Curiosity: What are the steps from Debian to antiX?

Forum Forums New users New Users and General Questions Curiosity: What are the steps from Debian to antiX?

  • This topic has 15 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated Mar 18-1:55 pm by Brian Masinick.
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  • #97651
    Member
    punranger

      Hi, I’m curious: Could anyone explain in a paragraph or two, and in a general non-technical way: How does Debian get modified into antiX? I tried searching, but could not find a direct answer in the forum. I’ve had quick look at the “Linux from scratch” project to understand what the process involves, but that was way too overwhelming. My main impression is that the most important change that is made to Debian is the removal of systemd, and that in terms of the GUI, antiX comes without a dedicated desktop environment, and instead uses a combination of file and window managers. That in itself seems like a fairly complicated process to me! But I’m certain there is much more to it. I’m especially curious about what kind of criteria are used in the decision making process from start to finish. I’m also curious about things like wether it is a fairly straightforward process going from A to B, or wether it is a highly complex and iterative process. How many hours/days/weeks/months does it take to create? If anyone with development experience could answer any of these questions to a moderately literate non-developer, I would be very interested and thankful. 🙂

      antiX linux: The best way to revive an old computer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCTaUAP6sSg

      #97664
      Member
      Robin

        I’m not a developer, nor a programmer at all. So I can only guess, but what you ask for looks like a giant puzzle to me. I believe there must be observed some logical steps.
        1.) take a raw debian system
        2.) add packages considered as needed
        3.) remove packages from it considered as superfluous or inefficient
        4.) now search for feature gaps in OS and create antiX specific scripts and programs filling those; check everything works as expected.
        5.) brew an antiX specifically modified linux kernel
        6.) design an antiX GUI
        7.) take care of all translations needed
        8.) create tools to easily handle and manage the distribution of multiple versions (net/core/base/full) and architecture specific (32/64bit) ISOs
        9.) put altogether into a repo and keep it up to date constantly.
        10.) produce the ISOs for download

        I believe the criteria for decisions taken in all steps of this (presumed) process you can derive from the result: Is a piece of FOS software secure, efficient and easy to use? Is there an alternative available which matches the requirements better? Does it work on old hardware as well as on most recent hardware? And so on.

        And since antiX evolves from version to version update, the development process starting many years ago (as you can easily research), it should be clear, that it is a highly complex and iterative process; many checks are needed, decisions rethought and changed on this path. Each new version is obviously a modification of former versions. You simply can’t create such a thing of this quality by decree like “bang, and here it is, appearing from thin air”, even when based on debian.

        Probably my attempt of an answer is incomplete still.

        Windows is like a submarine. Open a window and serious problems will start.

        #97687
        Member
        marcelocripe

          Hello punranger.

          If you can understand the Build-iso of antiX, which I can’t understand. If you can, please tell me how to use it.

          – – – – –

          Olá punranger.

          Se você conseguir compreender o Build-iso do antiX, algo que eu não consigo compreender. Se você conseguir, por favor, me explica como utilizar.

          #97713
          Member
          blur13

            This is a very interesting question and I would also like to hear an answer. As someone who has tried to replicate an antix-like environment from scratch, starting with debian with no DE, ie installing X, and moving onwards, I can tell you that there is a lot going on under the hood. The default icewm menu looks nothing like the one found in antix, plugging in a usb does not automatically bring up a file manager with that directory, there is no script to unplug the usb, etc etc.

            • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by blur13.
            #97719
            Member
            calciumsodium

              Along the same lines, how does one build the antiX kernels. Thanks.

              #97721
              Forum Admin
              anticapitalista

                antiX is built using the build-iso tools pointed out by marcello. This enables consistency of builds and it took us years (yes plural) to develop. MX and AVLinux are now using it, modified of course. All antiX isos are built from scratch using this tool; there is no remaster of anything from Debian. Any budding devs should really use this tool rather than remaster/snapshot.

