project MintEd2

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project MintEd2

Postby oliverthered on Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:52 pm

Hi,

I'm thinking of starting up a bit of a spin off of Mint, a bit like Mint is to Ubuntu, is to Debian.

I would ideally like to feed as much back down the chain as possible, as so as to support rather than distract from Linux mint.

MintEd2 or Mint Editions^2 is a project to create a modular version of Mint, with restricted packages available (restricted by the modules) thus allowing for a high level of Quality Assurance along with the ability to easily customise the installation CD's and target the installed system to be more user / use and environment specific. Which should lend itself to being much more user friendly. Sometimes less is more.

There are really four main itches I want to scratch.

1: QA in ubuntu, well I'm not sure if there really is any. Mint is a lot better, MintEd2 will build upon this.
The intent is to have the ability to have more 'experimental' modules and other modules with higher levels of quality assurance and integration testing.
The base system will start of with the LTS versions of Mint, but run as a semi rolling release. Along with this the base install DVD/CD's as mastered by the user dependant on their selection of modules, will have bug fixes, including those in backports. As part of the live / installation CD/DVD that put together.

If find the policy of not pushing backports (such as the recient KDE release) down the line a little odd, when the release may contain only a few new features but have a huge number of bugs fixed. It is essentially a bug fix release with a few new features, and yet those bugs, which may even be critical, never end up on being fixed unless used chose to include backports repositories.

It's also my intent to have testing as wide open as possible, and push through updates to testes on their tests systems along with test scripts and all of the other QA practices that you would expect to find when producing quality, mass market software.

2: I just want it to work out of the box, not have a Live CD that can't connect to the internet, because a package such as usb_modeswitch for some reason isn't part of the live DVD, even though there's plenty of space left on the DVD.

So, the aim is, to have a system that works out of the box. All drivers, firmware and utilities required for hardware and hardware configuration that like that can just be distributed and setup automatically should be their (optionally removable from the various modules). But if it's not a licensing or copyright violation to have it setup automatically and aggregated then it should be done.

For other things, it may be possible for the user to self install the restricted drivers and such by installing the module and creating the live CD/DVD with those things setup and included. It should be possible to do something like jockey, but use it to actually build the Live CD/DVD that's then used for the installation.

For all other things, the system could quite possibly be provided on 2 separate disks to get around some of those issues. or possibly even just two partitions on the discs. (depending on licensing restrictions and mear aggregation policies)

Think of things like, LVM2, wifi drivers, binary firmware all that kind of stuff.


3: WISYWIG, or WYWIWYG.

It would be really nice if I could install things at live time and then have those things install when I hit install.
It would also be really nice if I could exclude things that are on the live CD/DVD from being installed.
And it would be really nice if settings and configuration could be picked up from existing environments on the users machine. This could be picking up the drivers that are needed for NDISWrapper from a Windows partition. Getting the network and internet settings by poking around in the windows registry or looking at existing Linux installs.
I'd like to be able to do this at both live time and install time, or boot time and I'm sure you can imagine the various ways this can be extended and such.


4: User / Community involvement.

I have quite a number of plans along these lines that I will talk about later.

Involvement could include things like buying products from a kickback store to help fund the project, or reporting bugs, or collecting useage and configuration data, or voting on what they would like to be worked on, all that kind of stuff. But nicely and optionally transparent to the user from within the operating environment. Not having to search on the internet and find some site, and setup an account etc....

This is one of the really big things, it would enable users to push through bug fixes, or ways of running windows applications under Wine, or what kind of packages (including 3rd party ones such as firefox plugins or openoffice extensions etc...) that they are using. Along with this would be added benifits to the user, such as monitoring for packages they have installed but haven't used for 6 months, or dependencies, or identifying which package is causing the system problems and looking for updates or roll-backs or just re-installing or checking the file sha1 checksum for corruption.
It could also give memory and performance requirements and suggestions for various packages and usage profiles and that kind of thing, as well as subtly suggesting new features, or documentation or drivers.



Anyhow,

What do you think, any comments additions, suggestions, support or wrist slapping.

Remember, the idea is to feed as much back as possible not to fork or distract.

This project will start off in one way or another as I'm setting up a charity and supporting company to provide those in need with computer systems and support and self training and all those kinds of things. And to do that I need a distro that has a much higher level of QA that most out their, a lot more stability and one that just works, works well and enables the system to be targeted at the user and not have the user wallowing in a million and one possible applications that they can install.

