Sunday, April 29, 2007

MOAM-CD update; !"·$ RedHat!

The reason why X wasn't starting in MOAM-CD was because RedHat added some stuff to X to make it unable to start up--unless you use RedHat's own customized kernel. Basically, RedHat is a walled garden which is often times well separated from mainstream Linux. So, there is sometimes weirdness like this. The advantage is that RedHat maintains code far longer than mainstream open source writers; once a piece of code enters RHEL, it stays there supported for seven years.

The problem now is that I can't use cloop with the 2.4.21 kernel RHEL 3 uses; while Cloop 2.05 is compatible with Linux, it's not compatible with 2.4.21. So, I either have to find an older Cloop that works, or, better yet, just use cramfs instead, which, in fact, is fully supported in 2.4.21. Its limitations--16 megs per file, 256 megs for the filesystem--are within the space limits of a 185 meg mini-cd. It also doesn't compress as well as cloop; cloop compressed about 4% better. Howevere, this is offset by the fact that cramfs is fully supported in RH's kernel.

Once change I made was giving tmpfs support in the core kernel; this is better than a RAM file system because it expands or shrinks depending on how many file are there, and I don't have to figure out how much memory is in the system before making the temporary file system.

Right now, I have a system that I can boot from cdrom, with a script that automatically comfigures X. I can then enter X--this is a little buggy, my mouse does not always work--which starts up fvwm. From fvwm, I can start up rxvt. I can also start up and run Opera. All of this takes about 95 megs uncompressed, 42 megs compressed with cramfs, and 40 megs compressed with cloop.

The next step is to set up initrd to set up up a writable root filesystem, find the cd drive (trying IDE secondary master, primary slave, secondary slave, and finally primary master), and ask the user if they want X. Another issue I haven't dealt with yet are USB mice and keyboards.

I also have two MaraDNS bug reports that I will look at tonight.

- Sam