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Old 05-21-2009, 10:49 AM   #1
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unclear about capabilities of fbterm


I am not new to linux, but I am new to doing things manually in linux. I have finally decided to build my own distro from the ground up with Slackware 12.2. I want an all cli system as small as possible that will handle most daily user-end tasks. The idea is to end up with a live cd I cant take anywhere and run on almost any 'normal' PC.

Started my install with this:

Thanks samac

Now that I've got that out of the way here is what I need clarified:

I like screen. I like screen a lot, but I want to use all the great features of the framebuffer. All I really need is multiple terminal from a single login. My assumption (leading to a newbish question) is that in using fbterm I retain the use of all framebuffer features (such as graphic.) Is this true? Is there a better way?
Old 05-22-2009, 07:59 AM   #2
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Removing the X server will make any Linux or BSD into a CLI system. Why all the hassle with a complete new distro? It is also a bit of a contradiction to me, that want to build a CLI system, but then you get graphics back via framebuffers. Framebuffers make very little sense these days, except for boot logo's or kiosk systems or special devices. There is a reason why X has become so common.

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Last edited by soleilarw; 06-18-2009 at 04:01 AM.
Old 05-22-2009, 03:20 PM   #3
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because it can be done

I am doing this for many reasons.

I want to have the experience of doing it the hard way. I want to understand everything that goes into the system.I don't want unecessary bloat. I want to see how much linux I can get into a tiny footprint.

I hate the idea that an older computer is useless. My favorite piece of hardware is my Thinkpad 380xd it is technologically capable of doing anything I really need it to it clocks in at 233MHz 96MB of RAM and a 5Gig HD. The only reason it wouldn't be good enough is that I haven't put forth enough effort.

Yes there are DamnSmall and Tiny Core and Puppy but these are not quite what I want. As my first experiences with computer were Mac and Windows my favorite thing about Linux is I can make it into exactly what I want and nothing else. I have a desktop running Xubuntu, it's nice. I use it almost everyday, but instead of learning the tweaks of a system I don't like, I would rather spend my time building something I do.

The framebuffer is the answer to a CLI system. Why should I sacrafice images and videos if I don't have to. By the same token why should waste I so much on the resource end just to be able to watch a movie.

So there is my rant


Short answers:

the challenge
the education
for the same reasons 'Linux From Scratch' exists and Slackware is the venerable elder

I suppose it could be some of my inner control freak and it is definitely part of my minimalist nature.
Old 05-22-2009, 03:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by CapRandom View Post
I like screen. I like screen a lot, but I want to use all the great features of the framebuffer. All I really need is multiple terminal from a single login. My assumption (leading to a newbish question) is that in using fbterm I retain the use of all framebuffer features (such as graphic.) Is this true? Is there a better way?
Forgive me if that's too evident, but what features of the fb are those that you can't use under screen? Screen should work on an fb vt just like it does inside an xterm as far as I know. Though I don't use fb myself (just plain text when in vt).
Old 05-22-2009, 07:02 PM   #5
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Well, getting the experience by doing it the hard way is OK, but this way it will be VERY hard. Some years ago I had a similar enthusiastic mood about saving old computers for valuable work, but:
- old computers are getting unbearably slow even for CLI tasks
- programming framebuffers is quite cumbersome (I have tried svgalib, allegro's framebuffer branch, and some other graphic libraries with names that I can't remember - and I truly started to love X-Windows for all of them)
- fonts will be a problem, unless you dislike smoothly rendered glyphs anyway
- reinventing the desktop metaphor is an awful lot of work, even if you only implement something like the old Platinum appearance without any customization

It's OK if you want to try yourself with a big task, but isn't there any open source project with need for developers that would let you shine intead of wasting efforts? There is a reason why all framebuffer-based development projects tend to die after a short amount of time.
Old 03-10-2012, 10:39 PM   #6
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Invalidation serving as answers?

I know i'm years late, but search brought me here. So my responses,

@soleilarw: Your just plain wrong, I would not describe a minimal install with a framebuffer as 'VERY HARD'. If you have never done it before, yes you will spend some hair pulling hours reading outdated and misleading documentation. I might call it 'somewhat frustrating', namely because the available documentations are so damn terrible. I also want to ask, where in his question did you get the idea he was developing something? Not once did he say anything about programming on the framebuffer, so your Dev related comments are irrelevant. His question was about setting up a 'minimal' system, with just a framebuffer for graphical output. I also want to address your comment about X, as I have a strong opinion regarding X. I HATE X, it's our only viable option so I'm forced to live with it. I would never say something ridiculous, like allude to actually appreciating (or even X11, all together) I'm pissing myself waiting for Wayland, and for all its apparent shortcomings... It will end up about 25X the desktop experience. I do however agree, old computers can be frustratingly slow with modern software. You can get away with them, but you MUST upgrade that RAM (old PCs were very short changed on RAM. Especially in the late 2000/ME days)

@i92guboj: Your also incorrect, screen is not a framebuffer application (even though you could use it with a framebuffer console). Screen is a terminal multiplexer, it's a way to use multiple terminals on one console tty.

@CapRandom: Now my 2 cents, you don't need to "create" a distro. You just want a very minimal installation with a framebuffer, this type of install is very common in the embedded world. Slackware would obviously work, but really a more 'modern' distro would probably better serve you. I would seriously consider a Gentoo, Arch, or minimal Debian installation. If you want something more stripped, I like slitaz and r-path. When you can handle one of those, then you *may* consider a real manual LFS (distroless) installation.

Last edited by gnuzilla; 03-10-2012 at 11:01 PM.


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