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WhoDo has resigned

June 12, 2009 — BarryK
WhoDo (Warren) let me know yesterday that he is resigning from the Package Coordinator job. I expressed my regrets. It is now public knowledge on the forum:

I am disappointed that the squabbling has continued. Hmmm, this is democracy at work ...the "benevolent dictator" model looks better every day.

Regarding flame wars on the forum, well, it happens. I have been known to lose my cool at times, but I recognise it immediately and pull back. What I see in some threads is one person posts something slightly provocative, there is a counter post, then a counter post to that, and it spirals out of control. Perhaps there is a case for the forum moderators to step in and say "time out", "cool off", and freeze the thread or whatever. I don't recommend banning people unless it is a last resort.

Regarding who should run the show next year when I go more into the background (I'll be working on Puppy-related projects no doubt!), I am starting to think we should stay with the dictator model but with someone who has a history of never or rarely losing their cool on the forum -- there are 5-6 possibilities, but I don't know if any of them would be interested. If that looks like a good way to go, there would have to be a safety feature builtin, such as me having power of veto.

I did think about the idea of staying in charge, but slowing down the pace of development to a trickle, maybe one new release per year. I don't think that is practical though, as too many people are clamouring for bug fixes, new features, drivers, code contributions, etc., etc.

...anyone got any thoughts about these ruminations of mine?


Planning for Puppy 5.0

May 28, 2009 — BarryK
I have received several emails and pms requesting me to exert some authority over the future coordination and planning of Puppy, as they see things as falling-apart somewhat.

Yes, there are problems. Quite degenerate discussions have been going on in the forum. Even this very recent thread still has simmering discontent:

Another major problem is that the Woof-built Puppy has major new infrastructure, and I'm the only one who really understands it all for now.

I would like to open the topic for discussion, whether I should step in for awhile, "take the reins" as they say -- or in this case, the leash. Temporarily only.

Lobster suggested awhile back that perhaps I should coordinate the very first Puppy 5.0. After that, a "council" or whatever can work on later versions of the 5.x series. That first 5.0 could be seen as a "template" or "reference build", and others would be welcome to add bells and whistles.

Now, to develop Puppy 5.0, there has to be a focus of effort on building from one of the compatible-distros. I have chosen Ubuntu Jaunty.

There are aguments in favour of Debian, Ubuntu, Arch, Slackware or T2, but a decision had to be made. But of course, people are free to work on Woof-builds based on any of the compatible-distros. I am personally interested in going for a super-cut-down T2 build a bit later on.

I suggest that someone have a coordination roll in my proposed Puppy 5.0 project, vetting PET packages for inclusion in the 'pet_packages-5' directory and SFSs into 'sfs_modules-5' directory on I have offered this position to WhoDo and he has accepted.
...a howto for this will be posted. Packages added to this repository will then be listed in the Puppy Package Manager.

Nathan has commented (in the thread linked-to above) that my retirement is rather strange as I seem to be working on Puppy harder than ever. Yes indeed. I have been beavering away working on Woof and the Puppy Package Manager, but moving back into coordinating 5.0 is not the direction I want to move in. So, take it as temporary only. Very temporary, probably only 5.0, then the invariable 5.0.1 bugfix.

In fact, as I have said years ago, by early 2010 I will get my superannuation (pension) and plan a major change in what I am doing. I will probably keep tinkering with Puppy stuff (and continue to maintain, but may go off on other tangents, like explore Genie coding in depth ...or whatever. By then, preferably well before then, it would be great if a really solid team could be in place for running the Puppy show.

I don't consider myself to be a very good team player, which is one reason why I don't want to step back to full-on coordination longer-term. I also have specific ideas about Puppy and tend to do what I want, not what others keep telling me I should do. For example, I do not think that we should be moving back to including Tcl/Tk and it will definitely not be in my 5.0 release.

Of course, I am open to suggestion. If there is a consensus that my above comments are not appropriate in some way, let me know. If you agree with my comments, let me know also.


The proposed 4.2 team

October 15, 2008 — BarryK
I am very uncomfortable that I am forced into the role of assessing people for roles in the future 4.2 team.

I have posted some thoughts in the previous blog post, and Lobster has reflected some of this in the wiki:

However, I am not the one to decide who leads the team, as I am supposed to have stepped back from any leadership role. So, I have made some preliminary recommendations only.

The list of interested parties can firm up over the next week, perhaps even those concerned can have some private dialog and come to a consensus. Then a forum thread can be started to seek a consensus from the wider Puppy community.

Regarding building a Slackware-based 4.3, or anything else for that matter, it is the kind of thing that someone can "just do". Perhaps check that two people aren't going to do the same thing first though. If someone just presented it completed, done, built from 4.1, then it immediately becomes a prime contender for the basis of 4.3. It would have to be a Unleashed build system, with packages rebuilt from Slackware packages, not a remaster. The 'devx' component also!


