Debian Live Initiative

Forum: News
Topic: Debian Live Initiative
started by: pr0f3550r

Posted by pr0f3550r on Feb. 25 2006,13:11
Finally the guys at Debian have realized that somebody uses a Debian based live distro.

The < Debian Live Initiative > has been finally accepted as an official Debian project.

I think this is good news.

I wonder, if this is no secret, if the DSL core mantainers have been approached or if they (you) think to knock on Debian's door.

Knoppix and DSL should be the base of any official Debian live project.
Given the lastest trend, it'd be a disaster if Ubuntu was taken as a model.

I don't know you, guys, but I just cannot stand Ubuntu...

Posted by AwPhuch on Feb. 26 2006,10:35
What is wrong with current live systems?

There are already several Debian-based live systems and they are doing a great job. But, from the Debian perspective, most of them have one or more of the following disadvantages:

   * They are unofficial projects, developed outside of Debian.
   * They mix different distributions, e.g. testing and unstable.
   * They support i386 only.
   * They change package's behavior and/or appearance by stripping them down to save space.
   * They including unofficial packages.
   * They ship custom kernels with additional patches not part of Debian.
   * They are large and slow due to their sheer size and thus not suitable for rescue issues.
   * They are not available in different flavours, e.g. CDs, DVDs, USB-stick and netboot images

Obviously they havent looked at DSL...yes the stuff above the bold is bad..but what do you expect!  Show me any other fully useable desktop that fits inside 50MB...well duh..of course you have to strip and do some crazy things..but damn show me any other distro that even comes close (without using the DSL core as base)

It will be nice to see what they do with a "debian pure" live CD that is completely debian packages..but I guarantee it wont be small or as near as fast as DSL, but I guarantee it will be nice!


Posted by adssse on Feb. 27 2006,04:51
I think it will be very interesting to see what they come up with, and look forward to giving it a shot.
Posted by cbagger01 on Feb. 27 2006,05:42
I think that the concept of a single disk livecd that can also be a Debian install cd would be a great idea.

I would like to see a little less of the "attitude" towards other livecd projects however.

Of course, when the geniuses who think they can do better actually try to do it, it will be interesting to see how "pure" and "official" they can make their livecd.

For example, they may be able to build a livecd using only official Debian packages and scripts and hierarchy, but my guess is that it will suffer in one way or another, probably in the area of hardware detection and support.

KNOPPIX is an example of a project that "gets it".  They understand that hardware support is priority #1 and they also have a useful mix of Debian packages for user applications.  The KNOPPIX guys are even nice enough to package all of their custom scripts into nice Debian packages so they can be installed/uninstalled/upgraded just like anything from the official repository.  But for all of their trouble, they get insults from this "team".

The beauty of KNOPPIX is that it CAN be turned into a "real" Debian hard drive installation and can be purified to a 100% stable or 100% unstable distribution if necessary.

The KNOPPIX team has probably done more for the advancement and exposure of Debian than any other unofficial (or maybe even official) Debian-based project and for this they are considered to be an example of a "disadvantage"?

KNOPPIX tries to stay true to the standard linux (and Debian) kernel, but some trivial patches or additional driver modules are needed in order to support long bootup command lines and additional hardware.  They do not "customize" the kernel just for the fun of it.  They only make changes that are ABSOLUTELY necessary to accomplish the goal of the project, and nothing more.

Of course it cracks me up that these comments are coming from the same crowd who until very recently had a very SAD excuse for an installer, which is why for years KNOPPIX was always the smart choice if you wanted a Debian hard drive installation done and done quickly.

Given how long it took them to come up with a decent installer, I expect that we will see a decent livecd from them around 2016 or so.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Debian project and use it every day.

I just wish they could promote their livecd concept without the need to use the "Debian Perspective" to put down the work of others who came before them.

Posted by AwPhuch on Feb. 27 2006,08:52
Wow...true true true, and really not even harsh...just true...perhaps if they worked with the knoppix crew it would go faster...because I guarantee they wont be able to produce anything as nice without completely re-writing all thier boot stuff


Posted by clivesay on Feb. 27 2006,12:24
I think debian is maybe feeling a little left behind as livecd distros have boomed in popularity. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

I remember recently reading an article about the boom of Slackware based livecd's. The linux-live scripts have made it VERY easy to create your own custom livecd from a hd install of some distros. I used the scripts on an install of STX and in a few minutes I had a livecd of my installation.  

Knoppix is still king IMHO.

Posted by roberts on Feb. 27 2006,17:57
I find most other small liveCD distros don't have the hardware detection that Knoppix provides. Most do not pass my testing on the few machines that I have. It is not difficult to make a liveCD for your computer, but try making one that works on most computers. Knoppix based hardware detection works well, and that is why we are based on it and keep the KNOPPIX image name thereby maintaining the recognition that Klaus Knopper so rightly deserves.
Posted by clivesay on Feb. 27 2006,18:08
Posted by WDef on Mar. 08 2006,14:37
For the life of me I cannot understand why it has taken Debian so long to wake up to the need for a single cd desktop system installer. It's as if they had to be hit over the head with the rapid growth of Ubuntu.  And for years, fedora et al have had anaconda (multicd but very easy).  But in Debian I'm still inserting this cd and that cd, pulling out the one you first thought of etc. (And netinstall is not much good without a good internet connection).
Posted by runlevel5 on Mar. 08 2006,15:07
I think the root of the "problem"  (I don't know if it's fair to call it a problem) is that Debian is as much a philosophical and academic exercise as it is an OS (just think of their insistence on the term GNU/Linux).  Their focus is on creating or distributing true open-source software, and cannot compromise those prinicples for the sake of usability or compatibility.  for example, source code must be available and unencumbered by any kind of patents or non-FSF copyrights.

