I can has Netbook too?

Today was a relatively quiet day, as the amazing German train system seems to be one of the quietest trains I've been on. I'm sitting in Munich now, thinking about how Ubuntu is releasing yet another respin, this time focused around the so called "Netbook" market. Fortunately or unfortunately, I had the luck to come across this little number here.

For those of you too lazy to click through that link, in summary, Ubuntu is making a new version designed around the small screen, complete with binary blobs and support for all sorts of nasty proprietary things like flash and mp3 out of the box. The worst part is that there will be no upstream for this project. (When will they learn?)

I was curious, (and thanks to the limit of terms of my self inflicted Ubuntu/Debian ban,) so I decided to see how easily these tools can be built for Fedora. We have the respin technology, why not use it?



The whole build process went quickly, although with some difficulties. There are apparently a few odd key dependencies to Maximus, the window manager-ish thing Canonical has hammered together.



We also need to fix up some of the artwork a bit, so it's not so Poobuntu centric.



The next step is to make some RPMs for other people to try out, and possibly a temporary git repo for people to submit patches to.

Here's a list of the things we need to do to use these packages in a "Small Screen" spin.

  • Package them

  • Review them - most of the dependencies are already in Fedora

  • Create artwork maybe a slightly modified theme

  • Spin it

  • Distribute a slightly customized Gnome desktop on the spin



I can't say that I'll have the time to see through all these steps, but if anyone's interested, I'd be more than happy to start making RPMs.

4 flames:

ryanlerch zei

awesome!
i am interested in helping you out, and getting this for my eee :)

i can help out with artwork stuff if you need me...

kanarip zei

And I'll happily review the RPM ;-)

Jef Spaleta zei

While you are certainly free to package this stuff up for consumption for Fedora. There are important questions regarding long term maintainability. I want to encourage you to make sure you open a line of communication with the canonical developers who are working on this and get a since of the development roadmap for these tools. Since they are quite new there may not be an understood time frame for releases and you may find yourself eating directly out of the bzr trees.

These things are quite new and quite targeted in terms of interface, so you want to make real sure you know how to drive bugs to the developers of these tools. You are watching how they stream line the re-configuration of existing desktops for people who want to use these as replacements to the standard gnome interface. If you aren't careful you can quickly get behind the curve if you aren't tracking upstream closely for something this new.

-jef

Peter zei

I've been thinking about a slimmed down Fedora spin for a while (Fedora Mini). Wasn't necessarily going to go the Ubuntu route though. I was thinking of using the OPLC spin as a basis and then adding more upstreamed sort of stuff to it like Hildon and the like so the base would fit in around 1-1.5 gig for the likes of the bottom end eeePC which comes with 2gig of storage and would run on the screen of these things that tend to be 800x480 or 1024x600. Would also then be relatively easily ported to things like a Nokia Internet Tablet if the arm crew wanted to recompile it. I think the OLPC Fedora spin would be a good place to start as it has a lot of unneeded already cut. More than willing to help with packaging etc.