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Old 11-06-2009, 10:40 PM
Ed W
 
Default Amount of useflags enabled by default

Thomas Sachau wrote:


I dont mind, if a flag is really usefull and requested by a big majority of the users. But as Gentoo
is about choice, the minority should be able to easily choose something else, e.g. by a less
heavyweight profile. If a majority of mplayer users want to be able to play audio files, i dont mind
to disable it for myself, if i dont want it. But on the other hand shouldnt a handfull of users be
able to dictate the enabled and disabled USE flags for many other users, which might have a
different interest.




Just as a stake in the ground, but personally I have two modes of
interest: a) for desktop use I just want a middle of the road profile
which enables "useful stuff", and b) I have some embedded projects
where every byte is precious







It would be nice if we actually documented why they were enabled. Does the
use flag enable significant functionality that would otherwise make the software
less useful.



Documentation is always usefull. One should also check the additional overhead of the USE flag.




I often hear this general kind of commentary.* Just out of interest,
how/why do you care about the byte count that much? Apart from embedded
work, or perhaps virtualised servers, I find it surprising to imagine
that "most people" find the "cost" of minimising installed size (well
more than the obvious stuff)* to be worth the effort (in general)?



What kind of size of install do you run?* Sub 200MB? Sub 50MB?* How
much "bloat" are you seeing by fiddling with changing your profile from
defaults?



Personally I recently figured out how to create my own local profiles,
and this allows me to control the main USE flags to my liking.*
Personally I find that minimising the number of interpreted languages
installed (perl etc) and optimising locale size is by far the dominant
factor in the size of the install.* Thereafter controlling whether
mplayer also plays x264 files seems largely second order (at least on
my install)?



If you are worried about security issues in dependencies then do also
look at hardened (esp. with the gcc-4.4 hardened overlay) and perhaps
grsecurity - this can very effectively mitigate the effects of many
security holes.



Good luck



Ed W
 
Old 11-07-2009, 06:46 AM
Duncan
 
Default Amount of useflags enabled by default

Ed W posted on Fri, 06 Nov 2009 23:40:30 +0000 as excerpted:

> I often hear this general kind of commentary. Just out of interest,
> how/why do you care about the byte count that much? Apart from embedded
> work, or perhaps virtualised servers, I find it surprising to imagine
> that "most people" find the "cost" of minimising installed size (well
> more than the obvious stuff) to be worth the effort (in general)?

> If you are worried about security issues in dependencies then do also
> look at hardened (esp. with the gcc-4.4 hardened overlay) and perhaps
> grsecurity - this can very effectively mitigate the effects of many
> security holes.

What a lot of (at least non-dev) folks don't realize is that particularly
on a distribution such as Gentoo, in addition to the size bloat, and
security considerations, both of which you brought up, there's the simple
or general ongoing maintenance consideration. Of course that's not quite
so big of an issue on embedded, where presumably you install it and let
it be for long periods of time (perhaps for the life of the unit), but
for general "computer" use, at /least/ desktop, the ongoing updates and
maintenance costs **FAR** outweigh any size consideration in the usual
case, and really, except to the extent that updates and security are tied
together, they outweigh the security aspect of the additional features as
well.

It was actually a couple years into my Gentoo experience that the effect
of "bloat" in the form of optional dependencies (USE flags on Gentoo)
began to dawn on me, and I've only appreciated it more, since,
with the effect /particularly/ emphasized to me while I had both kde3 and
kde4 installed (luckily without Gnome to worry about as well). That's a
/huge/ number of additional packages to worry about keeping updated, for
the revdep-rebuild I run after every update to check and maybe flag for
rebuild, etc.

To a rather lessor but more frequent extent, updating codecs and/or
imagemagick invariably triggers a revdep-rebuild on transcode, mplayer,
xine-libs, and k3b -- and that's with --as-needed in my LDFLAGS, without
it things would be MUCH MUCH worse.

So if I'm not using a codec, or if I /might/ use it say once every year
or two, it's DEFINITELY better to have that USE flag off and not have to
deal with that codec triggering revdep-rebuilds every time it updates,
and in the event that I DO run across somethign that needs it, just turn
it on --single-shot, compile what I need with it, do what I want, then
turn it off and emerge -N and revdep-rebuild to put everything back to
not using it again.

Of course with the big DEs the effect is far bigger. It's to the point
where when looking for an app for some new purpose, if it's dependent on
the desktop I don't run (GNOME, for me, but KDE for others), that's an
almost insurmountable barrier to overcome to have me even try it, because
the cost of continual maintenance of even the basics of an entire DE are
simply way too high to be worth it for a single app or even two or three,
unless they happen to be primary functionality for what I'm doing, of
course, in which case may I'll switch DEs. I long since settled on KDE
apps for most of my primary functionality, and the cost of doing
otherwise is high enough that's unlikely to change unless KDE or my own
needs change enough that I dump KDE entirely. (Actually, with kde4, a
lot of folks have found just that, that KDE changed out from under them
and no longer meets their needs, so they're switching away from it. I
came close, but had enough other reasons to stick with it that I found or
in some cases scripted my own solutions to the missing or b0rk3n kde4
functionality, so ended up sticking with it... but at enormous personal
time and resources investment to do so... enough that comparably, paying
a grand for MS software would be a reasonable tradeoff... if there
weren't bigger issues I was worried about.)

But you didn't even mention the cost of continuing maintenance factor for
all that "bloat", and on a Gentoo system, at least desktop, that's really
the big one.

BTW, if you could, please turn off the HTML. Some people find it
troublesome to deal with. You (or your client) do include plain text,
which helps, but do you /really/ need the HTML, at the cost of making
life harder for some readers?

--
Duncan - List replies preferred. No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master." Richard Stallman
 

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