Mini KDE for a Lightweight Desktop
First of all, I cleaned up my computer running Fedora Core 3. Partly, this was done to make some extra room, but the main reason was to build the packages in a clean environment. After some checking and thinking, I removed the following packages, which I originally had installed from Fedora Core or KDE/Red Hat repositories: kdeedu, kdeartwork, KOffice, kdesdk, kdevelop, kdepim, kde, kdebase, kdelibs and kdelibs-devel.
Here's the other reason to perform such trimming exercises: you can learn a lot about how packages relate to one another. Specifically, you discover unneeded dependencies and packaging errors that remain hidden when distributions simply bundle software together without paying attention. For example, I learned that, at least on Fedora, I couldn't remove redhat-menus-3.7.1-3.4.3.kde, because it is needed by apparently unrelated stuff, including htmlview, gnome-vfs, openoffice.org-1.1.2, Evolution, XMMS and Nautilus.
The same happened with arts, the modularized sound system for KDE, and its development complement, arts-devel. Users of older desktops certainly are able to survive, even when they have a sound card, without acoustic effects. However, those two packages are needed by many more applications, including gstreamer plugins, gnome-applets, Evolution and so on. Some of these dependencies do make sense once you find them, but others still make me wonder. In any case, there seems to be a lot of opportunities for space savings at this level.
After cleaning my hard disk, I installed the latest stable source RPMs of kdelibs, kdebase, kdepim and KOffice from apt.kde-redhat.org/apt/kde-redhat/all/SRPMS.stable. When I started, they were:
I chose the KDE for Red Hat Project instead of official Fedora Core packages, because I find them more polished than the standard ones. They also usually offer newer versions of the packages.
When you install a source RPM, you get all of the source code in a .tar.bz2 archive and the instructions to build everything in a .spec file. Normally, to build the package, you need to issue only the command:
rpmbuild -ba <package_name>.spec
To reduce disk space, I basically did two things, both relatively simple even for nonprogrammers. The first was to massage the compile and installation options in the .spec files. For example, I compiled everything without sound, adding -without-arts to the configure section. When available, I also added similar options to ignore other multimedia libraries or support for devices such as cell phones and PDAs. Then, I commented out all the Require and BuildRequires directives that check whether libraries for audio, video and modern peripherals are available before starting the process. I also removed the Provides directives for all the binaries I left out. Finally, I commented out the instructions that pack into the binary RPM files that I had not compiled or didn't need.
My complete .spec files are available in the Mini KDE section of the RULE Web site.
The second and most important trick was to insert a proper inst-apps file inside each KDE source tarball. It turns out that the configure scripts of these programs have a section that more or less says something like this (from kdelibs):
ac_topsubdirs= if test -s $srcdir/inst-apps; then ac_topsubdirs="`cat $srcdir/inst-apps`" elif test -s $srcdir/subdirs; then ac_topsubdirs="`cat $srcdir/subdirs`" fi
$ac_topsubdirs is the list of all the subdirectories whose code must be compiled and installed. By default, this variable is loaded with everything written in the subdirs file. But, if you copy subdirs into inst-apps, remove from the latter all the unneeded items and then tar and compress everything again, only the applications you want are compiled. This also works when installing directly from source.
Generally speaking, to figure out what you could or could not remove from inst-apps, look at the README file in each subdirectory. The following is a short summary of what I did for each package.
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Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
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- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide