ROCKThis forum is for the discussion of ROCK Linux.
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"ROCK Linux" is a type of Linux distribution, which not 99.95% of us have.
By "it" Warder mean the specific "ROCK Linux"
And let's not be so precise and so innaccurate.
99.95% is a silly number in that respect.
ROCK Linux is a distribution build kit. One can build a variety of distributions from source with a few simple steps (and loads of hard disc space, RAM and MHz). One idea of ROCK is to make the whole build process easily customizable, so theoretically you can create any distribution you want.
Usually a basic understanding of the build process, a bit of shell scripting and appropriate knowledge about the software you want to customize (kernel, X11, SysV-init, ...) is all that's required. To make things even easier, many common customizations can be applied using an extensible, menu-based configuration script.
ROCK works on many architectures and is pretty portable. It can also cross-compile on one architecture for another and do parallel (cluster) builds.
I've been using Crystal (formerly Desktop) ROCK, the "general purpose distribution", for nearly three years. The functionality is comparable to other state-of-the-art Linux distros, which is no surprise since the underlying software components are basically and in most cases the same.
From time to time I build the distro myself and update my main Linux system. For installation on other PCs I use ROCK to create bootable floppies and CDs. The ROCK scripts also support building ('emerging') single packages from source into an already existing Linux OS.
There's also a very nice Live CD available which I use for rescue and demonstration purposes.
Packages (single or as part of a distro) are created in .tar.bz2 or the ROCK specific .gem format. A package manager (bize resp. mine) is available for each format.
System configuration and administration is based on standard configuration files and tools. The idea is to give admins complete control over all aspects of system configuration. stone, the menu-based setup tool, is a shortcut for common tasks, but everything that stone does can also be done on the command line. Ready-to-use SysV init scripts are provided and network interfaces can be configured using rocknet.
IMHO, the major fallback of any linux distribution is combination ease of deployment, ease of administration, and ease of use. Many have 1 or 2 of the above, but implementing that 3rd is what will continue to help M$ maintain their near-monopoly in the desktop and office environments. If ROCK linux can result in an "all-in-one" distribution, then all the power to it.
Let me elaborate on my example;
Ease of deployment = installation and configuration: Most methods of installing linux consist of either almost dummy-proof graphical installer or poweruser friendly "do everything yourself" installation method.
What would help? How about advanced configuration options without having to delve into text files and otherwise (Although I'm sure there are many gurus out there cringing at the thought of checkboxes and radial selections to configure daemons such as Samba or Apache)
Ease of Administration = updating and upgrading: Too often does a software get released and days later have a critical patch or new version available. Although this is the among the most important features that makes linux so reliable, it is not always as easy to apply said patches or upgrades without further package requirements or configuration changes. APT and RPM (among others, I'm sure) do indeed help improve matters, however they are not always combined with the other 2 points, hence it had to be mentioned.
Ease of Use = New User 'Friendlyness': Sit a new user in front of a linux box and say "Go and be free". How long before this user comes back and says "I need help", or, for those among us who are self taught, countless hours reading howto's, man pages, and FAQ's. Furthermore, most linux users become as such because of a desire for more from their PC, not because it was pre-installed on it (although with good marketing; it could, and does, happen: Lindows anyone?).
What could really help improve visibility to Linux in the marketplace is a "What this program does" document. Maybe they exist and I've overlooked them, but the simple fact that they can be overlooked is what holds it back.
I use Debian, because I've weighed the pros and cons of different distributions. For me, this feels right, though I'll be first to admit that I've had plenty of occasions where I wish the desk had a pillowtop, bruises on the forehead are hard to cover up... Produce me a linux distribution that combines all of the above, and most of which using a graphical desktop environment (and don't give me this "Gnome or KDE or WindowMaker or XFCE or ...." crap, MAC and MS don't insist on confusing new users with it, just make a decision and stick with it.)
My distro wish list includes:
Single CD installation. Most people feel intimidated downloading 5CDs, not to mention that by the time you've downloaded them and found time to install, they're likely outdated. Give me a lovely graphical installer that detects my hardware and uses my internet connection to download all current software (CD would only need NIC modules and basic system +install interface INCLUDING choice of basic or advanced options, to suit everyone).
Point, click, patched. APT-like updating and installation of packages. Let's not quit here though, let's actually recommend a specific application for a specific task, with full description of functionality, and allow "advanced" option of installing alternative packages.
Impossible to break system. Too often do you hear "DO NOT USE ROOT FOR NORMAL DAY TO DAY USE", but how am I supposed to do everything I want without having to "sudo" it or enter the root password anyways? Average users do not need to install programs, but when they want to, why not allow them to install it locally to their profile or with limited functionality that can be enabled by an administrator. "You can install this program, but in order to use such and such functionality, you will need to have a system administrator enable it", even if 'such and such' includes everything that would make it desired, cool stuff.
I'm done my rant. For those of you who actually took the time to read the whole thing, my thanks.
