lesslinux.org Development Blog

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Archiv für 'Packages and Architecture'

That was fast! Stable build based on kernel 3.13.2 available

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Right at this moment I am uploading the first stable build based on Kernel 3.13.2. I am very happy that everything compiled nice with the 3.13.2 kernel headers. Besides this the changes to the 3.12 series builds are quite small:

  • Firefox got updated to 27.0
  • Thunderbird got updated to 24.3.0
  • QPhotoRec is now present with a menu entry
  • Added vshadowinfo/vshadowmount – a nice small tool to access V-Shadow Snapshots on NTFS drives
  • Fix to Adwaita theme’s look on applications run with root privileges

If you installed LessLinux Search and Rescue to a thumb drive you probably noticed an empty “partition 7″ that seemed to be without use. This partition is intended for updates. When updating a binary delta file will be downloaded. Then the content of “partition 8″ together with the binary delta will be streamed through Xdelta and saved on “partition 7″. After this, boot information will be rewritten and you are prompted to reboot. On the next update the same will be done the other way round. This build will be the first stable build fully supporting this update mechanism. This means: You have to prepare your thumbdrive once and will be prompted to update if one is available. Since the update will be streamed to the other partition, you do not have to restart programs during update, just continue to work.

And what’s next

These are some features to expect from the near future, see it primarily as a todo list for me:

  • Add a usable IceWM configuration for more conservative users
  • Further clean up nonfree packages
  • Build a “full” ISO for self containing builds
  • Update the documentation on building
  • Move to Xorg server 1.15, Mesa 10, GStreamer 1.2 and GNU make 4.0
  • Move to glibc 2.19
  • Add a BOOTIA32.EFI to boot on bay trail tablets
  • Continue to work on building full 64 bit systems
  • Continue to work on support for RaspberryPi

Download it here: lesslinux-search-and-rescue-uluru-20140209-200536.iso

Fresh stable build based on kernel 3.12.9 available

Friday, February 7th, 2014

I just uploaded a build from three days ago. This features all the previously mentioned changes regarding moving to Gtk+ 3. The “weight penalty” by using both Gtk+ versions should be around 20MB. That’s reasonable for having a working upgrade path.

Other changes include:

  • Many fixes to VLC 2.1.2 – you want to check if the videos rescued from a failed drive are still OK
  • Added Audacious – I like to listen to MP3s when doing long annoying jobs
  • Added some casual games – customers asked me to do so
  • Added wimlib – allows creation and access of WIM files
  • Added qemu – not primarily for virtualization, but for creation of and access to image files like VDI and VMDK
  • Added multipath tools – mainly for kpartx, for convenient access of partitions in hard disk images
  • Added cabextract – to extract Windows drivers from cabinet files

Combine the last four tools in some scripts (mix in the registry editing capabilities of ntpasswd) and you get cool options for either deployment of Windows images or using LessLinux as a semi automated tool for converting Windows installations running on real hardware to virtual machine images.

However this build is just a stopgap. The update to kernel 3.13.2 seems so smooth that I think the next week will provide a first testing image based on 3.13.2.

Download here: download.lesslinux.org/releases/lesslinux-search-and-rescue/lesslinux-search-and-rescue-uluru-20140204-161107.iso

Fresh development build with kernel 3.12.6 available

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

I just uploaded a fresh development build that uses kernel 3.12. The biggest change however ist the move to Gtk3 for some applications.

The new desktop with some Gtk3 applications


Major changes ahead: Moving to Gtk3

Friday, November 29th, 2013

You probably noticed that LessLinux uses Gtk2 only. Even applications like Abiword, Gnumeric and some of the Gnome tools are older versions – some three years old, partially taken from Gnome 2.32. The background of this decision was to provide a persistent look and feel as well as to keep the size smaller.

This is not suitable anymore.

