What is the official way of minimizing the OS?

I would like to run Jetson Orin Nano with minimum footprint OS. I don’t need the desktop (headless), just a 3rd party USB3 camera driver and Ethernet. I couldn’t find a direct answer in documentation, just this post: Make NVIDIA Jetson Nano Developer Kit Headless :: Lunar Computer.

Are there OS images available with a smaller footprint than the standard JetPack with Ubuntu desktop? What is the official (supported) way to reduce OS footprint? Are there any real-time OS options?

I can’t give you a good answer, but so far as real-time goes, the hardware is not designed for hard real-time. There is a company (NVIDIA development partner) that makes Redhawk real-time:
https://developer.nvidia.com/embedded/ecosystem?query=redhawk&page=1

It should be next week, but you will be interested in the next major release of JetPack/SDK Manager (which is the GUI front end to flash software). I have not seen it myself, but it is going to make Ubuntu 22.04 available, and apparently has features designed for putting other o/s flavors on the system. This might include being able to pick and choose components such that you can more easily make a minimal system or something based on some other distribution of Linux.

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Debian based distros use bootstrapping. This is a process where a bootstrap process gets a whole apt repository, scans it for all packages marked as “essential” and installs them into a root folder. This gets you the minimal posible root filesystem from where you can add non-essential software.

See:
https://wiki.debian.org/Debootstrap
https://wiki.debian.org/DebianBootstrap

I had this on my todo list at work, but for the Orin Generation I’ll need an extra SSD anyway, and 256GB SSDs are cheap. So I moved that task down my list.

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