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#1 2024-05-15 19:56:13

Retr0r0cket
Member
From: Sol III
Registered: 2021-11-24
Posts: 27

Install Image Growing Size

When going to reinstall arch, I downloaded the newest ISO as per normal. It turns out it's now a 1.1 GB ISO file which is too large for my USB drive (1.06 GB). While I understand that my USB drive is rather small capacity wise, it does highlight the fact that over the past 2-3 years the installer ISO size has gotten around 30% larger. Might be worth trying to slim it down (I'd be willing to help)

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#2 2024-05-16 13:27:19

Awebb
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Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 6,432

Re: Install Image Growing Size

1. https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Archiso
2. Use pacstrap/arch-chroot from an existing Arch to install Arch to the USB stick and only install what you really need. Don't forget extra/arch-install-scripts, it contains the installer utilities.

Also search the board for "iso size" and only search topics. You'll find plenty, albeit old, threads.

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#3 2024-05-16 16:54:01

Retr0r0cket
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From: Sol III
Registered: 2021-11-24
Posts: 27

Re: Install Image Growing Size

I know how to create a custom Archiso, but it's my opinion that if arch's entire philosophy is KISS, then that means the installer probably shouldn't be growing in size/scope. By that point may as well just add ZFS support

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#4 2024-05-17 05:12:49

Awebb
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Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 6,432

Re: Install Image Growing Size

KISS... What exactly is the right size for the ISO and why? Anything beyond "my stick is too small"? I understood the problem when CD-Rs were still a thing and the image grew over 700 MB, but I just had to search for a way to buy a USB stick smaller than 2 GB.

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#5 2024-05-20 16:40:37

Retr0r0cket
Member
From: Sol III
Registered: 2021-11-24
Posts: 27

Re: Install Image Growing Size

Awebb wrote:

just had to search for a way to buy a USB stick smaller than 2 GB.

Amazon. Also schools/workplaces with too many try to get rid of them. They're cheap and given Arch's minimalist philosophy shouldn't be an issue imo.

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#6 2024-05-21 05:28:31

nl6720
The Evil Wiki Admin
Registered: 2016-07-02
Posts: 635

Re: Install Image Growing Size

Just for reference, all past ISO sizes are listed in https://archlinux.org/releng/releases/.
There was once a concern that the ISO is approaching a size where it will not fit a CD anymore. That was solved by changing any "CD" references to "DVD". tongue
As for USB flash drives, I don't think you can find any new ones that are smaller than 8 GB (~7.45 GiB).

Except for a few specific things (IIRC, kernel module and firmware file compression change a few years back), most of the size increase is because of general bloat accumulation. E.g. the kernel and its modules get bigger each release.
The sudden size increase in archlinux-2024.05.01-x86_64.iso is because the ISO's UEFI boot loader was changed from GRUB back to systemd-boot (systemd-boot was used until archlinux-2022.07.01-x86_64.iso). Since systemd-boot can only boot files from the EFI system partition it was launched from, the kernel and initramfs needs to be duplicated, hence the ISO size increase.

Edit:
KISS does not mean minimalism. smile

Last edited by nl6720 (2024-05-21 05:31:35)

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#7 2024-05-21 07:37:16

Awebb
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Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 6,432

Re: Install Image Growing Size

You have conveniently picked the low hanging fruit. I cannot find USB drives below 2 GB on Amazon where I live, but even if that's not the point, please answer the actual question:

What is the right size for an Arch ISO and why exactly?

Only if you come prepared, anyone will bother with your request.

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#8 2024-05-22 06:03:53

Retr0r0cket
Member
From: Sol III
Registered: 2021-11-24
Posts: 27

Re: Install Image Growing Size

Awebb wrote:

What is the right size for an Arch ISO and why exactly?

1 GB due to it being easily loadable on USBs booting multiple ISOs (think ventoy) regardless of size, 1 GB being a relatively easy number to work with, and minimum space requirements for the installer being over another any other common size (which would be 512 MB but that's plain unreasonable for an installation, let alone an installer). General rule of thumb is that an installer should be relatively close to minimum install size plus enough tools for modern hardware or needed for an effective installation (examples being the NVME cli, IWD, etc).

Awebb wrote:

Only if you come prepared, anyone will bother with your request.

Also I'm going to be honest that probably comes off a lot worse than you wanted it to (not wanting anything done about it, just thought you should know). I'm not even at the request stage, just trying to argue a point and if I have enough people think "hey that seems like a good idea" then I'm actually going to request it. For now I'm just using last month's installer.

Awebb wrote:

You have conveniently picked the low hanging fruit.

Fruit is fruit.

Last edited by Retr0r0cket (2024-05-22 06:22:11)

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#9 2024-05-22 06:11:30

Retr0r0cket
Member
From: Sol III
Registered: 2021-11-24
Posts: 27

Re: Install Image Growing Size

nl6720 wrote:

KISS does not mean minimalism. smile

Thanks for the reminder. It's funny how you can use an OS and then forget part of how it's designed.

nl6720 wrote:

The sudden size increase in archlinux-2024.05.01-x86_64.iso is because the ISO's UEFI boot loader was changed from GRUB back to systemd-boot (systemd-boot was used until archlinux-2022.07.01-x86_64.iso). Since systemd-boot can only boot files from the EFI system partition it was launched from, the kernel and initramfs needs to be duplicated, hence the ISO size increase.

