Debian Live After Debian Live

Get involved

After this happened, my next step was to get re-involved in Debian Live to help it carry on after the loss of Daniel. Here’s a quick update on some team progress, notes that could help people building Stretch images right now, and what to expect next.

Team progress

  • Iain uploaded live-config, incorporating an important fix, #bc8914bc, that prevented images from booting.
  • I want to get live-images ready for an upload, including #8f234605 to fix wrong config/bootloaders that prevented images from building.

Test build notes

  • As always, build Stretch images with latest live-build from Sid (i.e. 5.x).
  • Build Stretch images, not Sid, as there’s less of a chance of dependency issues spoiling the build, and that’s the default anyway.
  • To make build iterations faster, make sure the config is modified to not build source & not include installer (edit auto/config before ‘lb config’) and use an apt caching proxy.
  • Don’t forget to inject fixed packages (e.g. live-config) into each config. Use apt pinning as per live-manual, or drop the debs into config/packages.chroot.

Test boot notes

  • Use kvm, giving it enough ram (-m 1024 works for me).
  • For gnome-desktop and kde-desktop, use -vga qxl, or else the desktop will crash and restart repeatedly.
  • When using qxl, edit boot params to add qxl.modeset=1 (workaround for #779515, which will be fixed in kernel >= 4.3).
  • My gnome image test was spoiled by #802929. The mouse doesn’t work (pointer moves, but no buttons work). Waiting on a new kernel to fix this. This is a test environment related bug only, i.e. should work fine on hardware. (Test pending.)
  • The Stretch standard, lxde-desktop, cinnamon-desktop, xfce-desktop, and gnome-desktop images all built and booted fine (except for the gnome issue noted above).
  • The Stretch kde-desktop and mate-desktop images are next on my list to test, along with Jessie images.
  • I’ve only tested on the standard and lxde-desktop images that if the installer is included, booting from the Install boot menu option starts the installer (i.e. didn’t do an actual install).

Coming soon

See the TODO in the wiki. We’re knocking these off steadily. It will be faster with more people helping (hint, hint).

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Work around GTK+ open type ahead find

Typeahead find in gvim’s GTK+ open dialog box is driving me bananas, but today I discovered a trick I hadn’t seen before that will help work around it with a bit of relearning.

For those who aren’t familiar with the problem, John Goerzen describes how painful this feature is for large directories. Just imagine, then, having to regularly deal with large directories on particularly slow, remote filesystems. Argh. Unusable!

The trick I came up with to work around the problem is to first enter the path incorrectly and then fix it afterwards. Type a blank first, then the whole filepath, then [Home] to return to the beginning of the line, and finally [Delete] to fix the path, and [Enter] to open the file.

It still takes an awfully long time for gvim to read the file, but it’s a great improvement over either trying to type the filename blind, or waiting for each directory to be scanned. Ultimately, these files should be moved off the remote filesystem and into subversion, but there are cross-platform compatibility issues that prevent me from doing this at this time (OpenVMS + Linux + win32).

I’m still looking for a real solution. In the comments to John’s post, someone suggested there is a gconf setting that controls this, but so far I haven’t been able to find it. So for now, I’ll have to live with this hack.

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