2008.06 Devlopment

I have been working very hard over the past week to get all of the packages updated to the very latest version. Some of the software that I use hasn’t been updated in a few years where as some others were updated late week. There OS should be released within 2 weeks.


  • i686, PowerPC and SPARC64 support
  • Latest software
  • More packages
  • Better build quality
  • Future LiveCD
  • X11 for R806

    Today I was told about by ‘Killerboy’ so I went over and had a look. It’s a GUI based on GNUstep. Seven months ago I made XFCE on Xfree88 but I never really followed it up. That was my first LFS that I’d made and therefore a bit buggy.

    Étolié is a nice and simple GUI and is highly flexible but it requires X11 and GNUstep in order to run. I used Xfree86 last time because it’s one big package that you compile. Xorg R7.3 on the other hand is made out of modules and thus easy to customise. Over the next week I will begin building Xorg for Blue Square Linux with the aim to have a working X11 server and Étolié. By the end of R806 I’d like to have these in RPMs making it easier to distribute them and also easier to make / remake them.

    R805 SPARC64

    After a few attempts at my SPARC64 build I’ve finally done it. It’s set up in pretty much the same way as the x86 and PPC builds but with one or two little differences because of the architecture. I’ve come across a problem with ping that I’ve fixed with a patch my friend made. I’ve also learnt how to boot using silo in command line mode after a mistake mean that non of the menus booted my systems.

    I still have the IDPROM problem that means the machine needs to be booted via serial but I can live with that for now. I think the new move would be to make RPM packages for PPC, x86 and SPARC64 for R806. This would be interesting because I know some of the packages like Silo do not work with the latest kernel so I’d either have to use an older kernel for the SPARC build or build silo on an old kernel and use the new kernel anyway.


    Well the PowerPC build went much better than the SPARC64 build. As a result the PowerPC build is having the packages updated and built where as the SPARC64 built hasn’t been touched in a while. Every time I do a new LFS built I learn more and more. I’ve made a small patch for the kernel that adds the Blue Square Linux logo to the boot and I’m working on updating the software too.

    I’ll explain the naming scheme a little. Mostly it’s something I make up on the spot but I have two main ones that I’m trying to keep to. The Main finished release is called 2008.03 Nicholas (YYYY.MM Name) and the work in progress is called R805 (‘R’ YMM) where Y is Year and M is Month. I do have a name for the next release but I am not telling anyone what it is.

    R805 screenshot


    I’ve not been able to use my computer for a few weeks but now it’s working and I can continue to work on my OS. As you know 2008.03 is done and my server has been upgraded to run on it, however some of the software has not been upgraded because the RPMS are not finished or because it would mean a lot of reconfiguring to do.

    Sparc 64

    Something I have noticed from my time on a support channel is that Ubuntu uses Mawk by default instead of Gawk. This is the reason that Glibc kept on failing to compile on my sparc machine because of the ubuntu host. Now this has been fixed I am working my way thought CLFS and have made good progress. The RPM spec files will probably have to be rewritten to support this multilib OS and some sparc specific configurations.

    Live CD

    I am working on a live CD made from the 2006.03 build so that it is easier to install. Currently it is a lot like Gentoo’s installation where you have to download and unpack a tarball and then create / edit specific files in order to get it to boot.

    Sparc pure64

    Now that I am happy with all the spec files used to create the RPMs for my system I am now starting the Sparc64 build again. This time I am using CLFS svn instead of my previous method of slowly replacing the Ubuntu install with my RPMs. This proved to be a disaster due to Ubuntu’s Sparc64 OS lack of 64bit. I ended up with 32bit programs linking to 64bit libraries and killing the system. I hope to have this build finished by the end of the week so I will let you know how it goes.

    It lives

    Well it is 11:30pm on a Saturday and I have just booted into Blue Square Linux 2008.03. There are a few little things left that I’d like to do such as compile the latest kernel but as it stands is still very new ( being the latest). I’d also like to get some of the files that I’ve made by hand during the build to be integrated into the core-file package and do a little more work on the first shell prompt. Apart from that the whole system is made with the RPM Package Manager from the start making it easier to update, install and keep track of your packages and their files.

    For a list of all the RPMs currently installed click here.

    Not long now

    The OS is coming along and should be finished pretty soon. It’s based on LFS SVN-20080327 with some customisation such as having ZSH as the default shell and the RPM package manager. The Sparc64 build has been abandoned for now to allow the x86 build to be finished. The spec files used to create the RPMs can be used on any architecture. This means that one all the spec files are made for the x86 build they can be used again for the Sparc64 build, so once the temperately OS is built and in place the computer can be left on running a script to build all the RPMS.

    Once all the used packages have been built I will look into a way of creating all the miscellaneous files used in the system. After that I purpose that an installer system would be the next logical step but seeing as how this OS is made for my purposes I might not make one.

    The shop is now closed

    After not having any orders for the last 3 months I was thinking about closing the stop, but then an order came in. Several dead DVDs later and a brief lesson in fight and gravity for my printer the order was finally complete and it was posted moments ago. Now I’m closing the shop. I am closing the shop is because OS that this website was originally created for is going well and overall I am making a lose on the DVDs that I sell. Failed DVDs and a temperamental printer combined with low sales mean that it is not really worth it. However I will still sell DVDs if you drop me an email at shop [at] bluesquarelinux.co.uk.

    I’m going to notify Debian and the Fedora Project to have my website removed from the vendor lists.


    I have been working hard on my systems and now both the x86 and Sparc64 hosts have RPM5 installed and I am working on the spec files. The spec files are used by RPM5 to build the packages and I am still learning about them. Some of the packages have simple spec files that work on both architectures but some (like Glibc) are much more complicated. The spec file uses different commands for the different architectures and created more than one RPM once finished.

    However once all the core spec files are made, tested and working for both sparc64 and x86 I can then build the whole system in RPM format. This makes it much easier to upgrade and distribute.

    Another thing that I should mention is a change in the version naming. Instead of having Version 0.3 like I was planning I thought that it would be better to have something similar to Gentoo’s version naming. The next version would be called “2008.03” and come out by the end of the month.