Debian is great as a reference standard for Linux.  If I were to build Linux from source, I'd work with Debian.  For really solid, well-tested, and reviewable code, I'll use Debain.  This is fine on a server that presents limited, standard interfaces; but for a "daily driver" on my PC, I'll use DSL.

Posted by pr0f3550r on Mar. 08 2006,17:55
I was sarcastic when I said the Debian guys finally realised the need for a Debian live cd.
However the fact is that many take a lot from Debian without giving much back. I know it is not easy to give back to Debian, given the monolith it is, but at least it is the most democratic software project there is.

Posted by WDef on Mar. 10 2006,13:10
Debian is as much a philosophical and academic exercise as it is an OS

Quite right, their focus is quite different and much more fundamental (and seminal) than that of an ubuntu or knoppix, and that's great.

Nonetheless they complain (not without justification) when Ubuntu sets up its own "deb" repos (not always compatible with Debian official repos) because they are creating the same issues that now exist with rpms - Suse rpms are not necessarily compatible with Fedora etc, so an rpm is no longer an rpm.  The same forking thing (no pun intended) is now happening with deb packages.

But Ubuntu, Knoppix and things like GenieOS (which is just an unofficial 1-cd debian installer) are all responses to *what people want*.

By all means, debian ought to keep its ideological purity - it's necessary.  And to their credit, there were informal suggestions made on a mail list to the GenieOS developer that he join the Debian installer team.  But by that time, he'd already established GenieOS on his own.  And  Ubuntu (like it or not) is unstoppable at the moment.  Perhaps it just takes people outside of the Debian mindset to see how it ought to best be applied on the desktop; perhaps all this distro forking is just inevitable as the linux way of doing things?

Posted by pr0f3550r on Mar. 10 2006,16:30
I'd not call thousand of developers' work a philosophical exercise. We are talking of hundreds of thousand of lines of code scrutinized on a daily basis.

The 'what people want' attitude is the one that justifies poor software and bad customer service and, in politics, usually goes along with 'what God wants' and leads to suspension of human rights and beheading of infidels.

I personally don't like Ubuntu, actually I think it's crap, but they have all the right to fork from Debian, because the liberal license allows them to.

About Ubuntu's unstoppability, if Debian decided to prevent the guys in the Channel Islands to rsync with their mirrors for just 24 hours, who knows how much it will cost...

Posted by humpty on Mar. 11 2006,22:10
I don't get it, why does any 'live' cd have to be 'official' ?,
to prove that it's 'gnu' ? If it's free, then just say it's free
or whatever. I like and respect lot about Debian but I don't want to have to worship it. I mean what's next? Debian mp3 players ?

Posted by pr0f3550r on Mar. 12 2006,15:43
Quote (humpty @ Mar. 11 2006,17:10)
I don't get it, why does any 'live' cd have to be 'official' ?

Quote (daniel baumann, )

Why create our own live system?

Debian is the Universal Operating System: IMHO we should have an official live system for showing arround and to officially represent the true, one and only Debian system with the following main advantages:

It's an official Debian subproject.
It reflects the (current) state of one distribution.
It runs on as much architectures as possible.
It consists of unchanged Debian packages only.
It does not contain any unofficial package.
It uses an unaltered Debian kernel-image with no additional patches (except from live system specific ones which maybe required).

I add my two cents: to prevent and reduce fragmentation, to have one, solid cvs tree, because 1000's of good developers can do better than a dozen skilled programmers.

However, my original question was; will DSL play a role?
For the lack of answers from the core developers and the recent mood on this forum, my impression is that the aswer is negative.

If there was an official Debian livecd, I'd probably invest my time in it, rather than a derivative.

Posted by cbagger01 on Mar. 13 2006,17:38
Of course, depending on the philosophical purity of the livecd, it may be difficult to get some types of hardware to be supported.

For example, does the Debian team approve of the "ndiswrapper" approach to wireless networking, or do they frown on it because it requires the use of non-GPL driver files?

Posted by pr0f3550r on Mar. 13 2006,19:32

The debian live initiative is still semi-official, altough the two promoters are long time Debian developers.
I have already suscribed the mailing list, I myself cannot give you an authoritative answer.
I remind you that Debian has three package branches: main (the purest), contrib and non-free.
Unfortunately is down but I remebers the ndiswrapper was in the testing sources

Posted by roberts on Mar. 13 2006,21:41
I wish them much success. I have always had issues with the granularity of their package managment system. Again, I see a user's post wanting xcalc but the apt-get would want to install a ton of stuff. How would this work on a liveCD even with unionfs. Seems to me, it would require a huge machine to be able to truly dynamically add software. It is precisely this reason, why I developed the mydsl to allow easy addon applications in such an environment. However, my target, small footprint and old hardware, is much different than theirs. I expect that they, like most other Linux distributions will only get larger and demand much more capable hardware. It will be interesting to watch their development. There ceratinly is much knowledge and advancments from which to draw on.
Posted by pr0f3550r on Mar. 14 2006,19:08
You might want to look at my post on their mailing list, where I advocate Knoppix and DSL:
< >
Notice Marco Amadori's "Do non worry".
Maybe if those who care about DSL but also about Debian participated to the project, we could lead the project itself into the right direction.

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