Partial report on what I have read

October 15, 2008 — BarryK
This is going to be one of my aggravated posts, that I am sometimes prone to.

I have read part-way through the discussion on post-4.1, and a few things are emerging. Firstly, regarding tuuxx -- I do not want to target anyone, but ttuuxx has repeatedly posted comments that are incredibly superficial. For example:

"The 3 series just worked for myself better than any 4 series, I dislike the new pmount and shoving the floppy as default on my pc, which I haven't used the floppy since I made this pc around 12 months back, an extra click about 50 times a day, or the crappy clipboard downgrade on the 4.0 series that drives package producers like myself nuts. Really to tell you the the truth the only good thing on series 4 over 3 is is the default jwm theme. But I instally replace that anyways with Icewm."

Firstly, the Pmount in 4.1 can readily be configured without tabs, just hit the 'preferences' button. Secondly, the clipboard sync program used in earlier puppies was removed for good reason, but it is a PET package and can easily be installed -- without it, the clipboard works as per all other Linuxes/Unixes and just needs to be understood. If there is a majory wish, then it could be put back as default in 4.2.

All of the above has been explained to ttuuxx before, but he remains stuck with the same mantra. The assessment based on these comments that Puppy3 is better, is so incredibly superficial.

Then there is the issue that Puppy 2 or 3 works on some hardware whereas 4 doesn't. Yeah, well, it works both ways. This is basically a kernel version issue, not a Puppy version issue. There are so many posts that Puppy 4.x works properly for the first time, compared with versions prior to 4.x. Many recent posts about how fast 4.1 is also. 4.1 also has by far the best hardware detection.

Then there is the much-praised Slackware compatibility of 3.x. Well, someone can rebuild 4.1 with the latest Slackware packages if they want. It is a straightforward process, just very time consuming. 3.x is based on Slackware 12 packages, so is getting a bit long in the tooth. If someone wants to rebuild Unleashed 4.1 with the latest Slackware packages, then call it 5.0, why not? Go for it.

ttuuxx has asked can he coordinate the next Puppy3? Why not? I'm not stopping you, go for it.

There is also the comment from ttuuxx that I am maintaining control over everything, while at the same time retiring:

"Last I read Barry wants to keep just about everything puppy related in his name other than releasing newer versions"

Huh? I want to keep the "Puppy Linux" name, so what? To whom should I give it? The domain names and are registered by me, which means that I do have some veto power. Again, so what? Isn't this a valid safeguard?

So ttuuxx, I've had a go at you. Take it on the chin. You have also posted heaps of great stuff, and great packages. It's just that I am being bombarded with people asking me to make some kind of comments about what seems to be a lot of dissension on the forum ...well, I am now responding, and stepping on one or two toes in the process. Ttuuxx, it may turn out that you are the best guy to coordinate 4.2.

I have only read partway through the links, and so far I'm not impressed. Some people are asking for guidance, but what is to stop a small group getting together and work on 4.2? Nothing. Lobster is trying to coordinate something, but I am seeing a lot of arguing only from the contributors.

Meanwhile, the developers are continuing to work quietly. Regarding who should coordinate, by that I mean be in charge of using Unleashed to actually build it, and work on the core scripts, there are very few people to choose from. Other people can certainly play managerial and testing roles, but to actually build future Puppies...

Personally I think Dougal is the best choice, but he is working on 2.x. Probably Dougal would not want to take on such a heavy duty anyway. Who else is there that understands what is going on under-the-hood? Kirk? Rerwin is pretty good at coding and is learning about Puppy's boot scripts. MU also, but he has Muppy. Nathan also, but he has Grafpup, and also seems to have gone again. There are some other guys, like tempestuous, zigbert and HairyWill who have the technical ability, but again they would have to get up to speed with the boot scripts etc.

A side comment: many of the guys are "nice guys", approachable, friendly, helpful. Zigbert for example. One reason I favour Dougal is because he has a certain toughness and is less likely to bow to everyone's wishes. That's just my personal assessment.

There is some infrastructure in place for building Puppy, at Sourceforge, and I would like to thank cb88 for that. The thread started by cb88 had some good practical discussion.

4.2 is not going to be revolutionary, just refinements of 4.1. Fix some rough edges, update some packages, new themes. This can be done, just like 2.15CE was done. It just needs someone competent to step forward and do it. For 2.15CE, WhoDo offered to do it and we accepted, and he did a very good job. WhoDo, are you interested in a new project?....


Plans for the future of Puppy

October 15, 2008 — BarryK
Since I announced that I was taking a back seat, effective from release of 4.1 (well, 4.1.1 actually), there has been a lot of discussion and planning. I have not been following any of this, but now have some time to read through it. First step is to collect all the links, and here is what I found:

Puppy 4.2 - desktop and artwork

4.2 meeting - here

Establishing a formal community

Puppy Community


Puppy's future
Bruce B

Puppy 4.2

Barry's retirement from Puppy

How should Puppy be developed when Barry steps down?


