RELEASE discs & ISO images (for future)

Oliver Fromme olli at
Fri Mar 14 08:08:10 PDT 2008

Vadim Goncharov wrote:
 > Oliver Fromme wrote:
 > > The xorg packages on disc1 occupy 54 MB.  Not really all
 > > that much, I think.  The linux base, perl and python occupy
 > > another 50 MB together.  The rest are small utility things
 > > and dependencies (only a few MB).
 > But that is still valuable if geom_ugz is in use.

Have you actually tried it?  Providing hard numbers is
more useful than just talking about it.  :-)

Here are some numbers:

   224655360   7.0-RELEASE-i386-livefs.iso
    94493696   7.0-RELEASE-i386-livefs.iso.uzip (16k cluster)
   110188032   7.0-RELEASE-i386-livefs.iso.uzip (2K cluster)

So the difference is 124 MB for 16K cluster size, and
109 MB for 2K cluster size (which is noticably faster
during access).  Actually the space savings will be a
bit less, because the /boot directory (about 30 MB)
won't be compressed.  So the real gain is probably a
little less than 100 MB in the 2K case.

If the FreeBSD install data sets don't grow much in the
future, then it will fit on disc1.

 > > Also keep in mind that a new installer is in the works
 > > and will be usable "really soon", as far as I know.
 > > I'm sure the authors are aware of the problem of
 > > installing packages from changeable media, and that
 > > there will be a better solution.
 > This will surely not be finished before 8.0,

I'm not so sure.

 > > No, it's not difficult to do that.  It's only a matter
 > > of documentation, I think.  Users need to be made aware
 > > of the possibilities, they need to be made aware that
 > > they don't _have_ to install all the packages during
 > > system installation and play CD changer monkey.
 > No. Novice user should be provided with less painful way.

Frankly, my recommendation is that novice users buy the DVD.

I also assume that most novice users will simply go through
the default install, which will reduce CD changing.

I _do_ agree that there is a problem with sysinstall if you
select packages manually, and that it would be a good thing
if sysinstall optimized the order of loading packages.  But
that problem will not be reduced by changing the order of
things on the CDs.

 > > Right, but I didn't read them either upon my first install
 > > 15 years ago.  :-)  The first thing I did when I received
 > > the Walnut Creek CDs was to go to and look
 > > for docs.
 > Tempora mutantur. Users nowadays rarely go for docs in first place. They
 > need understandable guide exactly in process.

Users who refuse to read docs will also refused to read
docs that are directly available on the CD.

Users unwilling to read docs cannot be cured by technical
measures.  It's a user problem, not a FreeBSD problem.

 > > I guess almost everyone has internet access somehow (at
 > > home, at the office, at a friend, or elsewhere).
 > No, that doesn't matter. If user have only one computer online with
 > Internet, and during install previous operating system is of course
 > unavailable, then Internet (and docs on www!) is also unavailable.

Uhm, I assume that a new FreeBSD user skims through the
"Installation" chapter of the Handbook _before_ he starts
the installation.  Of course it's useful to be able to
look up things in the Handbook again during installation
if the need arises.

 > So where would you browse the docs in the process except the installer
 > itself and first disk?

Last time I used sysinstall, there was a menu entry that
enabled you to read Handbook and FAQ.  I'm pretty sure
it's still there.

Note that you cannot use that menu entry once the actual
installation has started, though.  You can only abort the
installation, then go back to the menu, read the docs,
and then begin a new installation.  That's a pain, too.
Of course, once the installation has progressed so far
that the docs have been installed on the harddisk, you
can read them on the shell that's opened on Alt-F4.

Still, it's best to read the Installation chapter in
advance, or even better, have a printed copy on paper.

 > > That's what the DVD is good for that you can buy (or you
 > > can easily make one yourself).  On the DVD there is enough
 > > space for everything.
 > Agreed, but CDs still will be an option for a long time. And care must be taken
 > for those users who don't need packages and don't want to download DVD.

Personally I think most computers that are equipped with
an optical drive can read DVDs.  Only very few are left
with a CD-ROM drive that's not DVD-capable.

Therefore, my opinion is that we should publish a DVD
image in the future that contains everything we have
today on disc{1,2,3} docs and livefs CD.  The size of
such an DVD would be 1.95 GB for 7.0-RELEASE/i386.

