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Re: [Dragora-users] Distribution of ARM rootfs tarballs

From: Kevin "The Nuclear" Bloom
Subject: Re: [Dragora-users] Distribution of ARM rootfs tarballs
Date: Fri, 07 Feb 2020 07:40:12 -0500
User-agent: mu4e 1.2.0; emacs 26.3

Matias Fonzo writes:

> El 2020-01-31 09:38, Kevin "The Nuclear" Bloom escribió:
>> Matias Fonzo writes:
>>> El 2020-01-31 00:06, Kevin "The Nuclear" Bloom escribió:
>>>> Thanks for the quick reply, Matias. See my comments below:
>>>>> El 2020-01-29 16:50, Kevin "The Nuclear" Bloom escribió:
>>>>>> Hi,
>>>>> Hello Kevin.  :-)
>>>>>> Those of us who have a C201 know that installation on this device is
>>>>>> quite nontraditional. Instead of booting off of a USB stick and running
>>>>>> an installer, one must do it manually by loading an sd card (or usb
>>>>>> stick) with a special kernel partition and a special root
>>>>>> partition. What this means is that creating an ISO for this machine is
>>>>>> pointless. Due to that, most distros that support the machine have a
>>>>>> rootfs tarball that you unpack into the root partition and, normally,
>>>>>> inside of /boot there is a linux.kpart or something that gets written to
>>>>>> the kernel partition using `dd`.
>>>>> Okay.  Question: what format would be appropriate for create the rootfs?.
>>>> Arch-arm uses tar.gz and we probably should stick to that because some
>>>> people might be unpacking it from ChromeOS which doesn't come with lzip
>>>> installed. It can, however, unpack gzip.
> Okay, tar+gzip then.
>>>>>> That being said, I'm curious as to how we wish to handle the
>>>>>> distribution of Dragora 3 rootfs tarballs for this machine. Most
>>>>>> distros' tarball is quite small and only contains the core system with
>>>>>> simple network tools such as wpa-supplicant for connecting the machine
>>>>>> to the internet (there is no Ethernet port, so wpa will be
>>>>>> required). Once the core system is booted the user is expected to
>>>>>> install the rest of the system via their package manager. Since Dragora
>>>>>> doesn't have a package repo that contains precompiled binaries (that I'm
>>>>>> aware of), I'm not sure how we want to do this.
>>>>> Here we could say that Dragora's "kernel" includes everything needed to
>>>>> boot
>>>>> the
>>>>> system, as well as the network part, including the wpa_supplicant
>>>>> currently.
>>>>> As
>>>>> for the packages, we can say that the official packages are provided and
>>>>> distributed after each release[1].  In this sense, it is not a high
>>>>> priority
>>>>> (for me) to provide updates to pre-compiled packages like any other
>>>>> pre-compiled
>>>>> package, since the distribution has to be finished, or at least until it
>>>>> reaches
>>>>> the stable one.
>>>>> [1] http://rsync.dragora.org/v3/packages/
>>>> I think that is a good idea. Would take the stress away from trying to
>>>> keep every package up-to-date all the time. I'm still curious about how
>>>> we should manage downloading the binaries and then installing them in
>>>> the correct order. Any ideas how to do this? (i.e. `wget -i
>>>> BINARY-LIST.txt | qi -i` or something)
>>> Qi can read from standard input, for example if the file currently contains
>>> the
>>> full (local) path of one or more packages, it can install them, e.g: qi -i -
>>> <
>>> pkglist.txt
>>> What you want is to read, download and install.  Currently Qi has the code 
>>> to
>>> download and generate the .sha256 on the source side.  As a pending issue, 
>>> we
>>> could use or adapt this code (as it declares the General Network Downloader)
>>> to
>>> tell Qi to download the packages when using the -i option and if 
>>> "http(s)://"
>>> is
>>> specified on the command line.
>>> Of course, this has to be studied to make it as reliable as possible
>>> (.sha256,
>>> signatures...).
>> That would be quite handy! If this would be valuable to the other D3
>> archs then I think it would be great addition, otherwise, we may want to
>> just have a shell script that does this using wget+qi or
>> something.
> In theory this was going to be part of 'jul', unfortunately Jul doesn't
> continue[1].  I prefer a separate program to do the whole remote package
> thing...
> [1] http://git.savannah.nongnu.org/cgit/dragora.git/tree/testing/jul

Yes, I agree that it should be separate. I created an emacs package
called `jul-mode` back when jul was still around - it only requires jul
for the actual downloading/installing part and parses the HTML to see
what packages were available. I'm sure I could write another program
that could do the same sort of thing but use `qi` to install. We could
come up with a better way to check for packages rather than parsing HTML
(which could be slow if we had a lot of stuff), maybe an sqlite db or
something. If there is a faster way that you know of, let me know. I
would probably write it in guile scheme since I don't know anything
about tcl.


