LinuxQuestions.org
Visit Jeremy's Blog.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Distributions > ROCK
User Name
Password
ROCK This forum is for the discussion of ROCK Linux.

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 09-27-2005, 08:06 AM   #1
blindcoder
ROCK Linux
 
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Berlin, Germany
Distribution: Crystal ROCK
Posts: 108

Rep: Reputation: 15
Exclamation What is ROCK Linux?


For the crazy and lazy, here's a very short summary from Tobias 'th' Hintze, maintainer of the ROCK Linux stable tree:
Quote:
20:19 < th> the point is that rock is not a distribution. it's a tool to build distributions on your own.
20:19 < th> and then there is crystal - a full featured reference distribution
And here's the longer explanation, taken from http://doc.rocklinux.org/wiki/WhatIsROCK:

ROCK Linux is a distribution build kit, a group of tools to build GNU/Linux distributions from source. It comes with a set of predefined distributions like the Crystal ROCK desktop target or the small, bootable bootdisk target, and allows users to easily customize the build process or create new targets.

The distributions that ROCK Linux generates are often called ROCK Linux themselves, although the term ROCK Linux based distribution is more appropriate.

In a way ROCK Linux is a tool for managing OS solutions. It comes with the package managers mine and bize, the rocket tool for updates over network, and the ability to build (emerge) single packages into an existing Linux OS. For system administrators, a setup tool (stone) and reasonable System V style init scripts as well as other configuration files are provided.

Currently, two major versions of ROCK Linux are available and worked on: The Stable Tree 2.0, maintained by Tobias Hintze, and the Unstable Tree Trunk, as always maintained by Clifford Wolf.
 
Old 09-27-2005, 08:17 AM   #2
SlackerLX
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Herzliyya, Israel
Distribution: SuSE 10.1; Testing Distros
Posts: 1,834

Rep: Reputation: 47
Here is also a good one given by O'Reilly
http://linux.oreillynet.com/lpt/a//l...4/27/rock.html
 
Old 09-27-2005, 09:00 AM   #3
blindcoder
ROCK Linux
 
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Berlin, Germany
Distribution: Crystal ROCK
Posts: 108

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally posted by SlackerLX
Here is also a good one given by O'Reilly
http://linux.oreillynet.com/lpt/a//l...4/27/rock.html
Please note that while this review is over four years old it still holds true for "philosophy" of ROCK but not necessarily for the current status quo of maintenance.
For example, there is a package format now (called "gem"), although it's only tar.bz2 with a bit of metadata.
Also, there are now regular "unofficial" builds of Crystal (the reference distribution). These are made by ROCK developers but are deemed "unofficial" as they are not made by the tree maintainer (th for -stable, clifford for -unstable).

Greetings,
Benjamin
 
Old 09-27-2005, 09:08 AM   #4
SlackerLX
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Herzliyya, Israel
Distribution: SuSE 10.1; Testing Distros
Posts: 1,834

Rep: Reputation: 47
Quote:
Originally posted by blindcoder
Please note that while this review is over four years old it still holds true for "philosophy" of ROCK but not necessarily for the current status quo of maintenance.
I think the point of that review is clear as diamond:

ROCK is a distribution build kit, or in other words, a software development toolkit for building OS solutions. You can configure your personal build of ROCK and easily build your own distribution directly from source code
 
Old 09-27-2005, 11:33 PM   #5
stf
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Austria, near Vienna
Distribution: Rock Linux
Posts: 7

Rep: Reputation: 0
Quote:
Originally posted by SlackerLX
Here is also a good one given by O'Reilly
http://linux.oreillynet.com/lpt/a//l...4/27/rock.html
The abovementioned review written by Clifford Wolf, the original ROCK Linux author, is a good explanation of the "principles" of ROCK. With respect to current development status it's a bit outdated:
  • Base and extension distribution now have a different meaning: packages that were part of the base distribution are now located in the base repository, Other packages are grouped in other repositories (e.g. x11, kde), and can be used to "extend" your distribution of choice.
    Additionally all packages flagged as CORE are used for the Crystal "general purpose" distribution.
  • Sub-distributions are now called targets. In ROCK terminology, you build a target to create the respective distribution. The following targets are included in the ROCK development tree:
    - Boot-, Install- and Rescue-System
    - Crystal ROCK (The general purpose distribution)
    - ROCK Linux for VIA EPIA M
    - Generic ROCK Linux (a target without special adaptions)
    - Live CD-ROM system
    - LVP (a Live CD Video Player)
    - Reference-Build for creating *.cache files (for ROCK tree maintainers)
    - Advanced rescue-system-in-a-tar
    - ROCK Router Linux
    Each target can be customized before it is built.
  • stone is a configuration tool that provides shortcuts for common administrative tasks. There is no need to use it, however. Everything can be done without stone as well.
  • stone can also help with disk partitioning and package selection during installation. Again, everything can be done manually as well.
  • blindcoder already mentioned the gem package format and binary distributions for the development tree.
 