                At the same time as ‘perfecting’ build-iso, we developed our unique live system (including persistence, remaster, snapshot), initially influenced by MEPIS and KNOPPIX live scripts. Our live system also took years to develop and it is completely different from Debian live. MX and AVLinux also use our live system. http://antixlinux.com/the-most-extensive-live-usb-on-the-planet/

                Dave also developed the desktop series of scripts, which basically provides a sort of ‘desktop environment’ for antiX-base and full. Early versions of antiX used the common .xinitrc ‘way’ to load window managers, which is fine, but limited IMO. ‘daves-desktop’ is unique to antiX.

                Of course we do not use systemd nor elogind. This means we have to provide nosystemd packages. A cursory look into the nosystemd repos will show how much work is needed, particularly on Debian sid where we are playing catch up. We also provide our version of runit scripts that are different to how Debian runs runit.

                So, yes, a lot of work from lots of people have gone into making antiX what it is.

                Build-iso basically does these things within a chroot.

                1. debootstrap basic apps from Debian
                2. Immediately after this, we remove all systemd packages out of debootstrap
                3. Packages are installed from Debian and antiX repos
                4. eudev replaces udev
                5. squashfs file created (we call this linuxfs)
                6. live system added to create bootable live iso.

                Philosophers have interpreted the world in many ways; the point is to change it.

                antiX with runit - leaner and meaner.

                #97722
                Forum Admin
                anticapitalista

                  Along the same lines, how does one build the antiX kernels. Thanks.

                  We start with vanilla kernel from kernel.org
                  We add a few patches and our .config kernel options
                  We build the kernel using deb-pkg

                  It is done manually, not automated.

                  Philosophers have interpreted the world in many ways; the point is to change it.

                  antiX with runit - leaner and meaner.

                  #97728
                  Member
                  calciumsodium

                    We build the kernel using deb-pkg

                    Does the building of the kernel create both the linux-image and the linux-headers .deb files or are they created from two separate processes? Thank you for the education.

                    #97729
                    Forum Admin
                    anticapitalista

                      We build the kernel using deb-pkg

                      Does the building of the kernel create both the linux-image and the linux-headers .deb files or are they created from two separate processes? Thank you for the education.

                      They create both the linux-image and the linux-headers deb files and a firmware deb that we don’t use.

                      Philosophers have interpreted the world in many ways; the point is to change it.

                      antiX with runit - leaner and meaner.

                      #97737
                      Member
                      punranger

                        I was not aware of the build-iso tool, even though I have been following this forum for at least a year. This also cleared up a few misconceptions of mine. It is way beyond my capabilities to use the build-iso tool. But I learned a few interesting things that will be very helpful. Thank you so much for your detailed answer, @anticapitalista !

                        antiX linux: The best way to revive an old computer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCTaUAP6sSg

                        #97754
                        Forum Admin
                        anticapitalista

                          I should add that early antiX (we started in 2006) was quite ‘amateur’ in the sense that we were a ‘respin/remaster’ of MEPIS rather than an independent distro, Some of the present MX devs were instrumental in our early beginnings and Warren of MEPIS was totally supportive of what we were doing. This continued for a few years until BitJam joined the team and then we ‘took off’ on our own independent path.
                          BitJam’s coding has made antiX what it is today. He coded (as did Dave and his ‘desktop’) our ideas into reality (build-iso, live scripts including persistence, remaster and lots more). Without him antiX would have just remained an ‘amateur’ distro with great ideas and very little more.

                          I hope some of the ‘antiX old timers’ will join in this thread and add their own perspectives. There are people here today that have been with us right from our early beginnings. Sadly, one ‘old-timer’ from very soon after we started – skidoo – is no longer here and is sorely missed (RIP).

                          Philosophers have interpreted the world in many ways; the point is to change it.

                          antiX with runit - leaner and meaner.

                          #97756
                          Member
                          olsztyn

                            This continued for a few years until BitJam joined the team and then we ‘took off’ on our own independent path.
                            BitJam’s coding has made antiX what it is today. He coded (as did Dave and his ‘desktop’) our ideas into reality (build-iso, live scripts including persistence, remaster and lots more). Without him antiX would have just remained an ‘amateur’ distro with great ideas and very little more.

                            During my about four years with antiX I have always had great respect for BitJam for such intricate Live architecture contributions. But I had no idea he was instrumental in creating antiX as it has been known to me.
                            Thank you BitJam!

