Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Write suggestions and new ideas in here
More ideas here http://community.linuxmint.com/idea/welcome
Forum rules
  • Only post ideas here that are specifically about the Linux Mint distribution or its websites.
  • So that developers and users from any distribution can discuss ideas in one place, post ideas about improving software to the collaboration website for that software instead.
gm10
Level 18
Level 18
Posts: 8720
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:11 pm

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by gm10 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:16 am

mingle wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:52 am
I'd love a minimal install, but for the moment I have to manual remove stuff. I have a 'fully-featured' Linux Mint install, but I also I have a requirement for a very trimmed-down/bare-bones install for some VMs I use, so get rid of pretty much all the pre-installed apps. It takes me a good hour, which is a bloody long time imo...
[...]
I run Mint xfce and after an install (no 3rd party add-ons), I use synaptic to remove all the apps found under the whisker menu, with the exception of a few of the accessories (calculator, catfish search, etc).
If you do this regularly then simply set up the VM once and then clone it (or if it's the same reset it to a snapshot). Or at least note down the packages you always remove, throw an apt purge --autoremove in front and you're done, too. Why would you repeatedly do this manually?
mingle wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:52 am
I've never had any issues with update manager/synaptic complaining about missing/broken dependencies.
Because as long as you use the regular means to remove a package (e.g. synaptic in your case) there's no possibility of that happening. That's the main reason for having the package management system - it keeps track of dependencies. If you try to remove something on which other software depends you will be warned (and given the possibility to remove the other software as well).
Tune up your LM 19.x: ppa:gm10/linuxmint-tools

User avatar
mingle
Level 3
Level 3
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 9:58 pm

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by mingle » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:13 pm

gm10 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:16 am
If you do this regularly then simply set up the VM once and then clone it (or if it's the same reset it to a snapshot). Or at least note down the packages you always remove, throw an apt purge --autoremove in front and you're done, too. Why would you repeatedly do this manually?
I used to use a real, physical Mint machine, but swapped to VMs just after 19.0. I've cloned a few times since the, but for each new release of Mint I create a new 'baseline' VM, which I manually have to go through and clean-out all of the dross. Not a huge drama, but enough to be an inconvenience.
mingle wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:52 am
...as long as you use the regular means to remove a package (e.g. synaptic in your case) there's no possibility of that happening. That's the main reason for having the package management system - it keeps track of dependencies. If you try to remove something on which other software depends you will be warned (and given the possibility to remove the other software as well).
That's true. But one other issue I have (which is beyond the bounds of this thread) is how certain stuff is inexplicably tied to other packages; for example, when I tried to remove some image-processing libraries, Synaptic wanted to uninstall around 20 other packages, including most of the desktop environment.

Cheers,

Mike.

cjoliprsf
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:29 am

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by cjoliprsf » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:13 am

gm10 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:16 am
Or at least note down the packages you always remove, throw an apt purge --autoremove in front and you're done, too.
The problem with this approach in a VirtualBox VM is that it doesn't permit to reduce the size of the virtual disk file. The size of the file increases as some data is written by the guest OS on the virtual disk. But if some of this data is erased, the size of the file is not reduced.
Example: After a fresh install of Linux Mint something like 6 to 7 Gigs of disk space is used. Hence the virtual disk size will be approximately the same, say 7 Gigs, on the host computer disk. Now, let's say you purge all the programs that aren't needed, and that this operation purges 3 Gigs of data. From inside the VM, you'll effectively see 3 more Gigs of available disk space. However, the virtual disk size as seen by the host computer will remain at 7 Gigs - this number cannot decrease in a dynamic virtual disk.
This is why a minimal install would be so useful - after the fresh minimal install, the virtual disk could be somewhere around 2 to 3 Gigs in size, and with good management, it can remain that size. When you have many VMs, this difference in file size may be quite significative.

