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Re: Blends & CDD suggestions

Hi Xavier,

I certainly think that you are no alone in seeking these kinds of customizations.

There is fundamentally 2 ways to go at it: a) Tell Debian routines to behave as you want it, or b) hack on top of Debian to reach your wanted results.

As Andreas already clarified, Debian Pure blends is a) which I assume that you want, since you post to this list - that's awesome!

On Wed, May 26, 2010 at 11:24:32AM +0200, Xavier Oswald wrote:

- Change the default graphical theme. (GTK color + topbar image + boot dvd background image)

Make a package containing your graphics and hooks, and make sure to install it e.g. using a metapackage.

forinspiration, have a look at the packages brdesktop-common, debian-edu-artwork, grub2-splashimages. And on packages depending on the various gtk2-engines-* packages.

 - Customize Debian boot DVD menu.

I suspect this to be a tricky one to do officially within Debian.

Debian-installer uses udeb packages. They technically work (mostly) like ordinary packages, but have other contraints, like not containing own copyright info - which is an important detail: Legally udebs are not considered packages but must be distributed together with some catch-all copyright file.

I am not a debian-installer developer, but I believe the above is one of the reasons (other obvious ones being tight space and memory contraints and requirement of working across many architectures) that extensions to debian-installer needs to be done in tight coordination with that team.

What kind of changes would you need? Something similar to Skolelinux wanting a (vastly) simplified install menu, or something else?

 - Add preceeding of some parts of D-I (user, partitionning, ...)

If you mean apply pre-seeding at places already supporting it, then what is it that you need? For feeding large amounts of pre-seeding (more than convenient (or technically possible) to type into the boot line, you might be interested in http://hands.com/d-i/ either that framework directly, or using it as inspiration for an own - simpler? - approach.

- Add a new task for our goals which mean adding new packages that are not in debian and add lot of packages that are in debian (all listed in the task as dependacies) and remove all other tasks so only the task I have done will be abailable.

I believe tasks are contained in the tasksel package only currently, which apparently is maintained by the Debian-installer team. So again, here you should probably discuss with that team how to best improve that to support extending with custom tasks.

Packages not in Debian should obviously be packages for Debian, for the final work to be a Debian Pure Blend ;-)

During development of your work, Andreas has a powerful way to keep track of software not yet packaged or packaged but not yet part of Debian. I am sure he will be happy to explain more about that himself :-)

Nice idea about suppressing irrelevant tasks! Try file that as a wishlist item against the tasksel package. And drop a note at this list if you do so, mentioning the bugtracking number.

Hmm - it would probably be good to generally track bugs related to Debian Pure Blends. Someone reading this and competent in juggling the BTS up for that challenge?

I had a look to several way to handle it like:
 - building d-i from svn and using debian-cd.
 - using a builded daily d-i and adding customizations.
 - simple-cdd tools.

Neither of above produces a Debian Pure Blend. But all of such "unofficial hacks" can be quite useful during _development_ of a Debian Pure Blend.

I want to keep it simple. What I need to do is not that huge so Im asking for suggestions about how to handle this in an easy way, keep it simple and thus to be able to generate quickly new versions.

That's a tough one: The things on your wishlists are ones not currently possible to simply "tell" Debian to do, so someone (you?) will have to implement the mechanisms first. Implementing simple mechanisms is often not itself simple, but please hang on anyway and help make it simple for the next ones with similar needs. :-)

Even if you do not feel like engaging in the development of mechanisms improving the needs of Debian Pure Blends, feel free to continue posting your needs - preferrably a tad more detailed. It might be just the right inspirational trigger for others subscribed here to do the actual coding and/or convincing work :-)

Kind regards,

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

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