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Precise going down

July 09, 2013 — BarryK
I am having fun!

I am working on making Precise Puppy smaller and less resource-hungry.

First step, I have elminated 'llvm' and 'icu', and the live-CD .iso file has dropped from 172MB to 159MB. Fantastic!

I have a long list of things to look at, to keep reducing the size.

The recent SeaMonkeys are extremely resource-hungry, making them unusable on old RAM-constrained PCs.
So, what I am planning is to build Precise with the old SeaMonkey 1.1.18. It is extremely small and has the bonus of mail&news, Composer HTML editor and address-book, so those items are taken care of.
Then for those who want a later browser, I propose a kind of "quickpet" thing (like is already available as a PET -- um, forget right now who created that), to offer to upgrade the browser. So you keep all the other goodies, but upgrade the browser to something better.

There is another advantage of the old SeaMonkey: we can bring back 'gtkmoz', the tiny HTML viewer. Puppy old-timers will remember this.
It is a great little Mozilla-based browser/viewer, and can replace HelpSurfer as the internal HTML viewer. It also does a decent job of web browsing.

To give an idea of the size saving: SM 2.17.1 PET is 25MB, SM 1.1.18 PET is 9MB, which will reduce the live-CD .iso size by a whopping 16MB.

Also I will build Precise with a heap of SM 1.1.18 addons, as they don't take much space:

fullerscreen (for presentations)
zombiekeys (enter special characters)

This is a fantastic collection of addons.
Those on analog dialup will out-of-the-box be able to block advertising downloads. For sites that say the browser is "too old" (youtube), or say they want Internet Explorer, there is user-agent-switcher.
And of course the great video downloader.

Adding up the sizes of those addon PETs: 426KB.

I am tempted to also include another small browser, such as Opera, so that users will have a more modern browser out-of-the-box.
My Opera PET is 14MB. Doing that though, would take away most of the size reduction: 19M -0.5M -14M => 1.5M reduction.

But, I think Opera does have a reputation of running nicely on older hardware.


Naked Precise Puppy
Username: Rex101
I love your puppys. Have been following your blog and development since Chubby Puppy 1.06 in 2005. Just a thought. Your Precise Puppy is fully loaded and <200 MB as an iso. You are always concerned about size. What about also doing a Naked Puppy version which doesn't have SeaMonkey/Abiword/Gnummeric but a minimalist browser and QuickPet/QuickSFS loader. Add an app to integrate an SFS into the Puppy.SFS so it is not loaded as a layer. Have a QuickSFS which downloads SFS files. This would be an XML with sfs name/Description/URL SeaMonkey Browser/Email/AddressBook/etc Opera Browser FireFox Browser Abiword+Gemeric LibreOffice Gimp GoogleEarth GnuCash Sound Studio (my generic name for such apps) Video Studio (my generic name for such apps) etc The Naked Puppy could be expanded to the needs of the individual. It is the base without browser, word processor, spreadsheet. ( I always add and use and OpenOffice/LibreOffice sfs and Firefox pet on every Puppy + pwidgets + wbar ) The Precise Puppy would be a fully functional iso without the need to download anything additional. It would be bigger but completed. This is just a suggestion. I do not know if removing SeaMonkey/Abiword/Gnumeric would break things because part of the tree trunk that builds puppy and not removable branches. Precise Puppy 5.6.0, 5.6.1, Raring Alpha2 all work great on my Toshiba Satellite A205-S5805. I always do a frugal install. This time I copied the 5.6.0 save file to the directory of the new puppy after the minimal savefile was created and renamed it. When the new puppy started it upgraded the savefile. It worked great and saved me hours of personalizing the new puppy. Thank you and your great team for providing such a fantastic computing environment. -Bruce.

Username: Dewbie
"Here's another browser to test: Haven't tried it yet, as it doesn't support Wary. But it is built for Precise...

Precisely Wary
Username: darry1966
"Hi Barry, How about using QTWeb Browser as far as I know it is open source and so small if you blinked you'd miss it. Maybe it could be adopted as an official Puppy Linux Browser if you can get it to work with flash. Best of luck with the new Wary/Racey Distro.

bark bark bark
Username: darry1966
"Just a little fun comparison on my 4 series system Latest Seamonkey: 114meg ram usage QTWeb 48Meg Opera 38Meg QTWeb not much more than Opera.

ISO size versus Internet reliability
Username: GCMartin
"Hi Barry, I whole-heartedly agree with your steps to [u]remove unnecessary items from the mix which makes up PUPs[/u]. This type of house-keeping is a constant chore, but, is necessary. The ISO size is very important to some, I know, BUT, the most important factor in an existing system’s behavior is NOT its ISO’s size but the execution path-length. The ISO size is ONLY important in downloading it from the Internet. Once downloaded, users will install it to their CD/DVD/USB/SDD/HDD/etc which will allow the system to be booted and run. What you have provided us over the years is a very thoughtful, and a useful platform of products to make our daily lives easier. This is so very-very wonderful in the system;s performance, the subsystem that come OOTB, and its ability to run on systems with RAM size ranges from 256MB to 64GB. This is an ENORMOUS testament to your skills and your foresight. And its enormous to us, your user base. I applaud you (again) for everything from SeaMonkey to GParted on your Linux platform with ALL of the other useful things built within! [b]THANKS[/b]

