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Re: focus for Embedded Debian

On 3/11/06, Riku Voipio <riku.voipio@iki.fi> wrote:
> Hi,
> It's only a month to to Extremadura. I'd like stir some
> flames^Wdiscussion on where we should focus most. If we don't
> have clear targets, we'll just end up hacking on random things.
> While random hacking isn't necessarily a bad thing, I'd like to be
> more ambitious.

Agreed. Unfortunately I couldn't go to Extremadura meeting, so maybe
I'm not aware of the latest EmDebian development.

> What I think an embedded linux developer typically needs from
> their distro:
> * a selected minimal set of packages
>   - glibc/uclibc + busybox/gnu userland
>   - with prebuilt rootfs's for popular architectures
> * easy way to crosscompile their own applications and add them
>   to their rootfs
>   - where "own" application might be something like apache2
>   - with whatever happens to be the most hot toolchain at that
>     moment
> * various easy ways to test and debug the system

* Host development tools integrated into Debian's main repository
whenever possible. (cross-toolchains not possible?)

> With abudance of available hardware, they likely have their own or hw
> manufacturers kernel, so the it's propable not in the scope of the
> base embedded distro.

Agreed. As I side note, I think it's a good idea to package u-boot's
"mkimage" tool, necessary to create kernel images suitable for this
bootloader (uImage). I have a local package for it, I can fill an ITP
for it if necessary.

> It they want Debian, they probably also want:
> * freedom
> * apt-get
> * Debians quality
> * Debian's brand name
>   - for these people we should also provide embedded ubuntu - that name
>         has even more hype ;)

Being one of the drafters of the EmbeddedUbuntu spec, I feel somewhat
guilty for not pushing discussion in the ubuntu lists :/. My feel is
that people from Ubuntu are concentrated ATM on fixing and polishing
dapper (Ubuntu next release's codename), so maybe I'll restart
discussions there only after the release... For now, I'm pushing my
work into Debian, starting by flooding qemu's BTS with patches :)

> Anything important missing? Are these realistic things to target,
> which parts of these are most incomplete in emdebian?

As always: documentation. I've contributed two HOWTOs related to
EmDebian (they are on the Wiki). It would be good if new features are
followed by easy-to-follow HOWTOs, which in future would serve as
material for a guide.

PS: I see you have proposed a BoF for Debconf6 regarding Scratchbox2
[1]. Do you have any development done (even highly experimental) in
this regard? I'm interested in making Scratchbox more integrable into
Debian too but I don't wan't to duplicate efforts :). I've also
recently found a TODO list[2] for scratchbox2 plans, it has some nice
ideas for a future version.

[1] https://debconf6.debconf.org/comas/general/proposals/58
[2] http://www.scratchbox.org/download/files/misc/sb-2.0-plans.txt
Anderson Lizardo
Embedded Linux Lab - 10LE
Nokia Institute of Technology - INdT
Manaus - Brazil

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