honold

anybody else hate not knowing every os file?

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when i was running a bbs on dos 3.3 and later when i was using dos5/dos622 with 4dos as a command interpreter (autoexec.btm - l33t!) i knew what every file in c:\dos did. now, i didn't even abstract the idea of the kernel. but i knew about io.sys, msdos.sys, etc. one day i went through c:\dos and went file by file through the directory listing (pleasantly small) to understand what every file did. and it was good.

i started using linux a long time ago, i was triple booting os/2 and win3.1 with it (l33t!). could have been before the kernel was 1.0, i don't know, it was slackware and i think that's all there was. so that's where my unix experience started, and it built up from there. when cheapbytes came around i bought all the distro cds and tried them - went quickly through redhat, tried some random ones (yggdrasil anyone? heh), and juggled between slack and debian before settling on debian 1.x.

i was a proud zealot, but one day i got annoyed.

i was sick of all the 'required' packages in dselect that were far from necessary. so i would use my little underscore to purge (which should delete app + config files) 'required' crap like the ae text editor. and it was good. but wait, poking around etc i still found ae.conf. wtf? even though i had given up on understanding every file since windows 3.1 came out, it drove me nuts to think that unnecessary packages were required, and that they weren't even deleted when i wanted them to be!

i was also sick of having stuff i had and would never use installed, so i looked for options. couldn't find any. then i found freebsd, i think it was 2.2.6. i never looked back. it was blessedly minimal.

but you look at all the crap you can tweak in make.conf, to remove isdn4bsd and lpr and other crap that you never use. so i would tweak make.conf to build out all this stuff. i'd build the base system from source with my edits, and do a typical install. then i'd diff the directories, tweak the output a little, and use it as a list to delete - cat dellist|xargs rm -rf, you know. but there's still stuff i never use that's in the base system, and there's still the fact that mergemaster will repopulate stuff like the lpr spool directories in var even if you aren't using lpr. ugh.

see with my security focus in network administration it bothers me to do source upgrades because of abandoned software. case in point, some of the smtpfwd stuff from an old proxy server project in openbsd http://www.obtuse.com/smtpd.html got dropped. well, good, i say. so i can just upgrade from source and...the files are left on my system. unused, and unmaintained. if a local exploit was to arise for the file on the system that was running openbsd 3.0 but is now running openbsd 3.3-current, there would be no advisory. it would just sit there, waiting. so i make lists of files that are installed by make build and i do diffs between that and my existing system (excluding stuff like home directories) to make sure what is removed is removed.

i could reinstall a lot but i don't like the downtime on production servers (and i don't mind reboots, uptime freaks). right now opensbd is my far and away unix favorite because of its simplicity, minimal nature, and excellent documentation. it still has stuff i want removed, but much less than freebsd, enough that i don't worry about using skipdirs when i build from source.

so anyway i was just posting this to have some non-raid conversation on here, i hope somebody can relate. does not understanding everything bug you guys too? this is one of the major, major things that drives me away from linux. i hate having tons of packages installed, and i especially hate having tons of packages i never use installed. this doesn't happen to me with the bsds, but i still want the base to be more base. i understand politically it's hard to draw the line though.

if i was a wealthy man i believe i would donate a signifigant amount of money to the openbsd project (and do my best to never assume my suggestions were worth implementing just because i had).

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I'd perfer to have a more monolithic viewpoint instead of DLL chaos. I like software to stand alone and be portable. Being able to just pick up a directory and put it somewhere else and have it work has it's advantages, but so many software designers want to put the software on your system like a flock of birds puts droppings on your car.

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I started with yggsdrasil, too. I got it, a FreeBSD CD and a CD full of lesstif applications from Walnut Creek.

This was back in the days when more people didn't have CD-ROM drives than had them.

I started with BSD, with the understanding that it was closer to the SunOS 4 stuff I was using in class. And it was, but it didn't support the 2nd CPU in my workstation (yes, I had an SMP 486.), and my attempts at building my own kernel resulted in something that just wouldn't boot, even though it compiled correctly.

I tolerated BSD - it handled internet stuff better than OS/2 2.1 or NT3.1, after all, until the end of a semester, then pulled out the yggsdrasil CD.

The install off the CD was pretty bad, but once I got it running, I had something that was at least as functional as BSD. Once I got it online to start grabbing updates, though, I knew I had a winner, since even back then (.94, maybe? I don't think it'd hit 1.0 at that point), there was work on an SMP branch for the kernel.

I submitted bug reports and re-built about once a week, pretty faithfully until I ditched my 486 and later Pentium SMP rigs for a PPro 200.

As far as OS files, yes, it bugs the hell out of me. More with Windows than Unix, since everything ends up dumped in just a couple of directories (Why the hell is this stuff from Symantec in my OS libraries folder???). Making stuff from source on a *nix machine, things go in /usr/local/, which normally tells me right away that if nothing else, I probably don't need it.

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I'd perfer to have a more monolithic viewpoint instead of DLL chaos. I like software to stand alone and be portable. Being able to just pick up a directory and put it somewhere else and have it work has it's advantages, but so many software designers want to put the software on your system like a flock of birds puts droppings on your car.

That's where Next/OpenStep followed by Mac OS X has it right. Make applications a self-sufficient directory, with everything stored in that one directory (except user-level preferences, where you have a single preferences file in the user's directory.) Then, hide the fact that it's a folder, and make the enclosing folder look like *IT* is the executable.

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The earlier Mac OS, which I was very familiar with from 6.0 to 7.5.3, was a dream in at least that respect...

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Will 25 Cheetah 15k.3s in RAID 0 on a 32bit PCI bus give me better performance in Quake 3?

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Pradeep, that post reminds me of the fact that cattle prods can be found on ebay for under $70.

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Honold, I totally agree with you. I truely miss the compartmentalization that went with MS-DOS. The ability to know where & what everything is and remove it, if it is no longer needed, was a great gift that disapeared with the advent of Windows. Sorry that Linux is not much better than Windows, but there are more tools that can be used to seperate the files. In the end, it is just too much effort, for me, to solve the problem and then I'm stuck with the rest of the world in trusting the install and uninstall routines. an unacceptable state, but it is the state I find myself in.

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