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#1 2018-03-13 23:50:48

nikaido
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Registered: 2016-12-01
Posts: 11

Looking for resources for distro development project

In the fall I will be taking a senior project class so I can complete my Computer Information Systems degree. For the senior project I would like to propose a full fledged Linux distro (nothing fancy), complete with website, support forums, and custom repos, but I'm not sure where to start (I'm on the fence about making it Debian or Arch based). If it gets accepted I will be assigned a team to help me work on it. I was going to take the free time I have during the summer to really bone up on the material before making my proposal to the professors in the fall. 

I've already learned how to set up my own base image that would serve as the live-iso, but I find myself lacking in when it comes to creating the installation application; I would really like to include an encryption feature as well.

Any websites, tutorials, or other resources you may be able to share would be much appreciated.

Last edited by nikaido (2018-03-14 00:29:51)

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#2 2018-03-14 02:38:18

Allan
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From: Brisbane, AU
Registered: 2007-06-09
Posts: 10,710
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Re: Looking for resources for distro development project

Do you intend to support this full distro beyond the initial project?   Could you instead focus on a repository bring a set of software into a distrbutions ecosystem?

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#3 2018-03-14 22:10:55

nikaido
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Registered: 2016-12-01
Posts: 11

Re: Looking for resources for distro development project

I do intend to support the distro if I can get enough volunteers after the initial project.

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#4 2018-03-28 16:22:23

boojum
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From: /dev/null
Registered: 2013-09-23
Posts: 43
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Re: Looking for resources for distro development project

Linux From Scratch  and Beyond Linux From Scratch are two great resources to start with AND it will keep you busy for awhile. If that is not enough you can look into bootstrap scripts of various Linuxes, sabotage linux is a cool example. Or this.

Then there is the POSIX standard, File System Hierarchy Standard, and Linux Standard Base to pursue. Just don't think of them as a bible.  ;-)

Good luck!

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#5 2018-03-28 16:31:25

Trilby
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Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 19,078
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Re: Looking for resources for distro development project

I don't think the resources you need would have anything to do with linux.  What you need is to find what is lacking in current distros, what gap you aim to fill, and/or in what way your distro will solve an existing problem.

Without this, what exactly are you doing?  It sounds a bit like a senior project in automotive engineering where the student proposes to create a full fledged new car (based on either a toyota or a mazda).  OK, what would they actually do?  Take any toyota or mazda, slap on their own emblem, and the project is done.  There wouldn't be any demonstration of automotive engineering knowledge there.

The project would have to start with a problem: toyotas last forever, but their gas mileage could be better; mazda's get great mileage, but break down after a few years; we propose to build a new car that achieves better fuel efficiency than a mazda while lasting as long as a toyota.  That would be a project.  That would require and demonstrate automotive engineering knowledge.  (Note the pros and cons of these makes of vehicle were just completely made up as an example.)

So what resources do you need to take a fully functional linux distro and slap your own branding on it?  Nothing more than your own branding and a deficiency in self-respect.

Assuming, though, that you are not setting out to merely rebrand a working distro, we couldn't possibly guide you to useful resources unless you specify what you intend to do differently than said working distros.

---

Make an arch-inspired rolling-release binary distro but based on busybox init and musl libc with a clang compiler that works without gcc-libs and with a preference for minimal packages (tending toward excluding optional compile flags in contrast to arch packages that often include the kitchen sink).  Then you'd certainly have my attention.  You'd be creating something certainly novel, and useful to a particular demographic.  That's my chimeric dream distro.  It doesn't exist (yet).

Last edited by Trilby (2018-03-28 16:36:31)


"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman

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#6 2018-03-28 16:57:12

ewaller
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From: Pasadena, CA
Registered: 2009-07-13
Posts: 15,686

Re: Looking for resources for distro development project

Trilby wrote:

Make an arch-inspired rolling-release binary distro but based on busybox init and musl libc with a clang compiler that works without gcc-libs and with a preference for minimal packages (tending toward excluding optional compile flags in contrast to arch packages that often include the kitchen sink).  Then you'd certainly have my attention.  You'd be creating something certainly novel, and useful to a particular demographic.  That's my chimeric dream distro.  It doesn't exist (yet).


Or, In my view even better, ARM based using uBoot with support for low cost Arm platforms. I dream of a mainstream Arm powered laptop...


Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature -- Michael Faraday
Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine. -- Alan Turing
---
How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

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#7 2018-03-28 17:32:39

boojum
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From: /dev/null
Registered: 2013-09-23
Posts: 43
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Re: Looking for resources for distro development project

Trilby wrote:

Make an arch-inspired rolling-release binary distro but based on busybox init and musl libc with a clang compiler that works without gcc-libs and with a preference for minimal packages (tending toward excluding optional compile flags in contrast to arch packages that often include the kitchen sink).  Then you'd certainly have my attention.  You'd be creating something certainly novel, and useful to a particular demographic.  That's my chimeric dream distro.  It doesn't exist (yet).

That sounds like a fine idea for a distro! Static or dynamic linking?

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#8 2018-03-28 17:38:21

Trilby
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Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 19,078
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Re: Looking for resources for distro development project

No idea, I haven't made it tongue

If I were to put effort into it, I suspect most packages would still be dynamically linked, but I'd want to include the .a libs for everything and ensure that static linking was practical.  I am an advocate for greater awareness of static linking and resent the global dominance of dynamic linking among linuxen, but that doesn't mean dynamic doesn't have it's place.


"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman

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#9 2018-03-28 17:59:15

boojum
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From: /dev/null
Registered: 2013-09-23
Posts: 43
Website

Re: Looking for resources for distro development project

Trilby wrote:

If I were to put effort into it, I suspect most packages would still be dynamically linked, but I'd want to include the .a libs for everything and ensure that static linking was practical.  I am an advocate for greater awareness of static linking and resent the global dominance of dynamic linking among linuxen, but that doesn't mean dynamic doesn't have it's place.

Especially if it is to use musl libc. And - not sure if this is still the case - systemd did depend on some particularities of glibc which weren't implemented in musl.... (you can see where I am going with this wink)

--

busybox seems to not like systemd as well.

Last edited by boojum (2018-03-28 18:04:58)

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#10 2018-03-29 02:53:57

Cody Learner
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Registered: 2017-12-06
Posts: 50
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Re: Looking for resources for distro development project

Trilby wrote:

Make an arch-inspired rolling-release binary distro but based on busybox init and musl libc with a clang compiler that works without gcc-libs and with a preference for minimal packages (tending toward excluding optional compile flags in contrast to arch packages that often include the kitchen sink).  Then you'd certainly have my attention.  You'd be creating something certainly novel, and useful to a particular demographic.  That's my chimeric dream distro.  It doesn't exist (yet).

You're describing a new Alpine based distro?


Self designated Linux and Bash mechanic.....
I fix and build stuff hands on. I'm not opposed to creating a mess in obtaining a goal.

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