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Re: Ideas/Questions about Jigdo...

On Tue, Dec 03, 2002 at 10:30:49AM -0600, Erisian Saint Vinge wrote:
> My question is how are the .jigdo files and templates created and
> will there be an easy program/way to do this so that one could
> basically design their own iso with custom packages.

Yes, this is possible, but no, it isn't really easy. First, you need
to create your custom ISO image in whatever way you like. Then, you
call the jigdo-file command line tool, and by taking the .jigdo file
it outputs and tweaking it appropriately, you'll be able to make jigdo
download the individual .deb packages for your custom CD from the
Debian mirrors. You might want to have a look at
<http://atterer.net/jigdo/jigdo-file.html#EXAMPLES> to get an idea of
what types of things you can do with jigdo.

> I think this would be great as it would allow a great increase in
> the flexibility/usability of debian. People could create their own
> custom releases that have the packages they want/need while not
> wasting time on packages that they won't use and couldn't
> comprehend.

Yes, but note that jigdo can give you no help whatsoever with actually
*creating* the ISO... there currently isn't an end-user friendly way
to create custom CDs, because the debian-cd scripts require a local
Debian mirror to be present.

> I mean someone could create a .jigdo file and template customized for
> older PCs say 486s that would focus on packages that would run easier on
> the older platform, while avoiding newer packages that are too bloated for
> a older pc to handle. [...]

One idea that I've been contemplating and which is roughly the same:

Should we extend the popularity-contest package so that people can
choose what type of user they are?

The resulting stats could be used to create one "Debian server" CD
release, a "Debian desktop" one, a "Debian workstation" one, etc. -
much like the different distros e.g. from SuSE.

For this to make any sense, the special-purpose CD releases should
only consist of 2 or 3 CDs each, and only the extra "Debian full CD
release" would come with the complete set of packages on 7 CDs.

> I mean the other possibilties for customized isos that could still be
> downloaded from all of the debian mirrors are pretty exciting to me. I
> don't know any of the other distributions that this would be possible
> with.

It's perfectly possible to create, say, a custom CD with Redhat RPMs
on it and let jigdo download the RPMs from a Redhat mirror. It's just
that nobody has done that yet.

> So what are the technical details that need to be filled in to
> accomplish this ? I mean obviously if a program that allowed people
> to customize their ISOs it would have to have a list of all the
> debian packages, it would probably be very similar to DSELECT but
> hopefully GUI,
[snip snip]

Sounds like a nice idea, but it'd be lots of work - good luck writing
it! ;-)



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