In the past years I used debootstrap to install my desktop Debian (daily usage) and I'm planning to use it once again, but until now I just used debootstrap default options, this time instead I'd like to install a minimal system.

I did some search but so far found nothing I didn't already knew, most articles say bare minimal but then they just use default options too, instead I'd like to know if there are exclude options to trim it down and still get a working system.

I plan to look into debootstrap but thought to ask here before, maybe somebody already did or know about and may save me some time.


A minimal Debian is composed by the packages with priority required and important

dpkg-query -f '${binary:Package} ${Priority}\n' -W \
   | grep -w 'required\|important'

The minbase option still install some extra, optional, standard, but very few, eventually some of those and some important could be removed (or not installed at all, I think --exclude should work but haven't checked)

The shell deboostrap's sub-script for sid is /usr/share/debootstrap/scripts/sid, easy to (backup and) customize.

After the installation a lot of disk space is taken from downloaded .deb, apt-get clean, apt-get autoclean should free some.

Some space is taken from locales, docs, man pages, dpkg-reconfigure locales and the package localepurge should help.


I use the option --variant=minbase which seems to be fairly minimal (about 150MB). No text editor, but essential GNU tools, package manager, and networking functionnalities with iproute2.

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