Anything we do from now on will be too little, too late.
That ship has sailed, it's water under the bridge, however you wish to express it.
Linux, as we know it, is not going to ever become a major player in the Desktop market.
I've made peace with that. Since 2005, I've chewed my lip over how this can change, but the fact is, there are simply too many people not willing to do the things necessary to make it a reality. Whether you believe it or not, whether you like it or not...
The absence of A Linux Product that's visible in the consumer market has been our greatest failure. Now, I will be the first one to admit, I never saw this coming. Linux is a player on the desktop, or laptop; as you prefer. It's just not called Linux...
It's called Chromebook. It's called Android.
Pick all the nits you want, argue that it's only the kernel and not the system. The fact remains that Linux has found a place in the consumer market.
it's just not the way many of us would have liked it to come about.
Some will blame the fragmentation of the Linuxsphere. Some will say that too many choices have diluted the product and confused the customer. I'm not going to disagree with that theory. Friend and colleague Dietrich Schmitz argues that point strongly.
So if we are to embrace that particular theory, what is to be done?
Let's fragment it some more.
I'm not being flippant. I mean it and I fully support it. If the damage is already done, as we watch our train picking up speed without us on it, then I will argue:
Fragment away...what's the downside?
The way he thinks it should be done. A pure fresh start from top to bottom, bottom to top.
Doherty isn't some hack that's taken the remastersys ax and chopped up a distro to claim as his own. Ikey is a brilliant distro developer and he's had a nagging, almost compulsive belief that his Linux creation could be better. Constant upstream battles with both Gnome and Debian have brought Ikey to the point where he spends more time patching and shoe-horning than he has in creating.
It's easy PiSi.
Let me turn this over to Ikey Doherty....he makes it abundantly clear about why this change, and why he's doing it now. Ikey knows there is dissension in the ranks, but he believes his vision for what SolusOS can be, is the best of all choices.
Why Pisi and Why Independence?
Another one of our core aims we developed with Eveline (SolusOS 1) was modern user space software, such as Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, etc. However, the man hours that went into maintaining the repository were not justified for a 'derivative'
Derivatives (in this case, of Debian) typically provide the user with a custom distribution of their parent distribution. Invariably a repository does not exist, or a small PPA is provided in the case of Ubuntu. In our case, we have over 7k packages in the Eveline repository, and it's become very much apparent that keeping our changes in sync with upstream changes is literally an uphill battle.
So with all that in mind, we realized our core issue within SolusOS was the package management system. Our single biggest task was maintaining a repository, and doing so with the .deb package format made it a rather mundane experience attempting to keep our system in sync with Debian.
For a long time I've been a lover of PiSi. It's an incredibly powerful, yet simple, package manager, originally created by Pardus Linux. With simplified package creation, powerful dependency resolution, roll back of operations, delta packages, a powerful configuration system (COMAR) plus many more features, its an awesome piece of kit. The challenge was to make it fit in with SolusOS.
So, we opted originally to mold Debian to PiSi. This turned out to be an impossible task, with many packages relying on other Debian specific packages, patches and makefiles to even configure, the situation became impossible. We were no longer using either the parent distribution or the package manager to their full extent or showing them justice.
The logical step would have been to re-base on another parent distribution. However the same issue cropped up time and time again, sending us in circles. We could not make our goals and wants merge with any other project. There was no other choice.
A Distro Is Born
After many hundreds of hours I successfully built a new base system from scratch. This was no simple feat, as to run Python (required for PiSi) and D-BUS (for Comar), you need the majority of the base system in place already. Many failed attempts at bootstrapping the GNU toolchain (compiler/glibc/etc) eventually proved fruitful. I had a system I could replicate with 100% accuracy and chroot into.
Then we tried the insane. Let's make PiSi work with this. And we did :) We've spent a long time now preparing package after package, buildsystem after buildsystem. And now it all works. With an independently booting image, utilizing its own init, kernel and ramfs, we had a base. Everything in the core structure has been tested time and time again, leading up till now. We have something that is truly unique. This is not another derivative of an upstream distribution, nor is it a fork of anything currently existing. The entire distribution has been put together by hand, with our own packages sourced from the original codebases, with a vanilla policy not allowing us to clutter up our packages with items we deem not necessary (Hey, it worked for Slackware ;))
So, we have a fully networked desktop-enabled system now. Amazingly 3D acceleration still performs well under Qemu, we have a very solid and stable codebase and are adding packages daily. With over 700 commits to our source repository in less than 2 weeks, there is no worry about missing packages or a lack of stability. We have a vision and direction that's kept us unique from the birth of SolusOS 1 up till now, and with our own base and packages, we'll be able to show the world what the original vision was all that time ago. Change is coming, and its name is SolusOS. We're ready, are you? :)
So, there it is. While Ikey won't speculate on when SolusOS 2.0 will be ready for prime time, he does plan to release a beta in the near future. Will Ikey be able to stay the course? Can a "one man show" stand the test of time?
Actually, SolusOS isn't a one-man-show. Tech guru Justin Krehel has been working on SolusOS for quite a while now. With the gaining popularity of SolusOS, it was only a matter of time before Justin became more widely known as a key contributor to the project. Stay tuned in the next two weeks. We plan to do a feature on Justin.
He is quite brilliant and I think you'll appreciate knowing who he is and what he does.