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The "zdrv"

September 08, 2009 — BarryK
I posted this to the forum, reproducing here:

Quote from rerwin:
I am about to build a set of Intel537 drivers -- there are actually 4 of them, for the various flavors. Each is about 4 MB, so I fear for what that would do to puppy's waistline. Because I favor a puppy that can load its program squashfile into the ramfs in PCs with only 256 MB of RAM, I suspect we are facing migrating the heaviest of the modem drivers to a zdrv (or equivalent) auxiliary squashfile. Perhaps all modem drivers in their own subdirectories would be candidates for migration, except for modems built into laptops or motherboards. That would recognize that not all users need all of the modem drivers in their ramfs.

Yes, 4.3 is going to end up too fat!
I'm going to add another choice in the Woof '3builddistro' script to extract just the large modem drivers and their firmware tarballs into a separate 'zdrv'.

This zdrv will not be in the live-cd iso, it will be available separately for download.

The zdrv has to be named in a very precise manner. This is how it is done:

PREFIX1CHAR="`echo -n "$DISTRO_FILE_PREFIX" | cut -c 1`"
KERNEL3CHARS="`echo -n "$KERNELVER" | tr -d '.' | tr -d '\-' | tr -d '[a-z]' | rev | cut -c 1,2,3 | rev`"


In 4.3beta2 (as I intend for the final) DISTRO_FILE_PREFIX="pup"
For the kernel, KERNEL3CHARS="305"

So, for 4.3final, the zdrv must be named:


Anyone can provide a zdrv with this name, with their own drivers or whatever, or even start with my official one and add more stuff to it.

It isn't controlled by the BootManager, if present at /mnt/home it gets automatically loaded. Puppy will automatically run 'depmod' first time it is loaded, and again if it is removed.


Username: Terry Ritter
I wonder whether it may be time to step back and rethink what a "distribution" needs. Anything which operates on the Web obviously needs a Web connection. If we had a strong selection of packages, the Package Manager could download and install a user selection from the Web. Then, that would not have to be included in the distribution, thus shrinking the release size and related anguish about what to include. I never use SeaMonkey, so that is a waste in my Puppy copy. I always install FireFox. Giving the user the choice is win-win. Terry

Giving the user the choice is win-win!!
Username: Jota
"I agree totally with Terry Ritter, and say more: even for a smart and wiser developer, as BK is, is always difficult to know (to guess, really) what the final users need/want. Puppy has a great balance of the on-board software, but as software keeps growing in size, it's more and more difficult to make the right choices. An example: I suspect that the vast majority of Puppy users prefer Geany, but Barry will drop it in favor of a very limited text editor (Nicoedit). Other example: in beta2, with Abiword 2.6.3 I'm not able to use and edit almost half of my MsWord documents as I was with beta1 (Abiword 2.7.8). For me that is not really a problem, because the first thing I always do is to remaster Puppy to suit my needs, but that means to cut out the bits I don't want and add what I need. It will be much more efficient to be able to just add the software I need. So, I think that a Puppy with less software included, but with more options (.pets, .sfs, etc.) to easy install what the user really wants, could be the way to go!

No short change
Username: cthisbear
"Please leave as is BK. Seamonkey is fine. All your apps are fine. Yesterdays release> Download: Size: ~ 54 mb Plus there are other Barebones and Choicepup etc. /////// For the whingers...sorry must be a bad hair day in Sydney. jrb: Build your own Puppy Chris.

Apps in Puppy
Username: ICPUG
"Every so often this question comes up. What apps to include in the base Puppy. I love the way that people such as Mistfire are so confident they know what the user wants! There are a number of types of users and we have different needs. I cannot impose my needs on someone else! What Barry has done in the past has in general ignored the argument and Puppy has the apps HE wants in it, listening to what people are saying of course. I have always advocated a modular Puppy and when jrb came along with ChoicePup we got it. Amazing job and this is what Mistfire, Terry Ritter and Jota should investigate. Newbies however need some apps already put together in a system. Why? Because they went to get going out of the box and they don't know anything about the package manager and how to use it until their knowledge improves. I'm with cthisbear on this one.

Username: 01micko
"ok, some discussion going on here about bloat... If Puppy was over the 100kg .. er ... MB limit what would be better? Apps or drivers? IMO drivers every time... ootb.. Slackware 12.2 could not get my screen res right, 5 yr old box with a newish wide screen... and that was 3 CDs! Nobody wants to stuff around with basic settings.

Smaller is Not Always Better
Username: Terry Ritter
"@ICPUG: Sadly, ChoicePup would not fit my needs. I am a security guy seeking a finished secure browsing alternative to Windows that other users can pick up quickly. Users will already have to be told about .iso files and downloading and burning and DVD booting, so they might as well be told about downloading a browser. And they will be happiest with one they already know. Nobody is better off with packages that do not do the job or those known to have major security issues, even if those packages are smaller. Security issues are the essence of the Puppy Linux attraction for a certain class of Windows user, including me. Right now, for general cross-platform support and best security add-ons, the browser must be Firefox. Next year, maybe something else. For secure use, I believe Puppy needs reliability improvements to the multisession DVD write code. I also believe Puppy should support the ability to remove and replace a boot flash just as we now can remove and replace a boot DVD. Terry ritter@ciphersbyritter.comn

stripped zdrv?
Username: cli_user
"Drivers, especially wireless, because you absolutely need to connect. However, I remember some discussion about RedHat(?) eliminating all the unused modules after a successful install and first boot. If we could make a stripped zdrv, the initial size would be irrelevant.

Tags: woof