[Grml] Statement regarding the Grml "reset" with 2011.12 release

Michael Prokop mika at grml.org
Wed Dec 28 21:20:59 CET 2011

Dear Grml users and developers,

you might have noticed the rumble in the Grml community about the
new "install & rescue" mission of Grml and the dropped grml-small
and 700MB ISOs.[1]

Be assured that we take all the raised concerns serious. I for my
own not only because I'm the project inventor, but also since it's
one of my main projects which I'm maintaining for more than 7 years
(the seven-year itch?) and personally do *really* care about. So I'd
like to give some backgrounds of what's going on, all of that being
from *my* personal POV.

Christian - being the other release manager in the Grml project -
did an outstanding job for this release and was a driving force to
get this release done at all. To get a common starting point I'd
like you to read Christian's blog article describing his POV of the
2011.12 release:


To quote Christian:

| Sure, it's hard to swallow and most people can just ignore the
| alternative: no release at all.

And that's the reason why the reset button had to be pressed for
this Grml release.

The download stats show that the Grml project is serving several
thousand users. To quote Christoph Biedl:

| Rest assured Grml has a very pleased user base, perhaps a bit too
| quiet, and as always more taking than giving. A "Keep Grml just the
| way it is, it's almost perfect" might be boring but it's actually a
| compliment about the things you've achieved in the past seven-ish
| years.

  -- http://ml.grml.org/pipermail/grml-devel/2011-December/000217.html

And that's exactly our issue: we can't keep the "more taking than
giving" project any longer that way. Even though our *users* are
happy, the *developers* aren't happy any longer.

To quote Frank, another Grml developer:

| But it is equally important, that everyone understands, that the few
| people who do the major work on rolling out releases (and I am not one
| of them by a long shot) on a fairly regular schedule only have 24
| hours in a day, just like everyone else. The workload needed to be
| contained at a doable level.
| [...]
| That aside, I don't see the changes as being damaging, but rather as a
| chance. I agree that there are some packages that are missing. But it's
| only *now* that we get to know what these packages were. It is a well
| deserved cleanup of our list of packages, because we now get to see
| which packages deserve attention and which do not.

  -- http://ml.grml.org/pipermail/grml/2011-December/011295.html

Since we've a real life as well (earning money, having family,
sleeping,... - you know) we have to keep the project at level at
which we can manage it in our spare time. This was no longer true
for the large set of packages rolling with 2x 700MB ISOs, 2x ~230MB
ISOs and 2x ~120MB ISOs.

Instead we declared "install & rescue" as our main mission to focus
on a specific target. We created a new Grml flavour, known as the
new GRML_FULL in grml-live and resulting in grml32 and grml64 ISOs
with ~350MB. grml96 (being a multiboot ISO of grml64 and grml32) is
new as well - though since it's basically just the result of
"grml2iso -o grml96_${release}.iso grml64_*.iso grml32_*.iso" we're
not yet 100% certain about its future.

At the same time all the previous flavours still ARE there in
grml-live: GRML_SMALL and GRML_MEDIUM as it used to be, the old
GRML_FULL (700MB) just got renamed to GRML_XL.

So if you want to create your own grml-small/grml-medium/grml-xl
just use grml-live (http://grml.org/grml-live/). Remastering became
once again simplier with this release:


But it's NOT as simple as just maintaining a software list in a
textfile inside grml-live.git. It's *also* about testing (some kind
of regularly for the daily ISOs and more extensive testing of
release candidates), fixing failing builds (daily ISOs as well as
Git-triggered ones), integration in Grml tools (grml-quickconfig,
grml-x,...) as well as providing sane default configurations and
giving user support ("why doesn't foo work?").

So we need help not only at maintaining the flavours (as in main
development/coding), but also at:

* testing, testing, testing
* documentation
* website ( https://github.com/grml/grml.org )
* bug fixing  ( http://bts.grml.org/grml/ )
* user support (IRC, mailing lists,...)
* marketing (spreading the word, blogging, twitter/identi.ca,...)
* press stuff

While the 2011.12 release might not be perfect we worked a *lot* to
make the "one button click release" dream come true. The release
process became much more streamlined so we even consider providing a
2012.01 release which addresses known bugs and re-adds some software
packages. We also put a lot of work into our infrastructure
(Jenkins, mirror, github,...) which is serving not only developers
but also our users.

If you care about Grml and would like to see grml-small, grml-xl,...
come back again or want to see a texttool flavour, a development
flavour, a pen testing flavour, or $YOU_NAME_IT then please don't
just send flames (which is nothing else than pissing in our face and
further demotivating us) but step up and help us *NOW*!

You can find us on #grml on freenode, the user mailing list
(http://ml.grml.org/mailman/listinfo/grml), the development mailing
list ( http://ml.grml.org/mailman/listinfo/grml-devel) and
patch/fork/pull-request our stuff at https://github.com/grml/

Be assured: The Grml team will do whatever is necessary to make
contributions as easy and pleasant as possible. But please join our
community NOW if you really care about it.


[1] [Grml-devel] About the new grml direction

    [Grml] Grml 2011.12 trolling^W comments from disappointed user(s)
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