I'm really looking forward to the 30k release as I think it is going to be quite fine. I never felt that about 20k as it introduced so many new things that it just didn't have the polish.
Here's some notes, updates, and questions. Notice lots of this is just me spewing thoughts... Comments appreciated. :)
I've done a number of installs of the latest alpha. Text, GUI, automagick, manual installs all work fine. There's fedora graphic spew all over the place, but I should get that fixed in the next couple days.
The new devel box is working quite well. With various tweaks (using ccache on a different drive than BUILD, noatime mounts) I can recompile mozilla in 6 minutes 30 seconds! This used to be a "rpmbuild -bb mozilla.spec"--go eat lunch kind of affair. Rolling new ISOs is quick as well. Since I don't have to sit around for the build environment so much anymore, i can experiment more. Also, since it's not in my basement (it's at a co-location data center), I can work remotely and post updated ISOs much easier. I promise not to let indymedia take over this box. ;) Expect lots more releases... :)
With BLAG 30k, BLAG will be 100% Free Software. Previously it had non-Free binaries in w32codec (and later I realized/remembered that divx4linux was as well). These will be dropped. Folks can get them from Dag or something (e.g. like they had to go somewhere else to get Flash). This was due to prodding by Richard Stallman and the fact that it's just The Right Thing To Do.
SRPMS (Source Code)
I am going to make SRPMS CD images of the source of all the packages on the CD. This turns out to be 1.2 gigs, so it will be split across 2 discs. This will make it easier for 3rd party cd vendors to distribute the source code.
The main DVD will not have source on it any more. I will be making a separate DVD with /all/ source code (including things not on the CD--KDE for example). This will make the DVD ISO much smaller, so folks can get a huge install (e.g. all BLAG, all fedora, tons of stuff from the repos, etc) all on one disc and grab whatever source they want.
I'll also make SRPMS apt-get'able (requested by jayola a number of times... ;).
The Greatest Browser On Earth
IMHO Firefox has won this hands down. If you haven't tried FF1.0, just wait. :)
We had a bit of a discussion about this last summer:
The consensus was to include Firefox and lots wanted Mozilla+Firefox. I'm in favor of ditching Epiphany (this saves 2.7 megs and it appears epiphany really isn't too lightweight) and Mozilla (saves 12 megs), if we can get away with it. Firefox is 8.2 megs. Mozilla will always be apt-get'able for those of us who run lots of browsers or for folks using mozilla-mail or -chat. For this next alpha, I'm going to drop /evolution/ as well, and include thunderbird. Evolution's dependencies are huge. In fact, evolution depends on mozilla, for one...
For super-low end, we could always include dillo as well, which weighs in at 325k. An XFCE/dillo combo could run on some dang low-end gear...and still be user friendly (as opposed to blackbox/fluxbox). Although w3m is quite nice for this too (command line browser that shows graphics in an xterm!).
I realize this may be a bit "extreme" to drop mozilla from the CD, but I'm kinda in the mood for it. Freeing up space gives us room for more play. Remember, there is always apt.
We wouldn't include Fedora's Firefox, but rebuild it with our own tweaks, bookmarks, extensions (?) etc. The mozilla would be Fedora's stock version.
It's been suggested that there be another discussion board be added ( http://forums.blagblagblag.org/viewtopic.php?t=600
). This seems like a cool idea to me. How about a forum called "Tweaks" where people can post their screenshots, how they tweak various things, etc. This would be good food for finding new ways to incorporate these tweaks into the default BLAG settings.
selinux is a new security model developed by the US gov'ts NSA ( nsa.gov ) that has been in Fedora since Core 2. I don't particularily care for it at all. Even disabling it doesn't really fully disable it. I'm considering making BLAG's disabling of it a bit more (yes, it's really f*kin disabled) instead of Fedora's way. I filed a bug report with Fedora about this, but they're not going to change it. https://bugzilla.redhat.com/bugzilla/sh ... ?id=145881
It also appears that if you remove all *selinux* rpms from your system, it leaves selinux enabled in the kernel (!). The only way to prevent this is to add "selinux=0" in your boot arguments (this is what I requested of Fedora and they said No). I can add this to blag, but I'm a bit concerned about how this may affect things in the future (for example a BLAG30k user who later upgrades to Fedora Core 4).
There is quite a bit of cruft around Fedora, and lots of stuff gets drawn in via unneccessary (IMO) "Requires:".
http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-d ... 01075.html
I could rebuild a number of these applications, so they wouldn't require as many things. In the example in the mail above, it was discussing how Nautilus requires samba, which requires LDAP, etc. I'd love to ditch samba and just leave it in the repository. This would free up a whopping 28 megs, and perhaps even more.
There are a number of other applications I could probably pare-down as well. I've always tried to leave things a bit more "stock" when they are something reasonably "core" (e.g. Nautilus), but I'm starting to want to tweak-out those things as well.
One issue/example problem with this approach:
1) Say, BLAG has nautilus-2.8.1-4blag instead of the stock (nautilus-2.8.1-4)
2) Fedora releases an update to Nautilus (e.g. nautilus-2.8.1-5, or 2.8.2...)
