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woofV create initrd

January 23, 2024 — BarryK

The previous post introduces "woofV", which is the Woof build system, in this case for building from Void packages and builtin to easyVoid. Previous post:

There are some major challenges ahead, but one step at a time. I have implemented a script, 'create-initrd', that does what the name suggests. See commit:

Any user of easyVoid can run the script and create a new updated 'initrd' file, at /mnt/wkg/data/woofV/initrd/. There is a bit more that has to go into it, but it is basically working.   

Tags: easy

Start create woofV builtin to EasyOS

January 22, 2024 — BarryK

There are many Woofs, from the original "Puppy Unleashed", to Woof v1, then Woof2, then Woof-CE and WoofQ. Plus some other variants. In a nutshell, what they do is put together binary packages from a Linux distribution and create .sfs files, an intrd and vmlinuz, and put it into a drive-image or ISO file.

WoofQ started life in 2013 as a successor to Woof2, at the same time as Woof-CE. WoofQ was originally used to build Quirky Linux, then later, in 2017, EasyOS.

Now that easyVoid is underway, with rolling-release model, it is time for a complete rethink.

One of the rethinks is that Woof can be builtin to easyVoid, not as a separate project on github. The "update" icon on the desktop will be repurposed to run woofV and build new 'easy.sfs', 'vmlinuz' and 'initrd' and then perform a version update. All done by the user.

WoofV is a very ambitious project; anyhow, I have made a start. Have written a script that creates the skeleton drive-image file that will become 'easy-<version>-<architecture>.img'. This has two partitions, by default a 7MiB esp and a 880MiB ext4. Script is here:

Next up, looking into creating a very basic rootfs using xbps package management.  

Tags: easy

easyVoid version 6.0.1 released

January 21, 2024 — BarryK

See 6.0 blog announcement:

Still to be considered as alpha-quality.

See the forum for photo, download link and ongoing discussion:    

Tags: easy

easyVoid version 6.0 released

January 19, 2024 — BarryK

This is the very first release of easyVoid; EasyOS built from Void Linux binary packages. Despite the "6.0", this is an alpha-quality release and is intended for testers. Here are earlier blog posts:

Download the drive-image file from here:

Newcomers to EasyOS are recommended to write the image-file to a USB-stick and boot from that. If you need guidance how to do that, read here:

...please use a USB drive of at least 16GB. It is also possible to do a direct install to internal drive; see tutorials at

easyVoid is being discussed on the Puppy Forum here:

There are some profound enhancements being dreamed of for the future of easyVoid; this will be on top of what is already an experimental distribution. It depends on no showstoppers being discovered, and my continued enthusiasm for this new direction, but may become an exciting new journey.

Anyway, although enhancements are planned, the fundamental operations of installing and running apps, setting up and using system utilities such as samba and bluetooth, should remain the same, and testers are welcome to try these. Report success/failure to the forum, and even better if you fix something let us know.         

Tags: easy

Thinking how to manage the Void rolling release model

January 19, 2024 — BarryK

I posted yesterday about liking how easyVoid has turned out:

...Flapi, the Flatpak manager, is now working, and various other issues fixed, so now looking even better.

Version 6.0 will probably be released this weekend, but I have been thinking of strategies to play nicely with the Void rolling-release model. If you were to install Void itself, then there are no future release numbers; you just keep syncing with the latest packages. EasyVoid could do the same thing.

The "update" icon on the desktop could work in a new way. Clicking on it, could download the latest packages from the Void repository, and build new 'easy.sfs' and 'devx.sfs' files. There would then be a version-update based on these files.

What this would mean is that easyVoid users can update on their own. They will not have to wait for me to release a new version of easyVoid. Although I will be releasing version 6.0, after that the version numbers will be by date, in format year-month-day, for example 240318.

EasyVoid would work like EasyOS, /mnt/wkg/releases has a history of past versions, or in this case, dates. If you were to update from, say, 240228 to 240318, but find that things have gone bad -- which is always a risk with the rolling-release model, no problem, just reboot and choose to roll back to the previous version.

I won't have to be constantly working to release new versions. I could go off into the Outback on my trike, or even "fall off the perch" as my step-grandad used to say, and easyVoid users can just keep on updating.

The "update" icon can also be made to read a patch-file from somewhere, if any fixes to the 'initrd' or 'easy.sfs' are required. Then there is the requirement to update the kernel -- and currently easyVoid requires a different kernel from the official Void ones.

The devil is in the details of course. The most likely way to implement this is to have a "mini Woof" builtin to easyVoid, let's say at /usr/local/woofv -- yeah, call it "woofV".