Puppy Community Register

Puppy Linux community repo is active on sourceforge

...I am now in the process of reading through all these links.

regarding numbering of versions, my plan was that the numbering would go back to having a dot between each digit:

4.1 is our current release.
4.1.1 is going to be a bugfix release, that I intend to bring out.
4.1.n these are either bugfixes or alphas or betas.
4.2 the next official 'final' release.

As I am targeting 4.1.1 for the near future, and want to move on to my UniPup work, I doubt that I will work on 4.2, so that's for you guys.

Tags: retirement

Amended retirement statement

October 02, 2008 — BarryK
Those who have tested 4.1rc may have noticed that the release notes have an amended "retirement" statement:

I have decided to bow out from my position as leader (also known as "Benevolent Dictator") of the Puppy Linux Project (held since I released v0.1 in mid-2003), and take a back seat. Version 4.1 is my final release as leader. A small group of trusted developers will take over, although the details are still to be worked out -- there are a couple of threads on the forum discussing this.
I won't be going away totally, and plan to focus on a "puplet" (derivative of Puppy) based on my "UniPup" concept and targeting specific hardware, probably one or more of the baby laptops. This will be a more part-time project than the hectic full-time pace that I have maintained over the last couple of years.
It is likely that I will keep working on some aspects of the "core" or "base" Puppy, primarily for my puplet but that will be useful for the mainstream Puppy.
Also, I will retain whatever copyright/trademark rights I currently have and continue with ownership of the and domain names. Plus, I will provide input to how and who takes over, hopefully without interfering too much. I see this as providing a kind of safeguard function -- I am mindful of other distros that have languished after the Benevolent Dictator left. Monitor my blog for updates on the transitional phase as I progressively retire.
I think this is a great opportunity, and Puppy will become better and better!


Binary compatibility with a major distro

August 28, 2008 — BarryK
I'm thinking that after 4.1 and 4.2, it might be wise to move back to binary compatibility with one of the major distros. It is so incredibly time consuming compiling packages. And, you have probably noticed how many times I am recompiling the 2.6.25.x kernel. It is better to leverage off all the hard work that goes into a major distro I think.

After releasing 4.1 and shifting one step closer to retirement, I will be working on my own puplet that targets one or more of the baby laptops. I might reconstruct Unleashed and the 'devx' based on packages from a major distro -- but not necessarily Slackware, perhaps the upcoming Ubuntu 8.10 'Intrepid'. What do you think about choice of distro?


Retirement, some thoughts

August 28, 2008 — BarryK
Right now I'm going ahead full steam on 4.1, and will see that through to 4.1-final. if it turns out that we need another bug-fix release soon after, then I will definitely keep going to create 4.2. I may even feel motivated to do 4.2 anyway. Basically, I'm thinking of retirement at about the end of this year.

I have been offered work at the Perth Royal Show again this year, from 22nd September to 4th October, so will have much reduced input to the Puppy project in this interval. 4.1-final should be out before then, so there will be a lull anyway.

Not that I'm really going to retire of course -- I'm too darn enthused by Puppy, even after all these years. But, I'll be developing my puplet, at a slower pace and with less community interaction, just tinkering, doing my own thing.

There is one thing that I would like to see, that is the systems-level developer guys getting more direct control in what happens to Puppy. Up until now, everything gets channelled through me and I decided what's in and what's out, and I modify what others have done. There are those who have wanted more control so they forked their own projects, and Nathan's Grafpup and MU's Muppy are good examples -- those guys have a lot of initiative and also the dedication to create and manage their own distro.

But many other developer guys would prefer to remain part of the team. Besides, "Puppy Linux" is the distro that most people are drawn to, it has the name, the reputation, the widespread presence in the web and various publications. So staying and supporting the main Puppy Linux makes sense.

Guys we trust
I started to think of some of the core systems developers who I think should have more direct control of Puppy:
UPDATE: John Murga

There are lots of other guys who are probably more on the application development side:
UPDATE: rarsa
...but some of those may also fall into the first category.

Those lists are not complete, just some names I thought of in about 5 minutes. They are guys who have been with us for some time so have proved themselves. We can trust them with the "keys" to Puppy. It's a starting point, more names can be suggested.

Of course there are some, like Raffy, who are probably more in the 'management' category rather than core-developer or application-developer.

Probably an SVN/CVS system, as has already been created for, would be what is needed for these guys to be able to have more direct control of Puppy.

This blog
One little implementation detail. I want to keep my blog going. This is primarily "Barry's blog" and will continue with news about my puplet and other stuff, perhaps some mainline Puppy Linux news too.

The problem with that though, is the URL, If I change to another URL, that is going to break a lot of links, which I don't want to do. Perhaps if I give domain to the guys, they can put a redirect into to my new URL? -- can that be done in your Hostgator site?