(application installation and filtering is a whole other topic, but it is in part involved with modules and 'super tags' and extending the DEB system to allow for some really funky and highly integrated stuff)
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby alpha1 on Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:32 am

Oh yes, fo'sho'!
However, I dont' know if Clem would actually allow you to use the name Mint for your edition ...

there were only a few things that I found amiss with Mint. (probably because it was built over Ubuntu?)
1. Wired ethernet worked, wi-fi worked, however it had trouble with 3G USB modems. usb-modeswitch does solve the problem, but then in order to download that, you need to be connected to internet - but then, if i was able to connect to internet, i wouldn't have the need to download that package.
So its a catch-22

2. Great support for media - but why is there a different mix of applications in each version?
LXDE and XFCE have Exaile (which actually takes up MORE RAM than rhythmbox), but IMO Exalie is better with its pre-config shoutcast stations and mutli tabbed playlists
Main version does not come with VLC (which is required, because Gnome Mplayer doesn't play the DVDs and chapters as well)

3. Ubuntu theme is missing from Mint versions. I thought that being a derivative - it would have the ambiance and radiance etc themes (though not on default) - of course this is a non-issue.

4. Few stupid bugs of Ubuntu/Kubuntu actually resolved? Though that might cause problems because later when Big brotha Buntu decides to fix 'em, it might mess up with the interim fix. Which means you need to come up with a different fixed base - like PCLOS, instead of relying on every 6 month buntu release.
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby oliverthered on Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:58 am

alpha1 wrote:Oh yes, fo'sho'!
However, I dont' know if Clem would actually allow you to use the name Mint for your edition ...

there were only a few things that I found amiss with Mint. (probably because it was built over Ubuntu?)
1. Wired ethernet worked, wi-fi worked, however it had trouble with 3G USB modems. usb-modeswitch does solve the problem, but then in order to download that, you need to be connected to internet - but then, if i was able to connect to internet, i wouldn't have the need to download that package.
So its a catch-22

2. Great support for media - but why is there a different mix of applications in each version?
LXDE and XFCE have Exaile (which actually takes up MORE RAM than rhythmbox), but IMO Exalie is better with its pre-config shoutcast stations and mutli tabbed playlists
Main version does not come with VLC (which is required, because Gnome Mplayer doesn't play the DVDs and chapters as well)

3. Ubuntu theme is missing from Mint versions. I thought that being a derivative - it would have the ambiance and radiance etc themes (though not on default) - of course this is a non-issue.

4. Few stupid bugs of Ubuntu/Kubuntu actually resolved? Though that might cause problems because later when Big brotha Buntu decides to fix 'em, it might mess up with the interim fix. Which means you need to come up with a different fixed base - like PCLOS, instead of relying on every 6 month buntu release.


I'm not planning to use the name mint for the distro, unless some 'close' cooperation can be done. Which I have no objections to, but clem may. Personally I'd prefer no to fork or do too much duplication and feed back as much as possible into mint.

wi-fi often needs soem firmware or others. Some graphics cards require drivers. Epson scanner needs drivers as do other printers. No support for Reiser4FS.

Also, had lots of problems with resuming from a suspend not resuming properly, and not cancelling the resume bit in grub because of this. Problems mainly seemed to be not getting as far as re-enabling network manager and so the networkmanager said it was disabled.

I've also had problems with usb_modeswitch being tempremental.

Also things like minitube. Google changed youtube, minitube project got updated, but no .deb package (even in backports by the looks of things).

I've also got some real funkey ideas, and some good ways of generating review and providing kick back for users who opt into more user driven activities. (obviously it's opt in not opt out, but the more you opt in and the more you do the more kick back you get in various forms, even possibly financial).


The main focus is on 'stability' and less can sometimes mean more. so basically 'filtering; out a load of the available packages and having modules that target particular audiences and particular environments.

obviously there's nothing stopping someone from adding other repositories etc...


some of the filtering options are to automatically include stuff (e.g. documentation or plugins or source, or dev).

But I also want to implement some smart stuff, e.g. you download a file from the internet of a mine type that you currently have nothing on your system to access or use, but there are some packages or plugins for existing packages that would enable you to work with the file. So when the file is downloaded the system prompts, or even automaticall (see filters above) installs the appropriate piece of software or extension or whatever to work with the file in the way that's desired.


also things like monitoring to see how long ago and how often a package has been used. And if it's only been used a couple of times after install and then not again for a good wile it get's flagged as a potential candidate for removal etc...

obviously this would be opt-in opt-out able.