The kernel, yeah, a problem. It uses aufs, whereas Void kernel only has overlayfs. EasyOS relies on a big kernel, with all drivers builtin to access drives and HID devices. My very limited exposure to Dracut, as used for the Void kernel, is not good. Possibly woofV could also compile the latest kernel, or we could have a repo where a small band of easyVoid users can upload stuff, such as kernels.

Anyway, this is all very interesting. easyVoid 6.0 will be released, and it will have to be considered as an "alpha" release, because of my very limited testing. Testers will be most welcome! I will apply fixes, and hopefully implement "woofV" and at some time not to far in the distance, release easyVoid stable, not as 6.1 but as a date, like 240228.    

Tags: easy

easyVoid is looking good

January 18, 2024 — BarryK

The previous blog post is about returning to easyVoid:

We have been discussing easyVoid on the forum:

As I am working on it, it continues to be a pleasant experience. There are issues, that I will work on; however, reckon will go for it and release easyVoid version 6.0 soon.

Decided to jump to version "6" as this might be the start of something quite different. Testers will be welcome, and there are bound to be bugs, so the first stable release will probably be 6.1.

Not that we can really achieve a "stable release" with the Void rolling-release model. That is something that I have ideas to improve. Whether those ideas come to fruition depends on whether still happy with easyVoid after a few more weeks of development.

6.0 will not have the xbps package manager, relying totally on PKGget.

I tested on my old Compaq Presario, with Intel Core2 CPU and 2GB RAM -- easyVoid runs great. Didn't do much, just ran Firefox and watched a 720p YouTube video.

On my Lenovo desktop PC, with i3 CPU and 32GB RAM, at first bootup there was some video wierdness. Mostly text was rendering with characters missing. Xorg had chosen the 'intel' driver, which rang a bell; exited from X to the console, ran "xorgwizard" and it told me that the intel driver is using "sna" acceleration and offered to change to "uxa". Which I accepted, and video now OK.

Anyway, here is a photo, taken on the Compaq:


...yeah, decided to put together a new theme. Rather bland grey seems appropriate for a "void" distro. It looks alright I think. I have never been satisfied with grey themes, but this one seems passable.

As usual, have included lots of apps builtin. Firefox browser instead of Chromium, as FF is running fine, no flickering. This is the very latest FF. LibreOffice, Inkscape, heaps more included.

Tested printing, audio, working.

So what doesn't work? Flapi fails. Haven't tried Samba. I will see if can fix Flapi before releasing 6.0. Other things, like Samba, testers will be welcome.    

Tags: easy

The return of EasyVoid

January 12, 2024 — BarryK

A few months ago, was playing with EasyOS built from Void Linux binary packages. Expressed reservations about the rolling-release model, but the show-stopper was that NetworkManager (NM) refused to recognise the wifi interface. Here are related blog posts:

There was too much trouble with Simple Network Setup, and the wifi failure of NetworkManager meant that had to shelve EasyVoid. However, I received an email -- sorry, can't think right now who sent it -- advising that the problem with NM might be because Void uses Runit and NM might not be accessing dbus. Or something like that.

Today I conducted an experiment. Replaced the dbus, dbus-glib and networkmanager packages with those from Kirkstone, and voila, NM wifi works!

Interesting also, Firefox is playing nicely, doesn't flicker. That is FF 117.0.1; need to test latest.

This is good. Next up, will study how Runit can be made to play nicely with busybox init, and with EasyOS's pup_event extensions.

Busybox has Runit applets, that I looked at back in 2018:

I have compiled busybox 1.36.1, with the Runit applets enabled, and created a PET. This will be used in future builds of EasyOS, including EasyVoid.   

Tags: easy

Things are happening

January 06, 2024 — BarryK

Just a short post to inform that "things are happening", though I'm not posting much to the blog recently.

Caramel identified a problem with updating, as the year is now 2024. I will get onto that; hopefully soon release a Kirkstone-series for 2024, probably that will be 5.6.6. It will have just a few fixes.

I posted recently about the upcoming Yocto/OpenEmbedded Scarthgap-series. The official release won't be until April; however, getting ready. Gradually porting my build recipes, lots of things need fixing, also updating many packages.

The full-suspension solar electric tadpole recumbent trike project is progressing, though slowly. Currently building the front suspension, and intend to post about that soon. Need to do some welding next week, and will try and improve my arc welding from awful to passable.

Putting together a test system setup to test capacity of the two 48V lithium batteries that I now own (20AH NMC and 10AH LFP) -- want to find out how honest the vendors are. Also want to test the solar panels.

Thinking of bring back Quirky Linux; a completely different concept. Intend to post about that soon also.   

Tags: easy