[arch-dev-public] Proposal: minimal base system

Alad Wenter alad at archlinux.org
Sun Mar 17 23:25:09 UTC 2019

On Wed, 13 Feb 2019 08:55:27 +1000
Allan McRae via arch-dev-public <arch-dev-public at archlinux.org> wrote:

> On 13/2/19 8:17 am, Levente Polyak via arch-dev-public wrote:
> > On 2/12/19 7:16 PM, Gaetan Bisson via arch-dev-public wrote:
> >> [2019-02-12 16:40:08 +0100] Bruno Pagani via arch-dev-public:
> >>> Just in case it wasn’t clear, my answer would have been mostly the same
> >>> as Eli’s.
> >>>
> >>> So, Gaetan, Allan and Bartłomiej (or anyone else for that matter), do
> >>> you have further comments/questions regarding this, does the existence
> >>> of the base group alongside the arch/minimal-system now makes sense or
> >>> would you still prefer to go without it?
> >>
> >> Allan and I have both stated that we don't want to introduce a new group
> >> since we believe it would be highly redundant with base.
> >>
> >> Nothing new has been said since our last messages except Eli's post
> >> which argues that the base group is largely inadequate in its current
> >> state. This further supports our proposal that base should be improved
> >> instead of introducing a new group.
> >>
> >> So I really don't see what arguments could have changed our minds...
> >> It's also strange to me how you can concur with Eli's post without
> >> agreeing with our conclusions.
> >>
> >> To go forward I suggest you propose a clear definition of the perfect
> >> "minimal system" group you'd want to have, along with a proposed list of
> >> packages. When consensus is reached, we adopt this list of packages for
> >> base and put this definition on the wiki.
> >>
> >> Cheers.
> >>
> > 
> > To make it as short as possible, the idea is not just to strip down the
> > base group further but primarily to not use a group in the first place.
> > It should be replaced with something that is consistent within itself
> > over the whole lifetime of the system.
> > Groups are the wrong tool for such a set: you explicitly install all
> > those packages so they won't automatically be mark as not-required
> > anymore once removed from that group, as well as new additions are not
> > consistent during the lifetime of the system.
> We are clear about that.  Call it a group or metapackage or whatever,
> the objection is having the current base and the new "group" at the same
> time.
> A

Late to the party...

Assuming we implement this group or meta-package as something of policy, i.e. every repository package is assumed to depend on it. This would then make base similar to base-devel, except for depends() instead of makedepends(). 

With base-devel, we've always encouraged people to remove the makedepends already in that group. Would we do the same for "base", i.e. remove dependencies that, beforehand, were explicit?

As a concrete example, I have the udevil package which depends on udev. The udev package is provided by systemd. In the above case, systemd would in turn be "provided" by the base group (or meta-package). The explicit dependency might then be removed because some top-level package in "base" provides it.

Maybe I'm missing something. In any case, I agree that reducing the size of the base group is a good idea. I'm just not sure on the whole policy idea.

Alad Wenter <alad at archlinux.org>
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