I had to decide between moving to the Mate libs or to Gtk 3. Mate is a fork of the last stable Gnome. This move would probably have given me some updated utilities and libraries but it would not have an provided newer applications like Brasero, Abiword or Gnumeric. So I decided to move to Gtk3. I already moved the easier to move applications like Zenity, Brasero, Abiword, Gnumeric and Evince. Wireshark and the likes will follow soon. Then I will provide images for testing. Afterwards, I will move Ruby-Gnome and the WX based apps like FileZilla and TrueCrypt to Gtk3. However, some Gtk2 programs will stay for a while: Firefox will keep Gtk2 as default for a while and XFCE will not move to Gtk3 in the upcoming version 4.12. At least a version of LessLinux Search and Rescue will be possible that uses Nautilus, Openbox and Midori that will be Gtk3 only.

Fresh stable build available: Kernel 3.9.4, UEFI Support and many more

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

After kernel 3.8.13 was declared EOL I switched to kernel 3.9 and moved the build system to GCC 4.8.0. Besides the new kernel this release adds lots of changes and improvements. (more…)

Massive changes ahead – UEFI secure boot soon to be supported

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

We are working on our first images that work on UEFI secure boot as well as on normal BIOSes. This is quite a challenge, since until now images were prepared with genisoimage and later patched with isohybrid to contain a partition table. This resulted in images that could either written to CD or to USB stick. When written to a USB thumb drive some magic in the initramfs moved ISO filesystem and bootloader and created a new MBR partition table with one empty FAT32 partition at the start of the USB stick. This way the majority of space of a thumb drive could still be used – especially users with drives of 8GB or larger appreciated this feature. (more…)

Test build with kernel 3.8.0 available (unstable)

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

I just uploaded the first build containing linux kernel 3.8.0. Besides the new kernel, glibc got updated to 2.17. The most significant change is that now a (cross compiled) kernel for x86_64 is included. If necessary it will be accompagnied by a 64 bit busybox in one of the next builds. So currently three kernels are used: the 64 bit kernel, a kernel for 32 bit systems with PAE and a kernel for 32 bit systems¬† without PAE. This number will be reduced to two as soon as the 64 bit kernel proves stable. Choosing the right kernel is (hopefully) done by syslinux’ ifcpu64.c32 module. To see which kernel was booted, run “uname -a” from a terminal.

Please note that just the kernel is 64 bit, so chrooting to 64 bit linux environments should be possible now. Since I also plan to add EFI support with gummiboot we need a 64 bit kernel to be booted directly by the EFI loader (32 bit kernels will not boot on 64 bit EFI without intermediate loaders like GRUB).

Building LessLinux – stage03, the final ISO

Friday, February 4th, 2011

So now you are ready building the chroot environment – then it is time to assemble the final ISO. To do this you need an overlay containing some configuration files for the bootloader. I packaged such an overlay for the current LessLinux Search and Rescue: lesslinux-search-and-rescue-uluru-20110202-155012-overlays-en.tar.bz2. You’ll find more recent overlays here: http://download.lesslinux.org/overlays/, but when building care that overlay and buildscripts match. Unpack the overlay in the folder /mnt/archiv/LessLinux. (more…)

Building LessLinux – stage02

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Besides the switch to SQLite there are other big changes regarding the build of stage02, which is the population of the chroot environment:

  • LessLinux now supports tracking of dependencies after building packages. This allows to define the order of packages to build.

  • As a consequence of the dependency tracking it is now also possible to parallelize the build. On a three core Athlon this brought down build times from around three days to less than 20 hours. With a faster machine you should even get better results.


Building LessLinux – stage01

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Many changes were added since my first description of how to build LessLinux. There are two major changes that are worth noting most:

  • We switched from MySQL to SQLite3 as database during build

  • LessLinux is self containing now, this means you can use LessLinux to build LessLinux to build LessLinux…

The stage01 build of LessLinux very closely resembles the chapter Chapter 5 – Constructing a Temporary System from Linux from Scratch. You’ll even notice similar environment variables. There will always be slight differences in package versions – this is intended. So you might be able to build LessLinux on any machine equipped with the right programs to build Linux from Scratch. But in my opinion do one of the two following things: (more…)