Some analysis on the size of the minimal and Server installs of Fedora 23

Pádraig Brady P at
Tue Nov 17 17:03:06 UTC 2015

On 17/11/15 01:39, Stephen Gallagher wrote:
> (Please keep responses on the devel@ list; I've set it in the Reply-To.)
> To jump right to the premise: The default Fedora Server install is Way
> Too Big(TM) and the minimal install (also available on the Fedora
> Server install media) is also Too Big.
> I've been trying to do some quick-and-dirty analysis of what is in
> these default installations in order to figure out where we should be
> focusing our efforts. I'll point out that there are two goals that we
> need to keep in mind (and the reasons behind them) in order of
> increasing importance:
> 1) Reduce disk space usage. While disk space on physical devices is
> becoming trivially cheap, disk space on Cloud deployments and rented
> virtual servers is still comparatively very expensive. We really want
> to minimize the amount of space that we use for Fedora so that users
> can fit their applications (the stuff they actually care about) into
> the remaining space without being forced to buy a larger storage
> allotment.
> 2) Reduce maintenance efforts. Every additional piece of software on
> the system (referred to hereafter as "packages") increases the
> maintenance burden on an administrator. Universally, administrators
> prefer to have the smallest number of packages to maintain for a
> variety of reasons:
>  * Limiting update churn. The more packages on the system, the more
>    often that one will need to run updates.
>  * Limiting security exposure. Every package on the system is another
>    potential privilege-escalation point. Keeping this number under
>    control means a reduced likelihood of a catastrophic breach. (The
>    actual risk here is impossible to quantify, but it can be assumed
>    that less code == less potential vulnerabilities.
>  * Non-expert administrators do not always know what is installed on
>    their systems. This can lead to unintentional breaches as an
>    admin doesn't realize that one or more services needs to be limited
>    (such as in the firewall or via SELinux).
> With these two goals in mind, the most obvious approach to improving
> this situation would be by reducing the number of packages installed
> by default on the Minimal and Fedora Server installs. As a specific
> goal of the Server Working Group, we want to aim for a world wherein
> administrators will no longer desire to install the Minimal install
> and instead will rely on the platform provided by the default Fedora
> Server install. They do not do this today because the Fedora Server
> installation is considerably larger. I postulate that this is due
> primarily to dependency bloat, which is where we should focus our
> efforts during the Fedora 24 timeframe. I postulate (but have not yet
> confirmed) that there are likely many places where we could replace
> Requires: with Recommends: (or even Suggests:) dependencies. In my
> ideal world, the difference between a Minimal and Server install would
> be identical to installing the same set of packages with Recommends:
> on or off.
> Some highlights of my initial research (with a lot of my raw data in
> the tarball attached to this email):
> == Minimal ==
> === Disk Usage ===
> /boot: 79MB
> /:     755MB
> === Packages ===
> Total count: 270
> ==== Largest 10 packages ====
> 14288083: coreutils

We might create a coreutils-singlebin package that is built with
  ./configure --enable-single-binary
which would include only the single binary and stubs.
I think chromium is using this setup.
coreutils-singlebin could Recommends: coreutils-doc, while the
standard coreutils package would require coreutils-doc.
That would save about 13MB in the install.
Caveat is that the single binary would dynamically link
all shared libs, which associated startup and mem overhead.


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