For my part, I use Mint as the main OS in 2 of my computers, and I'd love to use Mint also in my VMs, but the fact it doesn't provide a minimal install make it unpractical, so I use another distro (Q4OS in instance) for my virtual machines. With that OS, a fresh minimal install is just 1.7 Gig for the 32 bits version and 1.9 Gig in 64 bits. My working VMs have virtual disk files that may be at around 2.5 Gigs - something unapproachable if using Mint.

gm10
Level 18
Level 18
Posts: 8720
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:11 pm

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by gm10 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:13 am

cjoliprsf wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:13 am
The problem with this approach in a VirtualBox VM is that it doesn't permit to reduce the size of the virtual disk file. The size of the file increases as some data is written by the guest OS on the virtual disk. But if some of this data is erased, the size of the file is not reduced.
Best argument so far, but then it would have to be a true minimal install option and not in the way Ubuntu performs it. Which basically means a redesign of the installer, so still unlikely.

Anyway, to reduce your dynamic virtual disk in size, run this in your virtual machine:

Code: Select all

dd if=/dev/zero of=/var/tmp/tmpfile bs=4096k;rm /var/tmp/tmpfile
Then shut the VM down, and now on the host run this:

Code: Select all

vboxmanage modifymedium --compact /path/to/virtualdisk.vdi
Tune up your LM 19.x: ppa:gm10/linuxmint-tools

cjoliprsf
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:29 am

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by cjoliprsf » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:23 pm

gm10 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:13 am
Best argument so far, but then it would have to be a true minimal install option and not in the way Ubuntu performs it. Which basically means a redesign of the installer, so still unlikely.
If it doesn't happen, it isn't such a big deal as there are other options out there that permit building a virtual machine with a small footprint. Just that it would be nice if we could do it with Mint. I do understand that the developers may have other things to do that they consider more important - although I don't think it would be such a chore to offer for download a "minimal install" iso in addition to the standard "full install" iso. Such a minimal install iso could be recommended for installation in VMs and on very small partitions or even on USB sticks.

gm10
Level 18
Level 18
Posts: 8720
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:11 pm

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by gm10 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:41 pm

cjoliprsf wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:23 pm
although I don't think it would be such a chore to offer for download a "minimal install" iso in addition to the standard "full install" iso. Such a minimal install iso could be recommended for installation in VMs and on very small partitions or even on USB sticks.
I agree, that would likely be the best way to implement it, a pure installer without live environment for the core system only, not even a desktop environment. But how many Mint users would use it? I still think it's very niche considering the type of user base.
Tune up your LM 19.x: ppa:gm10/linuxmint-tools

cjoliprsf
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:29 am

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by cjoliprsf » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:06 pm

gm10 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:41 pm
I agree, that would likely be the best way to implement it, a pure installer without live environment for the core system only, not even a desktop environment. But how many Mint users would use it? I still think it's very niche considering the type of user base.
Hard to say. But my perception, for what it's worth (and I am no expert), is that quite a number of Mint users that have already installed the system a few times and know exactly what they need would prefer such an installer. But I might be wrong...
I gather this potential installer you refer to, that would only install the core system, would yield a terminal mode. Then the user could install the DE of his choice by a sudo apt install command followed by the name of the desktop he wants: cinnamon, mate or xfce. Yes, that would be great.

gm10
Level 18
Level 18
Posts: 8720
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:11 pm

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by gm10 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:20 pm

cjoliprsf wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:06 pm
I gather this potential installer you refer to, that would only install the core system, would yield a terminal mode. Then the user could install the DE of his choice by a sudo apt install command followed by the name of the desktop he wants: cinnamon, mate or xfce. Yes, that would be great.
Yes, that's what I was thinking. I'm not actually sure which one I would use. I'd still end up downloading the live environment either way because it's useful to have at hand, but it's possible I would prefer to install using the minimal installer - I have my installation process fully scripted, anyway, so same difference. Not sure which one would be faster actually, considering the live environment front-loads the download time.
Tune up your LM 19.x: ppa:gm10/linuxmint-tools

cjoliprsf
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:29 am

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by cjoliprsf » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:00 pm

gm10 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:20 pm
I'm not actually sure which one I would use. I'd still end up downloading the live environment either way because it's useful to have at hand, but it's possible I would prefer to install using the minimal installer - I have my installation process fully scripted, anyway, so same difference. Not sure which one would be faster actually, considering the live environment front-loads the download time.
Well, I'll let you figure the details...
If you'd like me to test something and have my opinion as a user, you can send me a PM.

gm10
Level 18
Level 18
Posts: 8720
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:11 pm

