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Installation Philosophy



I'm finally getting around to FC5 installation, to see if I like it, and 
if it is worth the effort for me to change from FC4. It's too early to 
tell about FC5's worth to me, but I did get an idea during one of the 
pauses during installation.

But first, some guesses and observations. Install routines need to be as 
simple as possible since every option is an opportunity to incure a 
support expense or a flat out bug. Also, from the installer's point of 
view, a majority probably can not optimise each install very much due to a 
lack of time and/or end user information. Therefor, the smart thing for a 
given distribution to do is to get two or three generic installations 
mostly right while erring mostly on the side of being too generous with 
applications since disk space is _relatively_ cheap at this time.

In otherwords, I don't really have a beef with the FC installation 
routines. I think in general they make sense.

Ok. I'm through trying to be reasonable now. I'm curious if an install 
routine could be added to FC which starts with an absolutely minimally 
bootable system, to which only selected components get added at the choice 
of the installer.

Let me attempt a example and hope it makes sense. Assume I'm doing an 
install, and have selected the "anal retentive" option (or what ever it is 
called). The installer lines up just enough packages to create a bootable 
system with bash, pam, and possibly networking. In theory, I could stop 
there, install nothing else, and have a working system for a very very 
limited definition of "working".

>From this "working" system, in one case, I want to have a headless server. 
I need packages for samba, nfs, dhcp, MTA (postfix?), IMAP4 (dovecot?). 
For the moment I'll ignore some utilities like nut, and ssh(d) which would 
be excellent additions to the system. While installing X isn't going to  
actively hurt anything, for a headless machine X is pure waste.

Note that the package/capabilities list covers only one relatively unique 
situation. Somebodyelses server could need a database server, but drop 
dhcp. Or maybe add a sound streaming server and ldap server without file 
shareing. And so forth.

An alternative is that I'm actually building up a server machine with 
heavy duty desktop capabilities with Gnome.  Or maybe the machine is just 
a desktop with KDE. 

My point isn't that FC can not be customized to this type level, but the 
approach feels backwards to me. Packages need to be removed, or turned off 
and removed to reduce the security exposure. A fair amount of background 
knowledge is needed to do this reduction without hurting something.

In contrast, by building the system up selecting only the specific 
capabilities needed, there should be less need to remove/shut off packages 
which are not needed.

I realize that both Gentoo and Slackware (and possibly Debian) have much 
of if not all of this flexibility, but I'm most comfortable with Red 
Hat/rpm style systems.

If the list thinks I've got something here in terms of a desired 
capability, I'll try to bugzilla something coherant to the developers for 
consideration. If not, well it won't be the first time I've had a brain 
fart...

Thanks in advance for the bandpass and consideration.

-- 
=============================================
If you think Education is expensive
Try Ignorance
                   Author Unknown
============================================


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