SeaMonkey in PUPs
Username: GCMartin
"SeaMonkey in PUPs, since its inception in the days when it was called Mozilla (known tor us “Old Timers”), incorporates a plethora of useful desktop features that are integrated. This continues to be ab very very good implementation as it consolidates so much reducing the need for r development to individually address. I continue to find ti odd that there seems to be so many weapons that are used to damn what continues to be a very super implementation that is keeping up with the changing times. There is nothing wrong with the way Puppy has mature to include SeaMonkey. This maturity not only ships with existing integration, but, Puppy also ships with a great PPM offering alternatives for those who would want to add to the existing OOTB experience. The current maturity addresses the needs of BOTH the new/inexperience users and the experienced users. And, it ALSO has the added benefit of reducing the drain on development-support when something goes wrong in browser use. Its been around forever in Puppyland and it is well understood as so many of this community has grown comfortable navigating with its consistent OOTB experience. This topic has continued to meet challenges over the years, unnecessarily. Now, we are throwing rocks at its size, as if it has grown that while not bringing useful benefit. For what it does, it is undeserving of the targeting it gets. If the choice is to remove SeaMonkey, lets do so with the understanding that is is being removed in favor of a better way. Let’s not throw it out because of its size; which gives the allusion that here is something really wrong with SeaMonkey. The impression that seem to be given is that there is NO useful functionality the size it has. when in fact, we know the contrary. Hope this is met with consideration for the benefit we get and not prejudiced in favor of a personal favorite or need. Here to help

biggest files
Username: linuxcbon
"Here are the biggest files in precise 5.6 [code]# find / -size +5M /root/.mozilla/seamonkey/3o1ptd5r.default/places.sqlite /root/.packages/Packages-ubuntu-precise-universe /usr/lib/i686/cmov/ /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/ /usr/lib/seamonkey-2.17.1/ /usr/lib/seamonkey-2.17.1/omni.ja[/code] So if there is a ways to reduce this, it's all good. I see seamonkey, PPM, codecs, LLVM, abiword, ICUdata, samba client, flash player. (libavcodec is twice ?)

small audio player
Username: darry1966
"Hi Barry, By chance if you need a small audio player for Precise Puppy. Audacious Classic which is compiled from Debian Etch which runs on old and new Pups and is available from Tuxtoo's it is very small and runs in very little ram. Could save some space in the iso.

Try ING 4 testing
Username: cthisbear
" " Old seamonkeys have the problem that they dont display some "recent" websites properly. " Please tru ING Direct site with this Barry. [u][/u] Don't get me wrong. Internet banking in old Puppy series 4.31 much faster than many later ones. But ING won't play now.

Companion thread...
Username: Dewbie
" posted in forum:

Can a better utility address a wider user base
Username: GCMartin
"Netscape and Mozilla were complete desktop applications suites designed to be a robust experience for any user. SeaMonkey continues the Mozilla traditions by keeping all the components intact versus splitting them out. As such, the [b]complete package[/b] addresses the wide ranging needs and uses that any user would want in their desktop matter their background (ie. web developer, email user, browsing, etc.). I assumed that when BarryK started its use many years ago, he, too, saw the benefit of the well conceived packaging and the wide variety of users who would have benefit. There really is something in it for just about everyone. Since Puppy intends to be a simple "easy to use" system where one can use it right out of the box (OOTB), the combined browser-email experience in an easy to use desktop is so very important to the user experience. The user experience should NOT be one of initial installation for a distro packaging to become universally useful. Up to today's mainline PUPs, the distro packaging for most mainline PUPs does attempt to be designed for a robust user experience. And, some/most PUPs come with tools to allow users to discard things they don't want. This is what has [u]traditionally[/u] made PUPs so attractive: Easy to fully use and understand right OOTB. Discarding and improving discarding utilities may be much more useful to the user experience than making a restrictive mainline distribution. Lastly, understanding the sizes that all of us encounter on the web, not just with PUPs, but with all web offerings, I have NOT seen anyone complaining about download ISO sizes. Most of us are concerned about OOTB performance, stability, ease of navigational use and simple understanding of the packaging. ... not ISO sizes. We would follow BarryK's creation, no matter what size produced...not because of the size...but because of useful robust functionality. Its not the size we really care about. But, your housekeeping we understand. That addresses a simplistic base of services used by all internal subsystems and applications. So maybe a better and more obvious method of discarding could benefit the needs of a wider audience. FYI. Just another idea for consideration.

Re smaller size
Username: BarryK
"I should add that my main reason for wanting to reduce the size of Precise is because I want to move the Squashfs .sfs file from xz compressed to gzip compressed. This is because gzip'ed .sfs will give noticeably faster app startup times on old PCs. The downside is that gzip is not as small as xz compressed files. If we had a 170MB live-CD with xz'ed .sfs, it would climb to over 200MB if gzip'ed. That is then starting to look like a "big" distro to me. I am intending to cut Precise down, so when I build it with gzip'ed .sfs, it will come back up, to hopefully a bit under 170MB.

browsers and other apps
Username: vicmz
"Opera is really really useful, but seen with contempt by free software fundamentalists. SeaMonkey is a nice, robust browser, I'd just remove the email client and set a better client instead. Ayttm is archaic, a version of Pidgin compiled by Makoto would be much better. Abiword is fine but an available through the PPM would be nice. Of course these are just my thoughts, I would not dare telling you how to do your job at all. I can understand why you prefer some things over others, and Puppy has not stopped being my OS just because the defaults aren't my favourites.

We believe in what you do for us
Username: GCMartin
"Thanks for outlining your mission as you go forward. Just a note (I know, I'm repeating): Most if not all of us will follow your presentation to us because of the booted system performance...not because of its download size. You have created the best system for exploiting RAM for user benefit on the planet. And its robustness is fabulous for new as well as existing users no matter what PCs that boot it on. Its just a fabulous creation when booted! And unparalleled.

SlimBoat browser
Username: Dewbie
"[i]Haven't tried it yet, as it doesn't support Wary.[/i] Well...looks like I was wrong about that:

Tags: puppy