3) The BLAG errata/updates repository (which is automated) grabs Fedora's updated Nautilus
4) apt-getters get Fedora's updated nautilus, AND it's Requires: (e.g samba & crap) before I get a chance to roll a new Nautilus without the Requires:
One way to get around this is to do the RPMS.errata dir a bit more by hand, but this will take a maintainer to watch. I like it automated because if a security fix comes out and I'm not around for a day or two, everyone can still get updates. Anyway, it's not the end-of-the-world if the eager apt-getters get a Fedora version before the blag version gets updated....
The current CD is weighing in at 696 megs. We're dang close to that magic 700. I'd really like to cut this back by being much more aggressive about dropping things and just having folks apt-get what they need. I'd even like to reduce the size of the CD to 650 megs. I believe some of the reports of people not being able to boot from CD are due to the fact that they have an old CDROM that barfs on 700 meg CDs (could be wrong here--of course the vast majority of "not able to boot CD" problems are due to badly burned discs).
If we can cut down as much as possible, this will also give us space to experiment with adding floppy installs. Fedora dropped floppy images from their distro starting with Core 2. I would like to add it back to blag, since there are lots of old machines that can only boot from floppy. It would be cool if we could still keep blag running on really old kit.
I'm thinking of adding lots of tweaks to the stock install that will give small performance gains, especially for lower end boxes. A few examples (i'm not going to do all these, I'm just brainstorming--feel free to brainstorm along):
* No gnome splash screen
* When you go to Menu->Logout, it does that fade to black first. Ditch that. In fact, ditch all those things that are fading in and out.
* Various things that run around when you launch apps, resize, etc.
* Don't run nautilus for the desktop (!?!). This is what maintains the background image (an image would be set another way), and gives you icons on the desktop. This may be too ingrained in what people expect though. It would sure speed things up to not have to load that nautilus pig though.
* Make the default desktop XFCE instead of gnome (!). XFCE has been rockin' lately. I think it would take a lot of customization, but this is a possibilty. Things would be much faster & less RAM hungry for sure.
These tweaks would be small in themselves, but would make things feel snappier.
Upgrading to Future Fedora Core Releases
In the past, I've tried to make it so blag will be reasonably easy to upgrade to future releases of /Fedora/ (for example upgrading from BLAG30k to FC4). If I lose this attitude, it may make me willing to be more experimental (e.g. the selinux thing, dropping "Requires:" from packages, etc.). BLAG would of course still be compatible with corresponding fedora releases and the repos for that release. Does any one see this forward compatibility with Fedora as a good feature? Is it a concern for folks? If not, I'll just not worry about it and when in doubt, just go for it. ;)
Probably needs a bit of a facelift for the 30k release. I may work with Hyland on this. If there's something you'd like to see, please draft it.
I have updated the wiki & bugzilla to the latest stable releases.
Are there any other web-apps that should be added to the site? I think with forums, bugzilla, the wiki, etc. we have it pretty well covered, but if there's some new latest/greatest thing I haven't heard about, lemme know.
A nice section to add to the website would probably be a list of the big apps that are in there that aren't on the CD and instructions on how to add them. Example: mozilla, samba, openoffice.org, gcc, etc.
BLAG 30k will work much better with wireless gear now. The kernel is catching up. ;) Are there any non-Fedora wireless apps that are "must have"? Kismet has been around in the past. I haven't really been using any non-Fedora wireless apps, but I'm sure there's some kool toys out there.
IPv6 will probably be turned off by default in 30k unless someone knows of some really good reason why not to. I just don't see IPv6 that widely deployed.
The "XP Issue"
Fedora Core 2 would sometimes mess up XP installs. Can someone confirm for me that this has been solved for FC3?
If you want to make sure something doesn't get "lost" bugzilla it. Even if it's been there forever, it won't go away until I figure out a way to resolve it. ;) Also, if you can, take a look at things in bugzilla and see if there's things you can fix! Also, note that bugzilla (since the upgrade) complains about mail not being sent. The bugs do get entered, it's just not sending mail. I'll get it fixed (it expects sendmail and the server has qmail).
Anyone know of a good GUI partitioning tool? At some point, I was thinking qtparted, but IIRC it had a dependency I couldn't meet (KDE?). Also, it's gotta be a stable, solid application. We can have weird alpha programs for p2p, but not for partitioning...
amule & bittorrent are in BLAG. It seems everytime you look the p2p environment is changing. What are the good p2p clients out there right now? They have to be Free and not require java.
Does anyone know of a /truly/ good CD burning application? I know K3B is very nice, but it requires a /pile/ of KDE stuff. Also, a lot of people ask how they can burn mp3s/oggs to CD. Is there a CD burning app that knows how to convert these to .wavs first? The folks asking me don't grok command-line lame.
There are quite a few new games that have come out for GNU/Linux recently. For some reason, most distros leave them out (unless the distro comes on 9 CDs or something). Most games are too large to include on the CD. Does anyone know of any that are good & small? Also, what are some good ones that we can add to the repository? I'm not much of a gamer, so I'll need some help here. Perhaps if we get enough space we could put frozen bubble on the CD. :)
All for now,