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by gm10 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:23 am

cjoliprsf wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:00 pm
Well, I'll let you figure the details...
If you'd like me to test something and have my opinion as a user, you can send me a PM.
Oh, I am sorry if you misunderstood, but I am just another user here, I do not contribute to Mint (anymore).
Tune up your LM 19.x: ppa:gm10/linuxmint-tools

rene
Level 11
Level 11
Posts: 3627
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:58 pm

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by rene » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:29 am

cjoliprsf wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:13 am
The problem with this approach in a VirtualBox VM is that it doesn't permit to reduce the size of the virtual disk file.
That's not actually true; VBoxManage can shrink down a virtual disk: https://superuser.com/questions/529149/ ... -file-size

I have for what it's worth by the way been contemplating that VB could use ATA TRIM for this in in its "disk" driver to do this automatically. I.e., now that we in these SSD days tell the hardware which space we're not in fact using after all, VB's driver could use that for automatic compacting...

cjoliprsf
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:29 am

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by cjoliprsf » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:07 pm

gm10 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:23 am
Oh, I am sorry if you misunderstood, but I am just another user here, I do not contribute to Mint (anymore).
Oh well, no one is perfect!!!
rene wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:29 am
That's not actually true; VBoxManage can shrink down a virtual disk: https://superuser.com/questions/529149/ ... -file-size
Thanks for the tip. I'll check if this also works with a vmdk virtual disk.

Monsta
Level 10
Level 10
Posts: 3027
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:46 am

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by Monsta » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:48 am

cjoliprsf wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:07 pm
Thanks for the tip. I'll check if this also works with a vmdk virtual disk.
According to docs, both modifymedium command with --compact option and storageattach command with --discard option require VDI image format.

User avatar
thx-1138
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1841
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:15 pm
Location: Athens, Greece

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by thx-1138 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:51 am

cjoliprsf wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:07 pm
...............................
...you can use this very nice & effective program to shrink most common VM dynamic disk images (& filesystems).
For optimum results, you'd still need to first zero-out the unused blocks from inside the (whatever) VM first
(see previous replies above...depending on the filesystem / OS, dd if=/dev/zero, sdelete etc).

j3120
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:51 pm

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by j3120 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:27 pm

+1 Need minimal install option.

I see no reason to not have options: Standard Install, Minimal Install, etc.

I don't want bloat/junk installed.

I install Linux on dozens of machines (desktop, laptops, virtual machines), and I like to set them up for what I need them to do. Some are for kids, some for me, some for work, some for other people, some to experiment with. I'm not an expert, so any help I can get is appreciated.

rene
Level 11
Level 11
Posts: 3627
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:58 pm

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by rene » Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:55 pm

The minimal install option for Mint is called "Debian".

cjoliprsf
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:29 am

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by cjoliprsf » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:46 pm

rene wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:55 pm
The minimal install option for Mint is called "Debian".
I surely hope you are not serious when you write that!
There certainly is a huge difference between plain Debian, and a Mint installation that would be minimal, that is with all what makes Mint what it is, but without all the programs and unnecessary extras (themes/languages/etc) that are automatically installed. All these extras could easily installed (as necessary only) by the user after the main OS installation.

I really have a lot of difficulty to understand why there is so much resistance to this suggestion of providing a minimal install option. There are many people who'd like to have it, and it would be easy to implement. So why not just do it???

DAMIEN1307
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1911
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:13 pm
Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by DAMIEN1307 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:29 pm

cjoliprsf said,
I really have a lot of difficulty to understand why there is so much resistance to this suggestion of providing a minimal install option. There are many people who'd like to have it, and it would be easy to implement. So why not just do it???
i dont think it is so much "resistance to this suggestion" but rather a different philosophy of what LM is.

It is based on a philosophy of being a user friendly, up and running operating system providing most everything an ordinary end user would need for an out of the box experience and geared for folks that may not be as "nerdy" or geaky" or more technically oriented as some of the rest of us here in the forums.

Many folks come to LM from other systems such as Windows or Macs and are looking for alternatives to replace those systems and want any easy to use, no fuss system. Many, many, new users of Mint are first timers with a linux operating system and just need everything to work OOTB. the REALLY serious technologically minded users will of course learn, experiment etc. and then sometimes distro hop to learn more about how linux works.

