We’ve got news!
We decided to compress our LiveCD Calculate Linux in the zstd format intead of the actually used xz. Zstd archives are larger, but the system boots ways faster with it. The system installs in no time and applications start in a flash. If you are building a customized version of Calculate, repacking of the modified packages will run faster too. The zstd archiver is also less RAM-consuming. Our new record, an updated CLDX installed in 1 min 21 sec on a NVMe PC with the i3 processor, while it took 4 min before. It booted then in 28 sec, against 35 sec earlier on the same computer.
To make CDS and CSS smaller in order to make room for the applications archived with zstd, we removed sys-kernel/linux-firmware from the list of our out-of-box software. This (rather large) package provides mostly firmware for Wi-Fi and graphics cards. Since server CL releases do not support wireless Internet anyway, it does not make sense. With smaller initramfs and smaller system in general, CSS boots in 14 sec without zstd and in 9.5 sec with zstd. Please feel free to test our new Live CDS and CSS releases on your workstation.
Thanks to the new optimized initramfs, along with less memory resources required, we even managed to start Calculate Scratch Server on a 128M RAM computer. This means that it can be used on cheapest VPS/VDS entry-level servers. If now Calculate Utilities could handle installation of a mounted data partition without loading the system image into memory, our goal would be achieved, and we feel very excited about it. Much less RAM would then be needed to install CL on servers, whatever the hosting: 128 M instead of 1G, i.e. eight times less than before! Read more on Calculate Wiki.
In fact, you can test this new release right now, starting with 20181101 ‘nightly’ releases.