For those who don't want or need packages and docs,
a smaller CD image with just the install bits (and maybe
the fixit FS) could be provided, and of course the small
"bootonly" image, but nothing else.  Providing five or
more CD images is rather last century like, in my opinion.

Of course there are certainly people with different
options.  :-)

 > You again forget about advocacy, new users coming from other OSes and
 > possibly comparing with some Linux distros.

Such comparisons are bogus anyway.  I've installed SuSE
linux before, and I think the graphical installer is
terribly annoying.  It's worse than Windows.  It took
me a lot longer to get a usable system installed, and
even then it installed different sets than the ones I
selected (I have no idea why).  In my opinion, FreeBSD's
installation wins big time.

 > Imagine a review like this:
 > "That SuSe or Debian are wonderful with great number of software instantly
 > available and with this FreeBSD I must wait for download and then compile?!
 > Such shit! Don't use it, if they can't do this, they can't do other usable
 > things!"

Such a review is worthless and shouldn't be taken serious.
I really don't worry about that.

 > > > Yes, but: livefs and disc1 have many things in common,
 > > No, they dont.  The only thing they have in common is the
 > > /boot directory, which is relatively small (about 30 MB).
 > And what about at least shell and some other tools?

A shell and a few tools (very few, admittedly) are included
in the MFS image in the /boot directory.

And there's also the shell opened on Alt-F4 once the
installation has started.  For anything else there is
the "fixit" live FS.

 > This _can_ be combined, as previous releases have proven.

Previous releases were a lot smaller.  :-)

The point is, disc1 and livefs have _nothing_ in common
except for the 30 MB /boot directory, so you only save
those 30 MB when combining them.  No more.  Look at the
ISOs if you don't believe me.

 > > > Really? Have benchmarks? If it is really hust a few percent, then it is not
 > > > worth, of course.
 > > I can't find the article right now, I'm afraid.  :-(
 > > When I have some time at the weekend, I might make a
 > > little benchmark myself.
 > Would be godd, I'll wait :)

Why haven't you done it yourself?  It's not difficult.
If you want to get something done, the best way is to do
it yourself, instead just talking about it.  That's why
FreeBSD is what it is today.  ;-)

OK, here are the results of 7.0-RELEASE/i386:

348 MB gzip'ed (default)
297 MB bzip2'ed

So the space saving is 51 MB (14.7%).  It took 45 minutes
on my machine to create the bzip2-compressed files.  Here
are the decompression times:

0:57  for the gzip'ed sets
7:20  for the bzip2'ed sets

So it takes almost 8 times as long to decompress.  The
machine was otherwise idle, and the times were reproducible
with good accuracy.

 > > Uhm, no.  There's no such thing as an installer that
 > > installs from the live FS (the DragonFly people have
 > > something like that).
 > > Of course, you can manually do the whole dance from the
 > > live FS (fdisk, bsdlabel, newfs, cpio ...), but that's
 > > definitely not for novice users.
 > So, livefs still contains base system available for install, just as disc1 ? :)

No, sysinstall cannot install from the contents of the
live FS.  Sysinstall needs the distribution sets that
are on disc1 (basically they're compressed tar files).

However, when you do a manual installation using the
live FS, you can copy the contents of the live FS to
the harddisk (e.g. with cpio).  But that's not for
novices, as I wrote above.

DragonFly BSD does it different:  Their installer runs
from the live FS, and it uses the live FS contents for
installation.  I think this is pretty clever and has
advantages.  But FreeBSD's sysinstall doesn't support

Best regards

Oliver Fromme, secnetix GmbH & Co. KG, Marktplatz 29, 85567 Grafing b. M.
Handelsregister: Registergericht Muenchen, HRA 74606,  Geschäftsfuehrung:
secnetix Verwaltungsgesellsch. mbH, Handelsregister: Registergericht Mün-
chen, HRB 125758,  Geschäftsführer: Maik Bachmann, Olaf Erb, Ralf Gebhart

FreeBSD-Dienstleistungen, -Produkte und mehr:

Perl is worse than Python because people wanted it worse.
        -- Larry Wall

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