Cut down Linux (Debian)

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Hi All,

I'm working on a firewall/NAT router project using Debian Sarge 3.1.
Currently I have a hard disk based system, but I'd like it to run with a
128Mbyte CF card in a mini-ITX box. The firewall is working, but the
standard installation system is a little on the large side.

Someone suggested I could replace the init process with a user script and
only load those things I need, but init enables quite a few facilities, like
gracefully shutting down/ booting up, gettys etc., so I'd like to keep it
but maybe reduce the number of scripts run in /etc/rcS.d, and /etc/rc2.d
directories, and then remove all the packages and files I don't want.

Is this a sensible approach and is there an easy way to do this cutting
down? Would another init replacement, like runit, be better? I don't really
know enough yet to build it up from scratch and I really need the firewall
installed soon!

Thanks, any hints/suggestions would be gratefully received.

Mark.




Re: Cut down Linux (Debian)
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I used another way to strip down a normal debian installation:
- Create a normal debian install in a chroot-environment (install only
  necessary packages).
- Use a shell script which copies only the really necessary things on the
  cf-disk (use rsync for this)
  * no doc info and so on
  * no /var/lib/dpkg
  * keep out everything that is big and not used (use "du" and "sort" to
    get info of the biggest things)

So you have a normal debian install in a chroot (which is about 300MB) this
can be kept updated when necessary. And you have a script to strip this
down to the CF-disk. You dont need any new init-method.
Oh and my CF-image is about 80MB in the end.

Gruss
    Ulli

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Re: Cut down Linux (Debian)

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Thanks, I'll give it a go!

Mark.



Re: Cut down Linux (Debian)
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Why not starting with the fli4l project instead ? They do an extremely
small distribution for x86 especially tailored for routers.

-Michael

Re: Cut down Linux (Debian)
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Hi Mark,
    You could try replacing full fledged userland tools with
http://packages.debian.org/unstable/utils/busybox

Cheers,
Ram

Re: Cut down Linux (Debian)
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Have you looked at openwrt.org (free Linksys router replacement) runs in
16MB ram and 4MB flash for storage. Uses squashfs and jffs2 for filesystem
compression, and makes use of busybox and uClibc. Uses ipkg package system,
and will handle debian packages, though ipackage packages are traditionally
".ipk".

Also Familiar which provides a full Linux GUI enviroment on a PDA.

The Linux router project is another popular embedded Linux opensource project
(leaf.sourceforge.net).

Alpine linux is another embedded Linux (www.alpinelinux.org).

--mikeb


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