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[alpine-devel] RFC: Introducing tools-base meta package

From: Przemysław Pawełczyk <>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2018 10:19:32 +0100

Hi, Alpiners!

What would you say about introducing new meta packages:

- tools-base - depending on busybox for now,
- tools-base-initscripts - depending on busybox-initscripts for now?

After introducing they could replace busybox and busybox-initscripts as
dependencies of alpine-base.

(Maybe provides="/bin/sh" should be moved from busybox to tools-base
then, not sure yet.)

It will greatly ease possible future changes like replacing busybox or
parts of it, even if such changes won't be happening soon, i.e. before
releasing Alpine Linux 3.8.

Mind that this RFC is not about replacing busybox, but about introducing
changes that would make such endeavour more pain-free if ever happening.
But let me very briefly go into that territory too.
Why replace busybox?
To have better implementation of widely used tools, of course.
Any candidates?
2 examples come to my mind right now.
- toybox
It "combines common Linux command line utilities together into a single
BSD-licensed executable that's simple, small, fast, reasonably
It's not as complete as busybox, so no drop-in replacement yet,
but it has many toys already available:
Replacing busybox partially would require reorganizing its package,
and most likely switching from trigger-based symlinks to explicit ones
provided by some subpackages.
- mawk
It's "an interpreter for the AWK Programming Language".
It will possibly allow to make some packages depend on it instead of
I believe A. Wilcox can share details why it's better than busybox's
awk, after dealing with it in Adelie Linux.
Received on Mon Feb 12 2018 - 10:19:32 UTC