Old 09-29-2005, 02:28 AM   #6
smurff
Member
 
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: England
Distribution: Mandriva 2005LE / Whitebox
Posts: 48

Rep: Reputation: 15
Hi

Just out of interest, what are the main benefits over the 100s of other distributions?

I like to try them all

Kind regards and welcome
Smurff
 
Old 09-29-2005, 05:22 AM   #7
blindcoder
ROCK Linux
 
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Berlin, Germany
Distribution: Crystal ROCK
Posts: 108

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
From best to not-quite-best advantages:
- You can build your own distribution.
This can mean building a LiveCD/DVD with a barebones system or with KDE, GNOME, XFCE and fluxbox on it up to creating a distribution specifically targeted at gamers.
And the best thing is: Once you've created it, recreating the distribution (because new versions came out, for example) is a matter of running three commands:
Code:
root@foobar:/usr/src/rock-src/# ./scripts/Config -cfg mydistribution
root@foobar:/usr/src/rock-src/# ./scripts/Download -cfg mydistribution -required
root@foobar:/usr/src/rock-src/# ./scripts/Build-Target -cfg mydistribution
- You don't have "helpful" configuration programs that choke on a more complex configuration or even - god forbid! - hand made changes to config files!
Though there is a configuration tool called stone which can help you in installing/setting up your system, you don't have to use it. And it also won't overwrite your carefully tuned, hand-crafted and with a dozen complex configurations added httpd.conf with one it automatically creates from some obscure information that you have to add into a GUI.
- And - if you're so inclined - you can also make compile time optimizations to the applications for your CPU specifically.
Well, not that there is much noticeable difference to me...

Oh, I almost forgot: If you want to get your distribution included in the ROCK source tree or want to maintain a few packages or otherwise become a ROCK developer there's just one thing you have to do: Submit a patch.
 
Old 09-30-2005, 03:29 AM   #8
1kyle
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: 'Ol Blighty
Distribution: SLED 10, SUSE 10.3
Posts: 722

Rep: Reputation: 32
This comment from the O'reilly reference probably re-inforces the main perception about System Administrators by Users.

That is a big improvement if you happen to be such an end-user. But it does not help you much if you are an administrator. In most cases an administrator spends a lot of time disabling all the user-friendly functionality of modern distributions.


The philosphy of building up a Rock Solid system from scratch with all the functionality you require is fine --but why on Earth would a System Administrator want to remove "User Friendly" features --surely other than just wanting to hold on to their jobs (I.T has been going through Dire times recently with typical contracts paying around half of what they were three or 4 years ago and outsourcing to India etc reducing hugely the number of jobs now on offer in Europe and the US) there is NO point in hiding "User Friendly" features.

It would be like buying a complicated piece of machinery and not being allowed to have the instruction manual --you'd need to hire an Engineer every time you wanted to switch the gear on.

I like the idea of this Rock Linux --but do draw a line at the O'reilly article suggesting that the adminitrator's function these days is to disable all the user friendly functions (making their jobs SEEM safer --although it doesn't actually work like that in practice.

Cheers

-K
 
Old 09-30-2005, 04:26 AM   #9
blindcoder
ROCK Linux
 
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Berlin, Germany
Distribution: Crystal ROCK
Posts: 108

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
It would be like buying a complicated piece of machinery and not being allowed to have the instruction manual --you'd need to hire an Engineer every time you wanted to switch the gear on.
No, it would be like getting a Server with webmin installed but wanting to use an apache module that webmin can't handle.
The reason is that these "userfriendly" tools often get in your way of doing complex things which is why you want to disable them.
The comparison to the missing manual is wrong, since /usr/share/doc as well as man and info pages do exist with ROCK


Greetings,
Benjamin
 
Old 09-30-2005, 06:11 AM   #10
1kyle
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: 'Ol Blighty
Distribution: SLED 10, SUSE 10.3
Posts: 722

Rep: Reputation: 32
Hi for the ADMIN guys --I agree --GUI's etc can get in the way -- however the way the O'reilley article was written was to imply that "User Friendly" apps were removed for the USER as well.

Actually on a server it probably isn't any point in even having a GUI (KDE/GNOME etc etc) anyway.

None of my comments was to detract against the idea of ROCK linux -- but isn't this the same as "Linux From Scratch" or "Damn Small Linux" --both these are essentially "Roll your Own" versions as well.

I do tend to think that some modern distros have become somewhat "Bloatware" even though SUSE for example is certinly stable enough for servers etc.

If you make your system TOO specialized then any upgrades / changes will become horrendous so some sort of standardisation should be encouraged.

However I'm going to be interested in how this pans out.

