[Grml] Linux Live on the roadmap?

- Tong - mlist4suntong at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 26 20:06:38 CEST 2007

First of all, thanks for the previously answering my sata/scsi disk
partition number limit question.

On Mon, 20 Aug 2007 10:52:46 +0200, Michael Prokop wrote:

>> I used to use grml2hd after booting off grml, but today I tried the
>> grml2hd from the chroot. I think nobody has ever done this before. I'm
>> just trying to see if I can get it working. If so, I could do the Grml
>> HD installation then system customization from within my current system,
>> so that I could have almost zero down time.
> Nice idea! :)
> . . .
> Yes, would be great to have a grml2hd version which could install grml
> directly from a chroot (so you don't have to boot it at all ;)). But
> currently I don't have the time to implement the relevant changes for
> grml2hd on my own. I welcome any patches of course

I'd love to help! The only thing that stops me is the /UNIONFS thing, I.e.,
I don't quite understand where is the most appropriate place to copy files
from. This brings me to something I'd like to ask for quite a while:

Have you ever considered downloading/"outsourcing" the live system detection
part to linux-live (http://www.linux-live.org/)? Is linux-live somewhere on
grml's roadmap?

I guess the answer is "no", so I'll try my best to sell the idea here
below. :-)

The following was the reason that drawing my attention away from grml
several months ago:

- aufs is used instead of unionfs, brings great stability and features
- squashfs is patched with LZMA compression, so compressed filesystems
 are 30% smaller

I remember that you said you were waiting for aufs to settle down (get
stabled) to replace the current unionfs implementation. I can assure you
from my personal experience that aufs is quite stable now. I've been using
slax/wolvix for several months now, and I use slax's modularity feature to
plug-in and unplug my modules all the time - I was constantly building and
testing my modules, ie, the building blocks of aufs file systems. I have
never experience any problem. Moreover, I've been closely watching slax's
forum for quite a while, never ever was a single post regarding the
stability of aufs.

Moreover, don't you think the LZMA compression, the >30% extra space gained
is very appealing?

What's important, the linux-live isn't meant only for slaxware. It is build
for any running linux system. slax is only a living demo for linux-live
which happens to be slaxware based.

Please consider seriously downloading/"outsourcing" the live system
detection part to linux-live, because in doing so, grml will surely
be "standing on a giant's shoulder" -- linux-live has been actively
progressing to make live detection better and better, so you can
concentrate on grml specific part. I sure think it is a win-win

I understand that grml specific things is your major focus, so aufs or LZMA
compression might not get onto the top of todo list, neither will be
persistent home and persistent root, which I've been requesting ever since I
joined grml party. I'm not blaming you for neglecting my requests :-), On
the contrary, I think you should focus more on grml specific things and do
the "outsourcing".

More on persistent root, quoting Tomas:

"Saving of modifications / settings is the most important thing for a Live
distro. If you can't save your modifications, you'd need to setup your
desktop the way you like it every time you start the live distro, again and
again. This is not any problem for a liveCD developer (as he knows how to
build a module from /mnt/live/memory/changes), but it may be a big trouble
for your user."

Translate into grml domain, grml is built the way grml developer like, but
it might not be the way grml user would like to set/use. this may be a big
trouble for grml users :-).

Mika, I believe you understand how important of saving modifications /
settings for a Live distro is, but just can't stretch your focus far enough
onto it, so let's try to have linux-live handling it, shall we?

FYI, currently, linux-live (Tomas) is, as always, leading the live distros 
into another round of excellency. I.e., when the Live distro (for example
Slax) is started from USB Flash, then all changes will be stored back to
USB, on the fly, consuming only the free space from the Flash Key which is
really needed, by mounting the 'changes' filesystem as the WRITABLE BRANCH
of aufs, so all files you modify are COPIED-UP and then modified.

And more interestingly, even MP3 players, or digital cameras that impose FAT
only filesystem can be used to host the live distro and save changes. What
about the POSIX features (symlinks, hardlinks, chmod), you may ask -- the
'changes' directory will be overmounted by POSIXOVL filesystem, and
"voila, we can use this as well!"

Mika, as you can see, grml will really be "standing on a giant's shoulder" 
if you download the burden of implementing above in grml to linux-live. 
Do you think it is a good idea to give it a try? 

I really hope so.


Tong (remove underscore(s) to reply)

More information about the Grml mailing list