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Old 08-11-2009, 01:18 AM   #1
Fahque99
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Custom Linux


Hi, I am looking for information for building a custom GUI interface that the computer auto boots to with linux. I know how to do it with DOS with a simple graphics program and a autoexec.bat edit, but I am not to sure where to start with linux. I have seen a few graphics libs for the GUI, but I am not sure what would be needed with a distro. Would a graphics program made with the SLD lib work in just a command line boot of linux with no gui? What packages would I need it the linux distro? Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

Dave.
 
Old 08-11-2009, 01:33 AM   #2
i92guboj
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It's certainly possible to build a GUI that will work outside X, if that's what you mean. For that the first thing you need is to enable the framebuffer for your console, most pre-made distros do that by default.

What we would need is to know more about your true finality. Do you want to boot to a desktop environment or are you planing to develop some kind of custom sdl based interface that will serve as a launcher or what? Mind that most graphical programs will not work on a framebuffer environment, and will require X to run. If you really want to go without a graphics server on a framebuffer-only-console you are going to have to be very selective and research on what applications you will be using, because other than command line tools, your possibilities will be *quite* limited.

I'd say try to describe a bit better what do you exactly want.

If that helps you, describe what did you develop or did with DOS, I can perfectly understand DOS BAT scripts.

Last edited by i92guboj; 08-11-2009 at 01:35 AM.
 
Old 08-11-2009, 02:01 AM   #3
Fahque99
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What I am looking to make is a custom graphical interface to work with the serial/parallel ports to interface with a microcontroller. I want it to be slim and fast booting (so no standard Linux GUI). I would also like the Ethernet connection to work.
 
Old 08-11-2009, 07:18 AM   #4
dezza
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Wouldn't ncurses do the job for that?
 
Old 08-11-2009, 09:07 AM   #5
Fahque99
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I had a look at ncurses but I want to use graphics for my interface not just text
 
Old 08-11-2009, 09:11 AM   #6
Fahque99
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I think that I want to use SDL for the graphics lib but I dont know if a SDL program can be ran without a linux GUI starting first.
 
Old 08-11-2009, 09:16 AM   #7
linus72
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You mean a gui after it boots into the os, or a gui before it boots, ?

Couldn't he use a tiling console wm like venom or what's it called?
 
Old 08-11-2009, 10:41 AM   #8
i92guboj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fahque99 View Post
What I am looking to make is a custom graphical interface to work with the serial/parallel ports to interface with a microcontroller. I want it to be slim and fast booting (so no standard Linux GUI). I would also like the Ethernet connection to work.
Ok. Now I have a much clearer vision of your problem.

You can do this in console, no problem. SDL has at least two different framebuffer driver (fbcon and directfb), so that's no problem. If your application is going to be built around sdl, you should be able to run it on command line as long as you have a working framebuffer setup (as said, most distros do, and even if you decide to roll your own using Gentoo or LFS it is very easy to set up).

Examples of programs that run under console using the framebuffer for graphics are links (with the -g option), fbsee, mplayer and a few others.

Tiling wm's like *ratpoison*, xmonad or stumpwm are for X, so that's out of the question. Maybe the guy above meant gnu screen, which is kind of a wm for text-only environments, however that's not going to help you with the graphics support. It's just a convenient way to multiplex multiple shell sessions.

So, the way to go is framebuffer+sdl. Allegro also provides means to do this so you might want to check "sdl vs. allegro". There are probably other ways as well. However the good thing about sdl is that it works in a number of environments. If one day you decide to run your program under X you will also be able to, or under many other OSes. I don't think allegro is that portable.

QTopia runs under framebuffer on portable devices, so that might worth a check as well if you are familiar with qt.

Last edited by i92guboj; 08-11-2009 at 10:43 AM.
 
Old 08-11-2009, 10:48 AM   #9
linus72
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OH i92guboj, I was talking about a wm that runs in the console, no X
I can't remeber it's name, a Member here made it, it starts with a V like venomx or something

A great distro to find command line apps is grml full 2009
http://grml.org/

it's got lots of small wm's too, jsut all kinds of command line stuff
 
Old 08-11-2009, 10:54 AM   #10
linus72
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I found it
http://vwm.sourceforge.net/

I don't know about SDL
my portable-qemu uses SDL too
 
Old 08-11-2009, 07:23 PM   #11
Fahque99
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i92guboj if I use LFS to make a distro what would be the min items to add to be able to run command line graphics programs, network, and compile the software?
 
Old 08-12-2009, 11:01 AM   #12
i92guboj
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The basic LFS install will give you all of that, except maybe the framebuffer stuff (I don't remember about that). However that's not complicated to set up. If you manage to compile and set up linux from scratch then setting the framebuffer thing is the lesser of your problems, that's for sure. It only involves compiling your kernel with the framebuffer enabled and passing the right parameters to your kernel at boot time, via grub or lilo.

Besides that you will need to install libsdl and maybe some other sdl components, depending on what do you exactly want to use to develop your tool. The compiler will already be installed, since LFS is "linux from scratch", and you will have to compile every component of it.

However, if you are not limited by storage capacity, I'd suggest Gentoo instead. It's very well documented and it has a package manager, which means "dependency resolution", which LFS has not. I know gentoo rather well and I would be able to help you better in Gentoo than in LFS as well.
 
Old 08-12-2009, 06:42 PM   #13
Fahque99
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Which gentoo distro would you recommend that I start with? As you can tell I am a beginner at linux, I have installed a few distros before, and learned some of the bash commands, but thats about as far as I have gone. Would it make much of a difference speed wise if I used a older version of gentoo?
 
Old 08-12-2009, 07:18 PM   #14
i92guboj
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In Gentoo there aren't numbered versions. Unlike binary distros, source based ones can last for an eternity without a reinstall, because when the ABI of some programs break due to an updated library you can just recompile them and everything is fixed.

The livecd will come with a version number, but that's irrelevant, nothing from the livecd goes on your install, it's just a way to boot a linux system from which to operate to install Gentoo.

It's not that newcomers can't use Gentoo, I know from first hand that some people without previous experience with linux have managed to get it working, it's just a matter of knowing how to read the handbook. However, you might want to try a binary distro like mandriva, suse, ubuntu or fedora first. As said, unless you are really limited space-wise there's no need to roll your own distro using Gentoo or LFS. It would be quite a learning experience though.
 
Old 08-13-2009, 01:04 AM   #15
Fahque99
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Would a distro like DSL or puppy linux work? Or are they to slimmed down?
 
  


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