They will get their "feet wet", and then, when they are ready, then they might just "dive in" as they learn the ins and outs of things.

Those of us that have learned along the way know enough how to just simply strip out what we dont need and easily install what we do need and is easily done without much fuss...DAMIEN

PS...just as a side note, the original OP 1st post mentioned that Peppermint 9 has this option, it is shown in their installer but Mark Greaves,
aka, "PCNetSpec", the Man who runs Peppermint OS has already stated in his own forums that this "feature" is not yet operational, clicking on it makes no difference on the installation of P9 and im supposing P10 either since i have both installed on other systems i own and operate and to date makes no difference. it still installs the entire OS.
Last edited by DAMIEN1307 on Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:25 pm, edited 4 times in total.
ORDO AB CHAO

rene
Level 11
Level 11
Posts: 3627
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:58 pm

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by rene » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:44 pm

cjoliprsf wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:46 pm
rene wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:55 pm
The minimal install option for Mint is called "Debian".
I surely hope you are not serious when you write that!
I am.

And specifically, because I am calling into question the definition of "a minimal Linux Mint distribution". See, yours doesn't make sense. Linux Mint is very explicitly an "out of the box" distribution. It started out that way, i.e., Ubuntu with additional codecs and what have (had) you and although it developed away from being just that, never lost "beginner-friendly, ready for action" as a primary characteristic. It's not like Mint comes with the entirety of the repositories installed; it comes with a complete set of tools so as to comprise a full, ready system out of the box. As, again, a pretty primary characteristic, and as such, if you don't like that, you don't like Linux Mint.

You may like Ubuntu or, in the only sense that "minimal" would make sense to me, i.e., for example without a pre-installed graphical environment, Debian. And that is what I was saying. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against Linux Mint being/becoming something other than what it has historically been, and although I doubt I'd personally find a minimal install option to have Mint provide me with any sort of benefit over Ubuntu or even Debian, who cares, go wild. It's just that the notion in the context of Linux Mint does not currently make much sense. A minimal Linux Mint is not a Linux Mint; might as well go install one of the few thousand other distributions then...

[NOTE] Upon clicking "post" I see that DAMIEN posted as much as well...

cjoliprsf
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:29 am

Re: Suggestion: Add minimal install option

Post by cjoliprsf » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:56 am

rene wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:44 pm
And specifically, because I am calling into question the definition of "a minimal Linux Mint distribution". See, yours doesn't make sense.
I do agree the definition of a minimal install may be different from a person to another. True a very plain install without DE has been mentioned, but that one may be a bit far fetched considering the Mint philosophy.

Let's talk then about an install of the basic but complete OS only, including desktop and basic tools such as editor, file manager, program manager, update manager, i.e. things that really are part of the OS.
It would not install other software such as Office, music and media player, Internet browser, or chatting for example.
Why? One reason is that many users have their own preferred program that may be different from the default install (for example Chrome rather than Firefox). Or may have no use for such a program (myself I never use chat or messenging or music player for example. I have never even opened GIMP, but I do use darktable and rawtherapee...)

Consider also that the Mint program manager is very well made and makes it easy even for the beginner to install whatever program he needs.
I think it really comes to differenciate what is an integral part of the OS, and what are the additional functions/programs provided by the distribution. This last part in my opinion should be optional, and I don't think this would go against the Mint philosophy.
DAMIEN1307 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:29 pm
PS...just as a side note, the original OP 1st post mentioned that Peppermint 9 has this option, it is shown in their installer but Mark Greaves,
aka, "PCNetSpec", the Man who runs Peppermint OS has already stated in his own forums that this "feature" is not yet operational, clicking on it makes no difference on the installation of P9 and im supposing P10 either since i have both installed on other systems i own and operate and to date makes no difference. it still installs the entire OS.
I don't know about Peppermint. I do know (as I use it) that the Q4OS distribution has a very clever implementation that lets the user choose between
1- a really bare install
2- a full OS install but without additional programs
3- the complete distribution with Libre Office, media player, and all the rest.
And that works very well.

Post Reply

Return to “Suggestions & New Ideas”