Cheers

-K
 
Old 10-02-2005, 03:37 AM   #11
MS-outLINUX-in!
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Riga, Latvia
Distribution: Debian (Testing/Stable), Slackware current
Posts: 27

Rep: Reputation: 15
ROCK appears interesting and useful and I would try it. There might be similar distros, but not identical - every distro has it's own gap...
In fact I use Debian now. Why? Because it has time saving updating and/or security patching.
Do distributions built by ROCK/(GNU)/Linux have more or less automated updates? For example a new kernel comes out. There is this custom built distro by ROCK/(GNU)/Linux (with an old kernel). Surely it would be interesting to update that in a way as short and easy as possible... Are patches for custom distributions prepared by ROCK people or it is up to the user to comile and implement them?
 
Old 10-02-2005, 03:52 AM   #12
SlackerLX
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Herzliyya, Israel
Distribution: SuSE 10.1; Testing Distros
Posts: 1,834

Rep: Reputation: 47
You may want to try out this Live CD first. It comes with full KDE desktop and some other applications like MPlayer, xine and other goodies!
http://iso.rocklinux.de/rock-ftp/uno...mx-rev4860.iso
 
Old 10-03-2005, 08:00 AM   #13
stf
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Austria, near Vienna
Distribution: Rock Linux
Posts: 7

Rep: Reputation: 0
Quote:
Originally posted by 1kyle
It would be like buying a complicated piece of machinery and not being allowed to have the instruction manual --you'd need to hire an Engineer every time you wanted to switch the gear on.
It would be more like a car where users can change tires, check oil pressure, etc. If you wanted to tune the engine or exchange the gear, you'd have to be a mechanic (a "system administrator"), or at least know enough about what you do.

The point is ROCK Linux doesn't lock away complex configurations from administrators. There's no blackbox around the engine that only allows you to turn a screw here and there. You have complete access by directly modifying the configuration files of the programs you want to administer.
Quote:
Originally posted by 1kyle
None of my comments was to detract against the idea of ROCK linux -- but isn't this the same as "Linux From Scratch" or "Damn Small Linux" --both these are essentially "Roll your Own" versions as well.
A difference to "Linux From Scratch" is the highly automated build system. To (re-)build a distribution with ROCK you simply type
Code:
root@foobar:/usr/src/rock-src/# ./scripts/Config -cfg mydistro
root@foobar:/usr/src/rock-src/# ./scripts/Download -cfg mydistro -required
root@foobar:/usr/src/rock-src/# ./scripts/Build-Target -cfg mydistro
The build system is "generic": highly configurable and easily extensible, either through the menu-based Config script, the configuration files for each package or with a bit of shell (bash) hacking.
 
Old 10-29-2005, 05:39 PM   #14
gargamel
Senior Member
 
Registered: May 2003
Distribution: Slackware, SLAX, OpenSuSE
Posts: 1,593

Rep: Reputation: 142Reputation: 142
MS-outLINUX-in!'s questions is quite good:

ROCK has packages. But what's the strategy to make keeping targets up-to-date easy enough for end-users?

How would one install security patches on a target distribution? Is there a package updater?

I suppose that the creator of the target would have to build a new version of the package, diff it with the old version and create a patch, and make the patch available to the end-user of the target, right? (After some testing, hopefully...)

Doesn't that mean, that packages can only be maintained by the maintainer of the whole target?

The effect would be: While maintaining the packages for the source (ie ROCK) could be delegated to an arbitrary number of people located anywhere, the maintenance of packages for target distributions cannot.

I'm probably wrong. So, how are packages on targets kept up-to-date? Is there any tool support like SuSE's YOU (YaST Online Update) or Slackware's slackpkg included with a target? And where can an end-user download patches that won't spoil his installed system?

gargamel
 
Old 10-31-2005, 01:05 AM   #15
blindcoder
ROCK Linux
 
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Berlin, Germany
Distribution: Crystal ROCK
Posts: 108

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally posted by gargamel
ROCK has packages. But what's the strategy to make keeping targets up-to-date easy enough for end-users?
How would one install security patches on a target distribution? Is there a package updater?

Doesn't that mean, that packages can only be maintained by the maintainer of the whole target?
First, sorry for the late reply, I've been to Linux Info Day in Dresden for the last three days.

There is a tool called "rocket" which is similiar to debians "apt-get" in terms of updating. Using this tool, one can rebuild the packages manually or install from a binary package which can be fetched using curl (http/ftp).


HTH,
Benjamin

btw: opening new threads for new questions is not looked down upon
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Welcome to the ROCK Linux Forum jeremy ROCK 5 10-12-2005 01:01 AM
ROCK Talk at Linux Info Tag in Dresden blindcoder ROCK 1 10-10-2005 10:06 AM
Rock Linux -- does it rock ?? rolando Linux - Distributions 2 10-10-2004 01:52 PM
ppp & Rock Linux Configuration TheBman Linux - Networking 0 12-12-2003 09:52 PM
I hit a rock linux gilkyboy Linux - Newbie 3 02-05-2002 09:50 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:10 AM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration