[conspire] fyi: Understanding the bin, sbin, usr/bin , usr/sbin split

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Feb 2 13:10:21 PST 2012

Quoting =JeffH (Jeff.Hodges at KingsMountain.com):

> some of you folks probably already saw this, and many probably have
> been around long enough to experience how increasing capacity of all
> forms (cpu cycles, RAM, disk, bus bandwidth, etc) have outstripped
> early assumptions and workarounds, but I found it interesting
> (hadn't heard this particular story before, but have used RK05
> disks) and will post here just in case others find it worthwhile.

I saw and skim-read the latest bullshit to emerge from freedesktop.org,

I know Rob Landley, and he's mistaken this time.  (I blame his falling
in with the wrong crowd, perhaps.)  

The ability to boot a minimal standalone system without successfully
mounting /usr and ability to do repair, maintenance, backup, and restore
from a small filesystem furnishing /bin, /sbin, and /lib is _not_ an
artifact of small hard drives.  It was routine caution against likely
failure modes involving the contents of /usr, providing a method to
recover from them.

What I figure is driving this current campaign is that someone pointed
out to the freedesktop.org people a few years ago that their software is
broken in various ways on systems with separate /usr filesystems, i.e.,
that use of the small aforementioned core system no longer functions on 
freedesktop.org / GNOME systems because of hapless and careless
dependencies on /usr they had introduced.  So, since then, rather than
fix their bugs, they've decided that the world needs to be adjusted to 
run their software, and they've decided that system administrator
tradition must be wrong and start making up reasons why that must be so.

Yes, I suppose you can, on Linux (but perhaps not on some other Unixes) 
craft an initramfs image containing everything required for a minimal
boot system capable of doing repair, maintenance, backup, and restore
operations.  Or you can do the equivalent with a disk image you PXEboot.
If at some point I am no longer able with minimal effort to keep
functional repair, maintenance, backup, and restore facilities in /bin,
/sbin, and /lib, I might have to resort to that.  However, I'll be a bit
cranky about having to rebuild an initramfs file every time I want to
update flippin' /bin/mount, and will not be thinking warm thoughts about
those idiots at freedesktop.org, as I do it.

More information about the conspire mailing list