I also want to extend the deb packging system, or atleast the meta data. And also make some improvements to the way updates are done, especially the way updates to configuration files are handled and also how sometimes one package overrides your existing settings. e.g. installing GDM may instantly make it the default login manager for X even though you already have KDM installed and want to use it. (I'm not sure if this is the case, but I've come across things like that before and it really annoyed me)

kind of config locking.
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby oliverthered on Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:19 am

also, because the charity is going to be providing quite an array of second hand, possibly fairly old (not older than pII 1/2 gb ram) systems, I should in theory end up with a hell of a lot of kit to do testing on.

although I want it to be semi-rolling, the focus is on quality over quantity and deadlines.

base-lining with the LTS, which should in theory have backports for quite some time. Should enable this kind of focus without have the overhead of trying to push forward and test tends of thousands of packages in all kind of configurations and setups.

I think it's really going to be a case of quality, performance, compatibility, integration and simplicity.

Also a focus on training and ease of migration.

The charity is aiming itself at the computer or otherwise illiterate spectrum, and people with disabilities. Also possibly helping reform offenders out of prison. So think of children in poor families, the house bound, people with learning disability. The elderly who are out of contact with people and have few friends and don't see their relatives much.

So far as that's concerend I intend to put quite a lot of effort into training and migration (from windows or from the TV) that should be easy to follow and use by the user with little assistance. Self paced and from the ground up (this is a mouse, this is a keyboard, this is the left mouse button try pressing it and see what happens, this is a window, this is a text box etc,,,). But hopefully, eventually becoming quite rich and going into greater depth and more technical areas.

I also want to work in some levels of commercialization where possible and applicable. Things like reseller options (ie. the holding company acts as a reseller of various stuff, and the user can opt in to having various 'shops' on the desktop in in the browser search. Or be prompted when there's a commercial application that provides better xyz.

although I would prefer a world with completely free open source software, music and pretty much everything, we don't live in that world. If it can be milked so as to divert more funds into the production of completely free IP then I can only see that as a benefit. Embrace, extend, extinguish as they say. Beat them at their own game.

That kind of environment seems to be working very well for google/ andriod and the iphone. And all those people who are adverse to paying for things are either pirating stuff or use linux anyway and would opt out of sections of the market place they didn't want. (I'm sure they would still pay for hardware or t-shirts or posters or whatever else reseller or promotional arrangements could be arranged).

So far as that goes I would make all attempts to make things far and present products or services which aren't resold or no commission is taken from (including even advertisement), and draw attention to the fact that the distro gains some commision iif you purchase xyz over zyx and depending on the users options they receive some kick back aka they get part of the commission on the sale.
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby oliverthered on Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:46 am

an other example of something I'm setting up for someone at the moment is a proxy (but on the local machine) to act as a cache for internet activity, but also so that I can do network shaping and filtering to get the best bang for buck out of his mobile broad band dongle, for which he pays an exorbitant amount per GB and which is sometimes a little on the slow side.

I'm thinking of combining Squid with some browser extensions and communication over dbus. The extensions will allow him to modify the throttling per element, page, url or whatever directly from the browser. So if he wants to give priority to a large image, where normally images would run at a lower priority, and be throttled he can do, on one occasion or by url etc...

I also couldn't find anything to do aggregated bandwidth usage. Which in a simple way is really just a case of pulling the stats back out of proc for the interface and then making sure that they are saved from time to time and when the system is rebooted etc....


This could also be integrated with the proxy so that when he only has a few hundred meg or so left the dynamics of the throttling and caching change and large files can be completely blocked all together, unless overridden.

youtube caching would also be great too I should imagine, since my browser doesn't seem to cache the data in any kind of sensible way, let alone optimized for lowish bandwith high cost internet.
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby oliverthered on Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:54 am

an other example of something I'm setting up for someone at the moment is a proxy (but on the local machine) to act as a cache for internet activity, but also so that I can do network shaping and filtering to get the best bang for buck out of his mobile broad band dongle, for which he pays an exorbitant amount per GB and which is sometimes a little on the slow side.

I'm thinking of combining Squid with some browser extensions and communication over dbus. The extensions will allow him to modify the throttling per element, page, url or whatever directly from the browser. So if he wants to give priority to a large image, where normally images would run at a lower priority, and be throttled he can do, on one occasion or by url etc...

