diary at Telent Netowrks

The votes for a simple ILISP setup are still coming in#

Sun, 05 Oct 2003 03:21:34 +0000

The votes for a simple ILISP setup are still coming in. Surprise surprise, yes.

I've been looking at Knoppix, and starting to learn enough about it to beat it into a shape I like. Knoppix is an ISO9660 image, which contains another, compressed, ISO filesystem. The inner filesystem is the root of the running system and contains about 2Gb of software. The outer filesystem gets mounted on /cdrom during the boot process and holds a few other files such as X root window images which are presumably put there for ease of alteration.

So, to hack it around you basically unpack the ISO, unpack the inner ISO, chroot into it and fiddle with dpkg/apt-get/whatever else, then pack it all back up again. There appear to be a number of graphical tools for this, but I'm using a shell script originally found at http://www.informatik.uni-koeln.de/ls_juenger/people/lange/software/mkmyknoppix but which is slowly mutating as I find other things I want it to do/not do.

The repacking phase takes about 20 minutes, which makes things a little tedious to test. Fortunately VMWare Workstation will boot from ISO images without needing to burn them first, so at least I don't need to add the CD writing time and cost of blank to that for every iteration. Unless Bochs can do something similar (and emulate svga and some species of ethernet device) I can see having to pay for this sometime in the next 30 days. Why is it that all the software I buy these days is for emulation?

So, chief concern right now is licensing; I want all the source code to be available in a GPL-compliant way (enough of the Knoppix packages are GPLed that it makes no sense to try and separate out the source-required packages). So far I've managed to get the filesystem down to around 770MB uncompressed (no KDE, no applications) or 280Mb compressed. If dpkg is not telling fibs, sources for this will be about 600MB: gzipped tarballs, gzipped diffs and .dsc files, so I don't think that's going to compress significantly further. If I can find really not a lot more space it looks like we might actually be able to get the whole thing ona single disc, which will make life a lot simpler

What's slightly worrying is that I just noticed a /usr/lib/j2se directory that dpkg -S doesn't acknowledge the existence of. On the bright side, I can probably just delete it - nothing important will ever depend on java - but I'm concerned that there may be other stuff in there that the package system doesnt know about.