I think ROCK goes and is on the way to provide his own solution for this 3 requirements above.
But my three reasons to use ROCK are:
1. Since I use ROCK, my system never missed a dependency when I want to build some exotic software from the www. There is a ease to compile with ROCK.
2. It is a distribution where the user can learn a lot of things about bash programming and system administration. It is easy to learn something about a GNU/Linux system with ROCK.
3. ROCK is customizable and has an open development process.
So how does Rock stand for a complete newbie. My laptop is getting old and things aren't working like they used to. I finally got fed up with windows. I use my computer mostly for media and the internet, sometimes games, but i am also a bit curious about coding and I generally want to be able to see/know how the stuff i use works. and, though i like to have one, i dont want to be tied down to a GUI all the time especially disracting, interactive, "user friendly", unnecessary crap. I basically dont like to have a bunch of stuff on my computer that i dont use, wasted space, it feels like dead ends in a maze, but as a newbie im not sure yet what i need when installing linux. Is there a decent amount of information at installation, and is it fairly easy to add/remove stuff down the line? You say it is customizable, but do i have to really know what im doing to get it to do what i want?
I'm working with slackware and having some issues (esp. usb), but when i use the eLearniX liveCD it runs pretty smooth. so im asuming slackware doesn't like my comp and looking for a full time dist. that does. I have stayed away from the mainstream distributions for fear that it would be windows all over again and i wouldn't be able to actually learn about linux. the 3 requirements by appollo are Very familiar to me at this point, and i have felt a bit of frustration in each one. Plus i never actually heard "DO NOT USE ROOT FOR NORMAL DAY TO DAY USE" though i picked up on it after a while, it would have been nice to have that included in the installation.
Well I think im going to give Rock a try tomarrow. Any answers/advice/ellaboration would be greatly appreciated.
Originally posted by sfumato So how does Rock stand for a complete newbie. My laptop is getting old and things aren't working like they used to. I finally got fed up with windows. I use my computer mostly for media and the internet, sometimes games, but i am also a bit curious about coding and I generally want to be able to see/know how the stuff i use works. and, though i like to have one, i dont want to be tied down to a GUI all the time especially disracting, interactive, "user friendly", unnecessary crap. I basically dont like to have a bunch of stuff on my computer that i dont use, wasted space, it feels like dead ends in a maze, but as a newbie im not sure yet what i need when installing linux. Is there a decent amount of information at installation, and is it fairly easy to add/remove stuff down the line? You say it is customizable, but do i have to really know what im doing to get it to do what i want?
I wouldn't recommend ROCK for someone new to Linux. I can understand your "fear" of mainstream distributions but they are greatly suited for getting your first steps done without becoming frustrated. Personally, I'd recommend retail versions of Debian and SuSE/Red Hat because they come with a lot of information on Dead Tree which is invaluable for a novice.
Originally posted by sfumato Is there a decent amount of information at installation, and is it fairly easy to add/remove stuff down the line? You say it is customizable, but do i have to really know what im doing to get it to do what i want?
Burning an ISO image of a prebuilt Crystal (Desktop) distribution to a CD or DVD gives you a bootable disc with basic system programs and the most common "general-purpose" applications (including the KDE desktop environment).
The bootable disc offers a menu-based installation process, straight-forward for the usual installation. There's also a shell available during installation for special purposes (e.g. system recovery).
Information during installation is minimal, more is available online (e.g. at www.rocklinux.org). A second computer with internet access may be helpful.
You can choose which packages are installed, and install/remove packages later using e.g. 'mine'. If your system becomes unusable because of a missing package, you can always use the bootable disc to install it.
It is most important to choose the right partition for installation and setup the boot manager properly. Otherwise you might delete your favorite partition or make your system unbootable.
Once installed, you can customize your OS starting from the default configuration files. Some programs come with their own setup tools, e.g. swat for samba, xf86cfg for XFree86, and the KDE control center. There's also 'stone', a menu-based tool for common configuration tasks.
Theoretically you could change any distribution to anything you like (given you have the source code of every package). By definition, building a package from source code gives you full control over the package. The ROCK distribution build kit automates the process of building packages from sources while still allowing you to modify the build process in any way you like.
Simple customizations can be made easily, while complex customizations are usually more difficult.
You can update packages later on by rebuilding them using the customized build process. It is one of the main advantages of ROCK Linux that rebuilding even a large distribution from sources (e.g. when new versions are available) using a custom build procedure is a matter of three simple steps: Config, Download, Build.
Once you've found out how to change something on your installed Linux system, you might want to know how you can apply these changes to your customized build procedure so they are used whenever you rebuild packages from sources. Asking here at the LinuxQuestions forum may help.
I just thought that I would mention my home PC has been running nothing but Linux for a few years now. And yes, I have upgraded my hardware. Also, seems a bit irrational to think that everyone uses linux just to take out m$, my two cents.