I also couldn't find anything to do aggregated bandwidth usage. Which in a simple way is really just a case of pulling the stats back out of proc for the interface and then making sure that they are saved from time to time and when the system is rebooted etc....


This could also be integrated with the proxy so that when he only has a few hundred meg or so left the dynamics of the throttling and caching change and large files can be completely blocked all together, unless overridden.

youtube caching would also be great too I should imagine, since my browser doesn't seem to cache the data in any kind of sensible way, let alone optimized for lowish bandwith high cost internet.
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby alpha1 on Fri Aug 27, 2010 7:51 am

hmm, lots of ideas there - why not start with the base - debian - if you are looking for stability and things that work.
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby oliverthered on Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:32 am

alpha1 wrote:hmm, lots of ideas there - why not start with the base - debian - if you are looking for stability and things that work.

so you saying that ubuntu and mint break things and aren't worth adding to or building on?
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby cpatrick08 on Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:33 pm

alpha1 wrote:hmm, lots of ideas there - why not start with the base - debian - if you are looking for stability and things that work.

and if so why did mint become based on ubuntu if it is not stable
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby Gara3987 on Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:53 pm

oliverthered wrote:Personally I'd prefer no to fork or do too much duplication and feed back as much as possible into mint.


It sounds like you want to emulate Fedora, that is what Fedora is to Red Hat. That is a pretty interesting idea.
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby DrHu on Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:02 pm

oliverthered wrote:2: I just want it to work out of the box, not have a Live CD that can't connect to the internet, because a package such as usb_modeswitch for some reason isn't part of the live DVD, even though there's plenty of space left on the DVD.
So, the aim is, to have a system that works out of the box. All drivers, firmware and utilities required for hardware and hardware configuration that like that can just be distributed and setup automatically should be their (optionally removable from the various modules). But if it's not a licensing or copyright violation to have it setup automatically and aggregated then it should be done.

...So, the aim is, to have a system that works out of the box.
Only Apple for OS-X can promise that or enterprise vendors, such as HP, IBM, Dell, Cisco: since they control their hardware platforms/packages

Sounds very familiar
http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/coffee ... unity.html
http://forums.techgage.com/showthread.php?t=4569
http://forum.freespire.org/showthread.php?p=122182
I hope you aren't the same guy who was involved with ImagicOS, and started the same way on the Freespire forums
I want to create...
  • An easy to use Linux, that works out of the box
  • That has the drivers & codecs needed for media access
  • That is simple to install, and works with familiar windows OS tools, such as Explorer
    --etc etc..
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby oliverthered on Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:50 pm

Nope I'm not that guy.

The aim is as follows:

1: Go round installing Linux for people and setting there systems up.
2: Note their requirements and review and quality assess suitable software.
3: Give those suggestions to the people and see how they get along.
4: ditto.

And during the course, not anything that does not work 'out of the box' or is problematic, or is not wanted or superfluous or poor quality etc...

Then hopefully I should end up with something I can install in 5 minutes (or get them to install) and be done with it.

As for controlling the hardware, yes I am recording the hardware in use and going to write something to check the hardware on the systems etc....


The other aim is to have an OS that gives uses kick back for contributing, in many ways. (not limited to agent reselling)
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby oliverthered on Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:54 pm

so controlled hardware: Check.
controlled software: Check.


usb_modeswitch and the setting that are easily found on the internet for most if not all bobile broad band providers actually on the live CD and near automatic. Check.
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby msuggs on Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:54 pm

It sounds like a lot of work. I wish you well with it :)
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby oliverthered on Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:07 pm

omns wrote:It sounds like a lot of work. I wish you well with it :)

well, Rome wasn't built in a day.

The main reason for the kick back scheme (and the commission/reselling driving which should help financially). Is to try and get a few more of those people who say things like 'I would use GIMP if they done this' to get off their back sides. (in exchange for something nice, and GIMP possibly doing what they want)
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Re: project MintEd2

Postby oliverthered on Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:14 pm

FYI.

I'm the DirectX 9, Wine oliverthered, oliver stieber. Less the Neuroleptics that the shrink decided to put me on in about 2005ish, which were a chemical labotomy of 5 or so years. (hence the somewhat downward turn!)

Fortunately [he says!] now I've met other people she screwed up, and said things like they kept a gun in their house, when they didn't (quite a bit deal here in the UK!)

It's a shame that they are /she is still miss-diagnosing, Asperger's / autistic spectrum ADD/ADHD co-morbid in Adults, in the same fashion they used to years ago in kids.
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