My constant headache is evaluating the best way to back all of that up to something off-site quickly and affordably.

If you're more concerned than curious about the size of your Suse install, take a look at the Ubuntu family of distros, Damn Small Linux, Gentoo, Knoppix, Freespire, or PCLinuxOS. They give you a lot fewer options of what to install up front, but you can install most anything you want later. This combination seems to be working well. Also, it seems to me that focusing on fewer packages might help get the dependency tree issues that can be quite a mess under control, but I have no empirical data to support that gut feeling.
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