Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How PC/OS is built

I have been asked on several occasions how PC/OS is created and what I do thats different than what other Linux distributions do and whether PC/OS is just a "snapshot" of my own workstation. I decided to go into detail on what I do and if you have any advice on what I can do differently dont be afraid to drop me a line.

I have 2 systems. Ones called Core and the other Server Core. What I do is take a base install of Xubuntu and strip it. I take out all user applications so when Im done there is no web browsers, no mail client, no games in another sense of the word its stripped with only a few applications, Remastersys, ndiswrapper, XFCE and thats about it. Overall that install is only 300mb in ISO form. Updates are then applied to kernel and what little is on the system. I then have 2 systems that I use for building OpenDesktop and OpenWorkstation. Prometheus is OpenDesktop and Rome is OpenWorkstation. I take the core system and install it on both of these systems.

There is the planning stage. I take a six mile walk where I just think about PC/OS and what I want to include and what I can do to improve the system and this is the stage Im highly over critical of myself. I take out all my frustrations. At the end of the Six Miles I sit in a Seattles Best Coffee shop and still go over what I was thinking about. I then send out an e-mail and we get together and go over the plans. This is the vocal stage this is where I piss people off and they piss me off and I contemplate dropping the project but I never do. I also contact current users and ask them what they want to see changed and what can stay the same.

Next comes applications. I keep a list of decided applications that are in each and go scour the web. I do this to find the updates and revisions. i go to places like GetDeb.net and project websites. I go through project changelogs and see whats been fixed and see whats not and what problems are introduced. I then look for deb packages, if none are available I compile the applications myself and create the deb packages. I then install into the base system change what needs to be changed and create the initial ISO. Insiders and the dev team have access to these systems and can add and change as long as they keep a log of what changes are made and I inventory these systems on a regular basis.

Next comes testing. I install these systems on 2 laptops and use the system and see what works, what doesnt and what changes need to be made. this includes taking out applications, kernel tests and driver testing. I keep a running log of whats wrong, what works, what doesnt and what changes I made that actually work. I then make the changes, rebuild the ISO and pass it on to beta testers. I use a control group of beta testers so that its easier to keep track of problems instead of sifting through massive amounts of e-mail. Some of these people are corporate users, home users and a few others and they crunch, beat up and destroy the system and I get their feedback and make any changes that need to be made. There are 3 different levels of testing. Alpha which is ussually the initial build, Beta which has more changes and Delta which has the final changes and this is where PC/OS is finalized.

Final test, Omega which is given to the control group this is ussually the gold build. they test it and make sure everythings gold quality and then we go live. The final RTM ISO is built, and uploaded to the mirrors and the general public for download. The current build systems are imaged and made into VMs and then maintenance packs are created. After the release the team gets together and we have a Pow-Wow ussually over Skype and decide on what goes into the Feature and Addon Paks.

The same process is followed for OpenServer and appliance.

Ussually I start on the next release around the Delta stage.

So overall thats how its built. No snapshot is made of my own workstation and there is a lot of testing before its decided whats a success and what isnt.

Right now on 2009 we are on the Delta stage and Im beginning to think about PC/OS 2009.1

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