Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Tribblix image structural changes

The Tribblix live ISO and related images are put together every so slightly differently in the latest m34 release.

All along, there's been an overlay (think a group package) called base-iso that lists the packages that are present in the live image. On installation, this is augmented with a few extra packages that you would expect to be present in a running system but which don't make much sense in a live image, to construct the base system.

You can add additional software, but the base is assumed to be present.

The snag with this is that base-iso is very much a single-purpose generic concept. By its very nature it has to be minimal enough to not be overly bloated, yet contain as many drivers as necessary to handle the majority of systems.

As such, the regular ISO image has fallen between 2 stools - it doesn't have every single driver, so some systems won't work, while it has a lot of unnecessary drivers for a lot of common use cases.

So what I've done is split base-iso into 2 layers. There's a new core-tribblix overlay, which is the common packages, and then base-iso adds all the extra drivers. By and large, the regular live image for m34 isn't really any different to what was present before.

But the concepts of "what packages do I need for applications to work" and "what packages do I want to load on a given downloadable ISO" have now been split.

What this allows is to easily create other images with different rules. As of m34, for example, the "minimal" image is actually created from a new base-server overlay, which again sits atop core-tribblix and differs from base-iso in that it has all the FC drivers. If you're installing on a fibre-channel connected system then using the minimal image will work better (and if you're SAN-booted, it will work where the regular ISO won't).

The next use case is that images for cloud or virtual systems simply don't need most of the drivers. This cuts out a lot of packages (although it doesn't actually save that much space).

The standard Tribblix base system now depends on core-tribblix, not base-iso or any of the specific image layers. This is as it should be - userland and applications really shouldn't care what drivers are present.

One side-effect of this change is that it makes minimising zones easier, because what gets installed in a zone can be based on that stripped-down core-tribblix overlay.

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