                            Live antiX Boot Options (Previously posted by Xecure):
                            http://antixlinuxfan.miraheze.org/wiki/Table_of_antiX_Boot_Parameters

                            #97769
                            Moderator
                            Brian Masinick

                              I’ve been around since the beginning.
                              My early interest in MEPIS started because of their efforts with Live CD technology, along with Kanotix, KNOPPIX, PCLinuxOS and antiX, among others.

                              I first heard of an early build of antiX and found it, like MEPIS, to be useful, usable and surprisingly stable, even in early Alpha builds, which allowed me to use both of them extensively during their testing cycle.

                              I am also discussed a few Debian Sid efforts, beginning with sidux, which over a few organization changes has become siduction.

                              MEPIS, antiX, sidux, MX Linux and siduction have at the foundation of my Debian usage. MEPIS always provided a stable system so I had a lot of freedom to experiment. With antiX, at various junctures I’ve been able to use it with Stable, Testing and Unstable Sid repositories. On a couple of occasions when I had at least two computers and between ten and twenty distribution partitions available, I was able to have as many as three antiX distributions, a standard release version, a rolling release style testing version and an experimental Core version.

                              Regarding the antiX Core version I created, it was a Sid implementation with a customized Xfce desktop. I was surprised one day to see an early version of MX Linux, because my private, custom Xfce implementation, except for the wallpaper and name was remarkably similar to the earliest version of MX Linux, which appeared about a year after the MEPIS effort ceased active development.

                              To this day I generally have at least one distribution that has a Debian Stable base. Today that’s always MX Linux, though antiX is often a stable base too. However MX Linux uses stable mainstream packages and a rock solid desktop.

                              While antiX is also very reliable and stable too, I always try new projects with antiX, ranging from the early inclusion of the runit scheduler, which went from a prototype to a solid alternative, thanks to Xecure and others.

                              More recently I’ve been trying out many of the creative ideas that PPC has created, ranging from yad packaging tools, the FT10 tint toolbars and the most recent implemented yad updater. I definitely reserve at least one system for the many user contributions provided by skidoo, Xecure, PPC and many others through the years. I even remember “Erie Fisher”, who used to test many of the early systems with the early adopters.

                              I’ve rarely developed anything, certainly nothing in a release, but I have tested and promoted every distribution and assisted forum users and most recently helped with moderator and anti spam efforts. I’m always testing and using antiX and the trilogy of Debian based distributions I keep to track Sid, Testing and stable versions.

                              I also use and follow several different web browsers and I have reported a few defects which I have usually found in test versions. I make sure that webmail, forum and browser technology works throughout the Debian (and Devuan nosystemd) infrastructure. Moreover I use both and make sure that usability is sustainable regardless of widely different graphical interfaces and process management.

                              I’m not much of a developer but I am a tester, a writer, coordinator, promotion (and peacemaker when necessary).

                              I hope it’s helping so that people with other skills are able to make the most of what they contribute too, especially the visionary and founder of this fabulous distribution.

                              --
                              Brian Masinick

                              #97770
                              Moderator
                              Brian Masinick

                                There have been a few other contributors in addition to Dave and bitjam. In the early days there were a couple of contributors who may not be remembered. I can’t remember their handles or names because we’ve been through a few archived forums through the years.

                                If we dug through code and old forums, though some code has been either replaced or highly refactored and redesigned, the creative solutions we’ve tried have certainly contributed and influenced the ideas and paths we’ve taken.

                                If I find a name or remember anyone else I will mention them. I know that Adrian and Dolphin Oracle who do a lot with MX Linux have been important to our history too.

                                A couple of the guys in the MEPIS Lovers Forum used to build their own custom respins. I remember them building a few desktop and light window manager configurations, something we’d do and compare our “experiments” on both MEPIS and antiX.

                                --
                                Brian Masinick

                                #137007
                                Member
                                ProwlerGr

                                  A good mine of info in this thread…

                                  @anticapitalista, I was thinking would it be somewhat easier if all efforts with polishing & testing were done on one iso (antiX-full) & the base & core versions were created from stripping out packages from the full version (Window managers, translations, inits, other software etc)?

                                  I am thinking that this way all software & translations has been already tested together, just removed from the ‘leaner’ iso’s, especially if the future releases incorporate multiple inits.

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