RELEASE discs & ISO images (for future)

Vadim Goncharov vadim_nuclight at
Mon Mar 17 02:49:22 PDT 2008

Hi Oliver Fromme! 

On Fri, 14 Mar 2008 16:08:06 +0100 (CET); Oliver Fromme wrote about 'Re: RELEASE discs & ISO images (for future)':

>>> 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.  :-)

I've used Frenzy LiveCD many times (, a Portable SysAdmin
Tool. It is 200Mb minicd with MANY useful packages. It has X Window and many
graphical and console utilities (about 600MB uncompressed).
It proved to be stable and not-so-slow.

> 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.

The less for /boot should be compensated by 16K cluster size. But those
numbers are for utilities - are there any docs on ISO ?

>>> 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.

May be. But it definitely won't be bug-free and default installer before 8.0.

>>> 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.

When you say so, you lose a number of users. A number which is impatient to
read too many docs about _unfamiliar_ system before, but will use help if it is

>>> 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.

It's _surely_ a must. Because novice user can't learn those chapters by heart,
so access to docs in the actual process will be needed.

>> 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.

That's the menu^

 x x    X Exit       Exit this menu (returning to previous)            x x
 x x    1 README     A general description of FreeBSD.  Read this!     x x
 x x    2 Errata     Late-breaking, post-release news.                 x x
 x x    3 Hardware   The FreeBSD survival guide for PC hardware.       x x
 x x    4 Install    A step-by-step guide to installing FreeBSD.       x x
 x x    5 Copyright  The FreeBSD Copyright notices.                    x x
 x x    6 Release    The release notes for this version of FreeBSD.    x x
 x x    7 Shortcuts  Creating shortcuts to sysinstall.                 x x
 x x    8 HTML Docs  Go to the HTML documentation menu (post-install). x x

It is access to the release accompanying files only. And HTML docs are
available after install only, as you can see.

> 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.

That's a drawback. I think there should be another sysinstall's console on
which docs are always available.

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

It is not ethical to require users to print docs before.

>>> 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.

Yes, but DVD is still in the future.

>> 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.

I've not said anything about graphics installer - but features/functional

>> 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.

You don't, but a number of users can be lost. Advocacy, again.

>>>> 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.

That's shells are almost useless because even "ls" don't work.

>> 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.

I can cureently look to 6.2 ISOs only - 7.0 is too big to download
"to just see" :-)

>>>> 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.

OK, agreed. But bzip2 can be left as option to the future for some system prts
not in default install, if sizes will grow...

WBR, Vadim Goncharov. ICQ#166852181       mailto:vadim_nuclight at
[Moderator of RU.ANTI-ECOLOGY][FreeBSD][][LJ:/nuclight]

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