Foresight, rPath, LiveCD, and Unity Linux

Most, if not all, top distributions of Linux ship a live CD that allows an end user to preview the operating system without installing it.

Foresight Linux is the exception.

Now, this isn’t because they don’t WANT to have a Live CD…they do.  The problem is that rPath, the creators of rBuilder Online, have discontinued the Live CD image creation type.

There was no announcement…no news posting…no clue dart thrown toward Foresight for this discontinuation.  There was only a comment on a single bug in the rPath issue tracker just this past May…Formally discontinued…which in my opinion, is a HUGE mistake as far as community goes.  Why? Because a community is a solid base on which to stand for any distribution or toolset for open source.  rPath has essentially dismissed a feature that the community would find valuable and in the process alienated anyone who finds this feature valuable or desirable.  But I’m not here to talk about whether or not people want to develop their own distributions on rBuilder Online using rPath tools nor the incentive to do so…I’m talking about Foresight. 

So, what incentive does rPath have to help Foresight by fixing it?  Not much…I’m sure there will be those that argue: “rPath has customers and their first allegiance needs to be to them” and those people would be right.  But can’t the Foresight community pick up the torch for Live CD building  on rBO and develop it as a community effort?  Can’t a license be found that it can be released under that would prevent forking?  Can’t it be modularized as a ‘plug-in’? I don’t pretend to know the answer to those questions…I just think that Foresight will continue to suffer as they have been for many, many months now with respect to not having a Live CD.

I’m sure that there will also be those out there saying “but Foresight has a bunch of Virtualized Images to choose from!! No one really cares about a Live CD!!” and I’d say you’re halfway correct.  Developers don’t really care about a Live CD…but those that Foresight attempted to attract…the end user…they DO care about having something they can ‘try before they buy’.  It is my belief that Foresight would be a crap-ton more popular if they had a Live CD.

So What Solutions Are There?

I don’t think rPath will suddenly fix the broken Live CD creation in rBO.  I don’t think they’ll release the code anytime soon (though this is more likely than a fix).  So in the meantime, what if Foresight helped out with LiveCD project that recently was taken over by Unity Linux?  Both Unity and Foresight are Red Hat like distributions and use similar file structures and OS organization.  I think that if Foresight were able to integrate LiveCD onto the distribution, a huge niche would be filled.

Where to Start?

Being involved both with Foresight Linux and Unity Linux gives me a unique perspective on what areas of collaboration could be developed.  One thing is for sure…having both distro development teams onboard would be a huge boon to LiveCD development…and Foresight could suck in SRPMs quite easily from Unity to hit the ground running right away.

I am by no means offering to be the head of this project because I can’t even begin to know where it would start or finish.  I’m just offering a workaround to a problem I’ve seen Foresight have for longer than it should have.  I know the Unity Linux guys would welcome anyone wanting to get involved with helping LiveCD development.  Would Foresight be open to this?  I can’t answer.  I hope so…Foresight needs a Live CD if it hopes to attract more people to it…and that’s something I’m keen on seeing.  Is this something you’d like to see as well?

[poll id=”2″]

The New Planet Unity

Some of you may have noticed that Planet Unity got a face lift recently. I took a page from Linux Mint and their planet page and grabbed Gregarius which is a feed reader that aggregates your feeds into a central feed and has some really nice display options including tags for individual feeds.

advanced search

advanced search

This gives us a great opportunity to organize our developer blog feeds and developer resources for the end readers to drill down to the information that is important TO YOU. You’ll be able to search through feeds using the search function on planet or click on tags to display similar content.

So not only is this a new look, it’s a whole new set of features and functions:

  • Supports RDF, RSS, ATOM feeds
  • Imports and exports OPML
  • AJAX powered tagging of feeds and items
  • Supports themes and plugins
  • Search in your feeds
  • Basic i18n support
  • Committed to web standards: renders XHTML/CSS
  • Gregarius is FREE software and is released under the GPL

Now not all of these features and functions matter to end users, but they do give Unity Linux developers an opportunity to provide you with a good planet experience…that is, getting the most information in the least amount of time with the least effort!

Look for more great improvements soon!  We’re working furiously all the time to make this the best Linux core out there!

Project Unity Updates

Just a few updates on the new project named Unity…

What is Unity you ask?  Unity Linux strives to be a solid core for the mklivecd project. We hope that numerous distributions of Linux that want to make use of functions such as mklivecd and remasterme will base their distributions on our small core. Our methodology is to keep it simple, keep it open, keep it free, and keep it updated!

Some distributions you may see based on Unity Linux: Granular Linux, Producer Edition Linux, TinyMe Linux, TinyFlux Linux, Unity e17 (formerly PCe17OS), and many others.  One of the others I speak of here that might base on Unity is SAM Linux.  For those of you that don’t know, SAM has been doing its own thing for a while now and the ability to have a small core without lots of dependencies with the ability to remaster and mklivecd is appealing to many distributions and remasters out there.  Hopefully, our core will do well for everyone involved.  Thus far, SAM is keeping it’s eyes open and looking at Unity to see where it goes.

So, lots of development is happening right at this moment…and we still have lots to go.  Our developer ranks have swollen to around 29 members now…so we’ve got a GREAT group of people all working toward the common goal.  Right now, our developers want to get a core iso out the door so that everyone can have a common desktop to work on (for our docs guys, for our rpm rollers, for our kernel hackers) to make sure we’re all on the same page.

We’re also beginning to form teams…or at least talk about teams :)  I think soon we’ll see dedicated team leads come out of the development ranks to step up and develop in their individual area.  If you have questions or concerns or comments about Unity Linux, please drop me a line below!

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New Project: Unity

I’ve been working on a new project the last few days.  We’re calling it Unity.  What it will be is a new Linux distribution that takes an incremental approach to desktop Linux.  It will provide a central core and use the mklivecd scripts that PCLinuxOS uses and it will provide a base from which to build just about any desktop you want out there.

Hopefully, this building block approach will work for us.  Currently, we’re operating behind closed doors.  Soon though, we’ll have some kind of public face to this thing.  When we do, I’ll post follow-up information.

Those of you that follow me on the web know that I recently gave up control of MyPCLinuxOS, the community projects site for PCLinuxOS.  I cited personal reasons for giving this control up.  One of those personal reasons was to become involved with this new endeavor.  I hope to help make this into something great!