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Old 12-20-2017, 10:19 AM   #1
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A BOINC specific distro

I have brought this up many times to many people over the years and most agree "Yeah, we really need that." So far it has never gone to the point of someone adding a script or whatever to their ordinary "Live" build process to make it happen.

For those unfamiliar with it, there is a rather large BOINC user base giving back to the universe and what-not. Who knows? The cancer I help cure could be my own some day?

When the system was originally conceived PCs were real expensive so it was designed to run politely in the background of your one and only desktop. Today, most of us have lots of cast-offs and extras. I personally have a two-level workbench where I setup the machines I'm not currently using on any project and let them run BOINC. One is a really nice AMD 6-core, but, the rest are older machines. I am in the habit of keeping my machines busy because I lived through the era which probably still exists today, where if you take a machine which has been running every day for many months, then put it on the shelf for up to a year, when you finally try to boot it again, it simply won't. You will spend days replacing parts and troubleshooting before you just give up and junk the whole thing.

So, what the BOINC community is begging for is a BOINC specific bundle of a distro. It doesn't have all of the "standard" software of an ordinary "live" disk.

Just a couple of the system utilities for display settings and drive partitioning.
A minimalist editor like Leafpad, Mousepad, etc. KWrite is the default for most KDE desktops and I like it, but, might be a touch heavy for this.
A widely used Web browser. Sadly, those are all really heavy
BOINCmanager and rest of BOINC automatically installed.
Install needs to automatically detect NVIDIA and Radeon GPUs, installing correct drivers

Such an image/disk/bundle would only need to be updated when a major BOINC upgrade happened.

A 32-bit version would also need to exists for at least another decade to allow for all of the really old hardware participating in BOINC to be of service to humanity while it finishes out its life.

Just thinking out loud now . . . the stuff above is stuff I've said many times, but, this last bit just hit me.

Yes, it "might" be quite a bit of work, maybe, but what would be the ultimate would be an ISO one doesn't install. You just burn it to an 8Gig or larger thumb drive. As it boots up it checks hardware and loads the correct NVIDIA/Radeon/AMD/ATI/whatever GPU driver. A user could simply subscribe to all of their projects and stick that thumb drive in whatever machine happens to be idle. That would be the coolest of cool BOINC bundles.

Sadly, there are probably some licensing issues with the drivers.

Just planting a seed and hoping a tree grows.
Old 12-20-2017, 01:07 PM   #2
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So you're here asking others to create something YOU could create on your own for a purpose YOU need?

If the BOINC community gives back as you suggest then it can certainly give back a BOINC specific distro and see if there is really a demand for it. Open Source is all about letting people do whatever they want. Maybe if you and the folks who have agreed this is a good idea you could do it. You could even come back and ask questions as you go along if you run into issues.
Old 12-20-2017, 03:36 PM   #3
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I'm putting a thought in the head of people who __LIKE__ spinning up distros and tend to spin out 3-5 massively short lived distros per year that this is one which could develop a following.

Could I do it? Perhaps. I have been paid to spin up custom distros for clients before. The difference is, I hate it. I hate the poor code quality, the total lack of documentation and sparse "expert friendly" comments which tend to be the _only_ documentation their is. I hate finding all of these supposedly wonderful GUI tools for spinning up a new distro based on some other distro haven't been maintained and no longer work. I do large scale (global non-Internet) secure systems and touch screen embedded systems.

I know there are people out there who play with custom distro spinning tools because I have run into threads in other places and encountered distros on distrowatch which appear to have a short number of releases then go silent for a decade because they got bored. I even read the long winded farewell from someone who took over some custom making tool when he was 12 and now that he was old enough to date and drive chose to abandon the tool. Might have been Remastersys, don't remember.

Yes, I've had to search through for all of the tools time and again. The last of these two links might even be current enough to be of some use.

The last time I had to custom build Linux distros for a customer there were no Web tools for it. We had to build a Web tool which let thousands (actually tens of thousands) of retail locations build custom Linux distros complete with this week's advertising to be those "Explore This Computer" programs you see running perpetually in retail locations.

I'm not telling others to do work for me and expecting it to happen. I'm letting the people who enjoy playing with those tools that such a distro would be a neat one-off thing if they could create it.

Currently I'm writing two books, which are behind schedule. One is another geek book for "The Minimum You Need to Know" book series and another is novel, early segments of which are being serialized on Interesting Authors blog, "Twenty of Two - The Infamous They." I'm also engaged in battle with the powers that be for the Qt project because their wiki for Raspberry Pi cross compile was hurled upon the unsuspecting masses without ever being tested. It has derailed many a project for people both on and off the Qt Interest mailing list and totally derailed the "How Far We've Come" programming educational series on LogikalBlog.

So, no, I have neither the time nor the Interest to play with any of those custom distro tools, but others do. I can tell them they wish to steer completely clear of OpenSuSE because the last DVD I got from OSDisc had some kind of big text explanation that they were no longer going to be providing or supporting custom video driver kernels. Maybe they've back peddled on that, I don't know. I do know I stopped following and ordering OpenSuSE once I read that official announcement.

I had to do something with one of my BOINC machines and PCLinuxOS recently, which made me remember this need, so I made the post as a suggestion for the people who play with custom spinning tools.

Responding with, essentially a very rude do-it-yourself is neither polite nor community building.



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