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I decided to post a little introduction to myself here: Ask me who I was last March, and I would have had WinBloze 7 Beta on my main computer and would have been part of Micro$uck's test project for WinBloze 7 and would have been excited about it. However, that changed as soon as my network adapter changed and the new one worked with Linux. As soon as I tested the new adapter with Mint (I'd say about a year ago, in July 2009) I began to really value Linux for what it is.

However, I knew about Linux long before that. I started with gOS 2, which was my first distro. I had tried it back in about February 2008. I first learned about Linux back in mid-2007, from an article in PCMag that spanned several pages. I had quite a hard time back then, and Ubuntu Hardy was no different than gOS.

So then what took me so long from knowing about Linux to finally becoming an active user? My house was nothing but Wi-Fi. My mother set a secure wireless network up back then, and I couldn't connect to it because my adapter (Linksys WUSB54GSC) wasn't recognized by Linux. I had the patience to continue.

Then, in June 2008, my family got hit by the economic collapse here in the USA: The mortgage on my old house doubled and my family had to leave because of the rate increase. So, we were stuck in a hotel room until my family and I could end up in a new house. That Christmas, I wanted a netbook, and got my wish (the one I'm typing on, an Acer Aspire One AOA110-1545). It came with Linux preinstalled, and I liked it all around.

From then to June 2009, I still had WinBloze on my desktop, as Linux still didn't work with my wireless network adapter. Then, in June 2009 as I said, I got a new wireless network adapter, and in July decided to test it with Linux Mint 7. It worked, even from the Live CD! Now,

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The perfect Linux distro: One with a GUI packed into the initrd

Posted 01-01-2011 at 01:17 PM by Kenny_Strawn

Here's a brilliant idea: What if one of us created a Linux distro with a GUI (and all its dependencies) packed into the initrd and hard-coded into the "init" shell script in its top level as such that it runs at the kernel level? There goes the argument by Windoze geeks that Linux is like DOS.

First, we would have to use a version of the command used to make the initrd that has hook support. That means we would need to base it off of Arch and then define a hook to pass to mkinitcpio called "gui" that installs either X or Wayland along with a desktop environment into the initrd.

Then, we would unpack the initrd and edit the "init" script in the top level of the initrd so that the first thing that loads is the GUI and boot splash (probably XSplash). Then, once the computer boots and the initrd is fully loaded we symlink /sbin/init to /bin/bash so that the shell is loaded after the GUI so that other applications can run.

How do you guys think of this idea?
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 18868 Comments 17
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Total Comments 17


  1. Old Comment
    What about Tiny Core Linux?
    Posted 01-01-2011 at 02:35 PM by crosstalk crosstalk is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Yeah, I would have thought of that, but even its GUI doesn't run in kernel space, which is what this would do.
    Posted 01-01-2011 at 02:48 PM by Kenny_Strawn Kenny_Strawn is offline
  3. Old Comment
    How would your idea make the GUI run in kernel space?

    I do recall one project (I think it was a one-person project) that attempted to put the window manager in the kernel. However, it is not very widely known (IIRC).
    Posted 01-01-2011 at 02:52 PM by crosstalk crosstalk is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Posted 01-01-2011 at 03:28 PM by crosstalk crosstalk is offline
  5. Old Comment
    By packing the GUI into the initial ramdisk and then hard-coding it into the 'init' script in the initial ramdisk's top level directory, you essentially tell the kernel to load the GUI as soon as the initrd is unpacked, which is before the main root filesystem is mounted.
    Posted 01-01-2011 at 04:01 PM by Kenny_Strawn Kenny_Strawn is offline
  6. Old Comment
    True, but it still runs in userspace.
    Posted 01-01-2011 at 04:12 PM by crosstalk crosstalk is offline
  7. Old Comment
    What's the benefit of running the GUI in kernel space?
    Posted 01-05-2011 at 09:21 AM by MTK358 MTK358 is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by MTK358 View Comment
    What's the benefit of running the GUI in kernel space?
    The fact that criticism from Windows users about Linux being like DOS will then become invalid.
    Posted 01-05-2011 at 06:50 PM by Kenny_Strawn Kenny_Strawn is offline
  9. Old Comment
    Nah, Linux is like what Powershell is trying desperately hard to be.
    Posted 01-05-2011 at 11:18 PM by rich_c rich_c is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Well, yes, good point. Apparently M$ Powershell was originally codenamed MSh but in my opinion it's definitely crap. It is an improvement over the C-prompt, but it still doesn't do all the things GNU Bash does.

    It does not have a Substitution Syntax nor does it have very many other major things that make Linux so incredible. It's merely a frontend for C# that is merely a developer interface. It does nothing but allow scripting on top of the features that the C-prompt allows.
    Posted 01-06-2011 at 08:56 AM by Kenny_Strawn Kenny_Strawn is offline
  11. Old Comment
    Bash scripting vs. C# scripting.... their both scripting. In-fact, if it is just a front end to C# then text manipulations, finds, etc. are trivial to a windows developer using C#. It may be just as useful as awk/sed/grep/find/bc/etc. in a bash script. However, this argument is just as well said that they already had VB script that Windows XP could execute without issues.

    If linux didn't have awk/sed/grep/find/bc/etc. then bash really wouldn't be that powerful at all. Granted, it's an improvement over the dos prompt as it supports standard loops and decision statements.
    Posted 01-06-2011 at 10:22 PM by lumak lumak is offline
  12. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by Kenny_Strawn
    The fact that criticism from Windows users about Linux being like DOS will then become invalid.
    Umm...I believe these criticisms are in reference to the fact that a lot of things are more quickly done with the CLI in Linux-based OSes, not the underlying architecture. If you ask me shifting the WM/GUI to kernel space would just be doing more harm than good; including a WM with the kernel would severely limit the choices you have as far as how you can customize your GUI. It would be almost, in essence, making Linux more like Windows in the wrong way...
    Posted 01-06-2011 at 10:23 PM by MrCode MrCode is offline
    Updated 01-06-2011 at 10:24 PM by MrCode
  13. Old Comment
    Who cares what Windows users think?
    Posted 01-07-2011 at 01:10 AM by lupusarcanus lupusarcanus is offline
  14. Old Comment
    True; who *does* care what Windows users think. Oh, wait! What happened to the market share argument? Because Windows has more market share than Linux it *must* die.
    Posted 01-08-2011 at 01:18 PM by Kenny_Strawn Kenny_Strawn is offline
  15. Old Comment
    Posted 01-08-2011 at 09:33 PM by lupusarcanus lupusarcanus is offline
  16. Old Comment
    Because as I said (1) it has more market share than Linux and (2) it's proprietary software.
    Posted 01-10-2011 at 06:44 PM by Kenny_Strawn Kenny_Strawn is offline
  17. Old Comment
    That doesn't make much sense to me.
    Posted 01-10-2011 at 07:20 PM by lupusarcanus lupusarcanus is offline


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