Also that makes complete sense so thanks for the explanation. My only guess would be to just use symbolic links, but I assume you would know more about that than I would.

nl6720 wrote:

As for USB flash drives, I don't think you can find any new ones that are smaller than 8 GB (~7.45 GiB).

I thought the same before I found that a surprising amount of them exist.

Last edited by Retr0r0cket (2024-05-22 06:20:33)

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#10 2024-05-22 14:47:48

V1del
Forum Moderator
Registered: 2012-10-16
Posts: 22,387

Re: Install Image Growing Size

Symbolic links only work if the file system supports them (FAT doesn't and is the requirement for an UEFI boot) or the filesystem you're symbolic linking to can actually be read (which it can't as systemd-boot can't read arbitrary other partitions, like the ISO filesystem the actual image lies on)

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#11 2024-05-22 15:23:37

Trilby
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Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 29,903
Website

Re: Install Image Growing Size

While I don't have issue with the isos getting bigger, I'd argue it should be actively minimized.  The reasoning that new flash drives are all bigger is not sound.  New flash drives are larger for the same reason that new processors are faster: there is an arms race between more and more capable hardware that is able to run the more and more bloated and poorly written software.  Saying small flash drives are hard to find so we need not value efficiency of space in the monthly iso is like saying most people have fancy processors now so there's no point in trying to write efficient software.

Each generation of apathy breeds the next generation of bloat and vice versa.  We should avoid feeding that cycle.

Last edited by Trilby (2024-05-22 15:23:54)


"UNIX is simple and coherent" - Dennis Ritchie; "GNU's Not Unix" - Richard Stallman

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#12 2024-05-22 16:09:19

nl6720
The Evil Wiki Admin
Registered: 2016-07-02
Posts: 635

Re: Install Image Growing Size

I would guess that the size of USB flash drives is more related to the manufacturing process and the economic infeasibility of producing smaller flash chips.

I wanted to write that there's not much we can do to reduce the ISO size, but it would be more correct to say that there's not much I'm willing to do to reduce its size. big_smile
There's no chance of using GRUB for UEFI boot again (making that mistake once was enough). That choice resulted in +140 MiB for archlinux-2024.05.01-x86_64.iso.
Using NoExtract in /etc/pacman.conf like archlinux-docker does doesn't feel right to me since Arch is bloated (read: featureful) by design.

archlinux-2024.06.01-x86_64.iso, which will be built with archiso 78, will have a slight size increase (+7 MiB - 800 KiB) due to archiso changes. On the positive side, thanks to https://gitlab.archlinux.org/archlinux/ … 6fe6834b2d and https://gitlab.archlinux.org/archlinux/ … cbfe62c837, the ISO will have less packages.

Last edited by nl6720 (2024-05-22 16:19:36)

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#13 2024-05-22 18:04:28

jeudi
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From: At the bar
Registered: 2024-05-22
Posts: 7

Re: Install Image Growing Size

Trilby wrote:

While I don't have issue with the isos getting bigger, I'd argue it should be actively minimized.  The reasoning that new flash drives are all bigger is not sound.  New flash drives are larger for the same reason that new processors are faster: there is an arms race between more and more capable hardware that is able to run the more and more bloated and poorly written software.  Saying small flash drives are hard to find so we need not value efficiency of space in the monthly iso is like saying most people have fancy processors now so there's no point in trying to write efficient software.

Each generation of apathy breeds the next generation of bloat and vice versa.  We should avoid feeding that cycle.

I agree.


w00t w00t

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#14 2024-05-23 09:32:20

Awebb
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Registered: 2010-05-06
Posts: 6,432

Re: Install Image Growing Size

Trilby wrote:

Each generation of apathy breeds the next generation of bloat and vice versa.  We should avoid feeding that cycle.

I agree in principle. I'm not saying it should not be done. The size of OP's flash drive was the only given reason and even after asking for something more profound, the availability of small flash drives was still on the table (plus some KISS esotericism). Mirror traffic statistics, perhaps, anything technical that is more than a magic number. Anything that'll bring an engineer into an "I want this" state of mind.

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#15 2024-05-23 12:33:36

Trilby
Inspector Parrot
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 29,903
Website

Re: Install Image Growing Size

I also agree, both in principle and in practice.  Arguing for an exclusion of a particular flavor of 'evidence' doesn't mean I disagree with the verdict that would be supported by it: rather only the verdict would require other support which I believe it already has.


"UNIX is simple and coherent" - Dennis Ritchie; "GNU's Not Unix" - Richard Stallman

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#16 2024-05-24 00:49:59

Retr0r0cket
Member
From: Sol III
Registered: 2021-11-24
Posts: 27

Re: Install Image Growing Size

Awebb wrote:

The size of OP's flash drive was the only given reason and even after asking for something more profound, the availability of small flash drives was still on the table (plus some KISS esotericism)

It's the reason I discovered the size of the ISO has grown, not the only reason I'm against it growing. I can use an older image just fine without coming onto the forums, but then you have the fact that we shouldn't be wasteful with storage/resources. Bloat without benefit is just wasteful and just feeds more bloat.

I also would appreciate if you didn't distort/twist what I'm trying to say. I'm bringing up something I see as problematic and while you're more than free to argue against its necessity, this feels ad homeneim instead of constructive. I honestly care about the small size for a ventoy drive where I might have multiple ISOs more than for a tiny USB. You asked for something more profound and I gave you that. Not to mention that it's unfair to have a debate with moving goalposts.

Last edited by Retr0r0cket (2024-05-24 01:30:13)

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