klibc only initramfs

Wouter Verhelst wouter at debian.org
Sun Feb 28 11:05:03 UTC 2010

On Sat, Feb 20, 2010 at 01:21:15PM -0800, Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 20, 2010 at 12:02:24PM +0100, Goswin von Brederlow wrote:
> > The reason would be size. I don't see anything else there.
> > For network based boots, specifically high performance cluster, the size
> > can make a real difference. When you turn the cluster on it is not just
> > one system downloading an extra meg but 100+ nodes. That largely
> > increases the network collisions, errors and dropped packages. Something
> > that can even make systems fail to boot.
> Has anyone tried using library reduction to get a stripped down eglibc for
> inclusion in initramfs at runtime, using the same techniques as d-i to get a
> library that contains only those symbols needed by the included utilities?

Don't know, but I'm not sure that's a very good idea. The library
reduction as implemented by mklibs is a bit of a kludge IMO, which seems
to fail every so often for one of our architectures, because that
architecture's ABI uses some obscure ELF feature or other that the
mklibs authors didn't know about, or mklibs missed a symbol dependency,
or something else.

This is not really a big deal in the case of d-i, since first, when
things fail, they fail for everyone who uses the same image, and second,
if the installer fails, you just can't install using the broken image,
but you can still use the system that's already installed (if any), or
fall back to a different install image. Both are not true for initramfs

The biometric identification system at the gates of the CIA headquarters
works because there's a guard with a large gun making sure no one is
trying to fool the system.

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