>>>>>> My idea is this: we do the same thing that other distros do, for the
>>>>>> most part. Keep the tarball small and use just the core system with some
>>>>>> networking programs. The kernel will be in /boot under a name like
>>>>>> kernel.kpart or something. Inside of the root home directory there will
>>>>>> be a few different text files that contain urls to pre-compiled binary
>>>>>> packages. Each file will have names that match up with the .order files
>>>>>> when building D3: editors.txt, sound.txt, xorg.txt, etc. They will have
>>>>>> all the programs in the orders that they need to be in to insure a safe
>>>>>> installation. Then, the user uses a few commands to download and install
>>>>>> each package (probably something with wget that passes the binary into a
>>>>>> qi command). Once they've installed all the stuff they need, they'll be
>>>>>> good to go!
>>>>> What I see here is that it is possible that the kernel configuration needs
>>>>> to
>>>>> be
>>>>> adjusted[2], in addition to testing it (very important), I do not own such
>>>>> a
>>>>> computer, and if I did, I would not have enough time now to focus
>>>>> exclusively
>>>>> on
>>>>> this, considering all that needs to be done. I keep thinking about how
>>>>> these
>>>>> lists will facilitate the installation of the packages (how to produce 
>>>>> them
>>>>> from
>>>>> Qi), for the moment you can compile the core[3] and produce the rootfs,
>>>>> then
>>>>> compile the rest to get the packages...
>>>>> [2]
>>>>> http://git.savannah.nongnu.org/cgit/dragora.git/plain/archive/kernel/config-c201-v7
>>>>> [3]
>>>>> http://git.savannah.nongnu.org/cgit/dragora.git/plain/recipes/00-core.order
>>>> Yes, I just completed the core build with the current master
>>>> branch. Everything went smoothly except for meson, which has always been
>>>> a problem child on the C201. I will be creating the signed kernel and
>>>> attempting booting tomorrow, if time permits.
>>>>>> Let me know if this is a good idea or if it need tweaked at all! This is
>>>>>> quite a lot of work for only 1 machine but it's the only way I can think
>>>>>> of other than just having all that stuff in the tarball but that would
>>>>>> make it very large.
>>>>> I will try to assist you and provide you with what you need.
>>> What I can think of is that we can create a new scenario for the
>>> bootstrapping
>>> process.  This would be a minimal system to boot and log in to, from there
>>> you
>>> could install whatever you want, reusing the minimal system tools.   This
>>> will
>>> allow you:
>>> - Check and test the kernel configuration.
>>> - Save time instead of building the stage1, the whole core, etc.
>>> - Accessible via enter-chroot.
>>> - Have the rootfs small.
>>> - Ready to boot.
>>> For example, you would set the cross compiler in motion:
>>> ./boostrap -s0 -a armv7_hf
>>> Then you would produce the minimum system using the cross compiler for your
>>> machine:
>>> ./bootstrap -s201 -a armv7_hf
>>> If you already have the cross-compiler in place, you would use the "201"
>>> scenario/stage as many times as necessary (related changes, kernel
>>> configuration, busybox, settings, etc.)
>>> In time, the new produced rootfs will be adjusted to what is "just and
>>> necessary".
>>> ... Cum on feel the noize! ;-)
>> This would be great! Would it be possible to just have another special
>> .order file called `base.order` or `minimal.order`? Which would just
>> build the essentials and some network stuff. Using the bootstrap command
>> you mention would work too!
> What I can think of is that we can simplify the structure of the Dragora 
> series.
> For example, we currently have the output sorted for packages as (default):
>     /var/cache/qi/packages/<arch>/<series_name>
> Instead of having <series_name>, we can try to have "hashtags" for the 
> packages,
> so we would categorize in the recipes "essential", "networking", etc.
> This will be reflected in the package name and the destination directory
> ($destdir), for example:
>     Package name: util-linux-2.34-x86_64+1#essential.tlz
>     It will be installed as: util-linux-2.34-x86_64+1#essential
> This would make it easier to find the essential packages and other series to 
> be
> installed or removed.
> The "essential" label would deal with the minimum or essential packages to run
> the system.
> What do you think?.

Hmm, how would it work if there was a lib that was required by another
program in another category? For example, you wish to build emacs and it
requires XML support. `libxml` would probably be under a `#lib` or maybe
`#networking` but emacs would be in `#editors` or something. How would
we know that you need libxml before emacs?

(disclaimer: emacs doesn't _require_ xml, it is optional. Just for argument's 

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