RSI: Let’s do a quick install

by debianjoe



Not the same as Yesterday’s Shot.

For all of my love for killx, I’ve often found myself wishing for a way to work on some of the things (bash scripts, little binaries, etc) that I use for it, but being able to test them as I would on killx.  Today, I decided to try to use a quick way to have a similar environment, but without having to go back and rebuild all of the libs that I use.

I had mentioned LinuxBBQ-rsi in a previous post, and already had a USB drive that had been dd’ed with the image on it.  I took a few minutes to use cfdisk to cut out a new 11GB partition, and decided to install rsi on it as a test bed.

The main step of actual importance was to push the dotfiles and little projects from killx to a repo via git.  Everything else was extremely easy.  “sudo bbqinstaller” script works fantastically.  After reboot, I pulled in some build tools and pulled the git repos onto the new system.  Debian will almost spoil you with how easy to bring in new packages is.  From the time that I made the decision to start to the time that I booted in as the new user was under an hour, easily.

All of that being said, I realized from a question that was asked today that a great many people have very little concept of just how dependencies can be masked by a package manager.  The issue isn’t that the package manager doesn’t tell you what it’s doing, but rather that many folks seem to not pay attention, which creates a false sense of simplicity.  This particular user says “I don’t see why I should download 4 different packages when this other 1 does them all.”  Rather than debate the issue (because I generally don’t feel like arguing with people over things that really don’t concern me), I simply went to check how many dependencies this “1 package” had that would be pulled in by the package manager.  With a simple “install this one package” the user was actually pulling in 25 separate packages.  Sure, it was a simple “apt-get” away, but the final result was much more involved than the 4 packages that were being suggested would have been.

While I think that package managers are a fantastic tool, they come at a cost.  The cost is that it’s harder to know and understand the pieces that are being put into place to make every little program work in a modular system.  There is a self-inflicted ignorance that’s being adopted into a world where one of the strong points is that very little is actually hidden from view.  I’m not a huge fan of this idea, and as someone who’s worked with IDE’s and simple editors…I don’t think that not knowing how something is being done will ever lead to better final results.

With that being said, there are still things that happen that are simply above my ability to fully understand yet.  My quest involves trying to better understand how what I already have installed works down to the smallest detail.  I guess for others, this isn’t quite as important.  Each of us will have to find our own paths and our own destinations, but allow me to make the request that each user at least attempt to understand the basics of how your system works.

Plus, while installing RSI, if you actually look at the comments in the bbqinstaller script, it tells you the easiest way to set up a new user in a commented line, which answers a great many questions that I’ve heard regarding the subject.