LP Distro?

General discussion about PLUC and Linux in Pakistan.
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LP Distro?

Postby jargon » Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:55 am

Is there a linux pakistan distro?

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LP Distro

Postby mahin » Mon Oct 13, 2003 5:28 pm

There used to be PKLinux but it has not been maintained/upgraded.

Any volunteer?

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Postby jargon » Mon Oct 13, 2003 10:46 pm

I think it would be a worthy cause. Develop a linux based distro. so that the gov't of Pakistan would have something they can be persuaded to use for all gov't offices. Of course we could make it very secure, localize it with Urdu fonts, and everything. Kind of like what America is doing with its own development of Secure Linux for the DOD.

What does PKLinux have at the moment, or where can I get more info. about it.


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LP Distro

Postby mahin » Tue Oct 14, 2003 1:32 pm

Agree with you but making a Distro which can be used through out Pakistan requires more then one person.

There is no need to start with the baggage of past we can safely ignore PKLinux old edition and start from scratch.

We need a distro which IMHO has following:

1. Every thing in it is GPL - No Compromise on that.
2. It should be Live Distro [ aka like DemoLinux/Knoppix ]
3. It should be instalable like normal Distros should user want.
4. Distro should be on one CD.
5. It must provide an option to install LTSP server [ may be an issue with live CD but need to explore it further].
6. It must provide LAMP based development envoirnment.
7. Open office
8. KDE
9. Accounting
10: Add to this list.....

We need the project to be devided into two phases:

1. In first phase we re-master an existing distro which can be used as tool for translation and other work.

2. In phase two we develop actual distro.

Now most improtant question: Which one should be used as our base Distro.

We have following choices:

1. Debian as base [ best choice IMHO but may not be practical due to lack of skills and other issues ].

2. Use Red Hat - very popular but will not suit our needs as they are focussing more upon latestet machines which does not matches our needs.

3. Use Mandrake - no point in using that we may instead just work for improving the Urdu support and leave the whole distro as it is. We need some thing which is GPL and available all over the world in same state. Our people need to experience Mandrake as it is IMHO.

4. Use Lunar Linux as base - Ideal if we are targetting only Colleges for now as it needs lot of work to add desktop support. This may be ideal but we need lots of testers / contributors which I do not see happening in near future. If Government is funding then we should go this way IMHO else we take some easy way.

5. Use Slackware as base ; Advantage of this is that we have very good working examples of two projects both based upon Slackware:

A - Vector Linux - GUI Desktop Distro based upon Slackware
B - Slackware-Live - Live Dsitro based upon Slackware.

What we can do is combine all three. We can use Slackware-live and re-master it and make PKLinux-Live Distro.

We should not remove any thing from original Distro except what is not needed in Pakistan [ support for languages other then Urdu/Arabic/English etc.,etc. ] and add only those versions of packages which support Arabic/Urdu [ like Vim 6.2 , OpenOffice 1.1 and beyond ].

While Slackware is not my first choice [ Debian or Lunar Linux if I have it my way :) ] but Slackware seem to be the easiet way [ funny the most difficult distro has become the most easiest due to extensive support ] for us. Its strong points are:

1. All three distros are GPL.
2. It is optimized now for 486/586 and need limited resources to perform same tasks on PI for which a RH or Mandrake would need PIII. Very important for us.
3. We do not have to work too much all we need to do is simply re-master and may be test few applications for Arabic/Urdu support.
4. Main Developers of Vetor and Slackware-Live are very accomodating to the idea of including the support for Urdu in their distro provided we help them. This means once support is added in main distro then making our own based upon that is relatively easy.

Please comment on what I have posted and feel free to make a wish list but before you do that please spend some time and read about what you want is already available in any particular distro. Then check if it is not included in Slackware or any of its derivative Distro's.

We need help and lots of help if only for reading on any topic and alerting others towards intresting points. What this prove that you can help if you can only spend some time in reading about any designated topic.

We need prople who can translate. Having computing skills is not an issue, we will provide the original text in English along with its translation into Arabic and Farsi. This will make the job easy all he/she has to do will be to make a choice of using Arabic/Farsi or even English term and this will speed up the translation work.

We need one or two persons to undertake re-mastering of distro.

Then we will need those who can use the re-mastered distro and install specific application which we wish to add or test existing application for Urdu support.

Just read through what is being proposed say what ever you feel like but if any one feel like making an offer to help please think seriously before making an offer. Do not make an offer to help if you do not mean it. No I am not being rude but the reason we have not been able to finish most of the time is because we relied upon what people promissed to do then simply vanish in thin air.

Your comment's are welcome and understand if you do not have time to help us but we [ at least me for sure ] are not willing to waste our time for people who are not serious.

My appologies for last two para's but it is about time we did some plain talking. Every one is welcome to join and decide what should be done and then help accomplish same.

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Postby fawad » Tue Oct 14, 2003 9:20 pm

I'd love to take the job of translation, but I need someone to get me started. Info I need includes:

  • What tool do I use to translate?
  • Where do the translated strings go?
  • How do I integrate the translation with the app?


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Postby Faraz.Fazil » Tue Oct 14, 2003 11:49 pm

Well, first of all, i appreciate the dedication of people here especially tariq bhai aka mahin and fawad.

Remastering a linux distro to make it best suited for pakistani user needs is indeed a great idea..

But the thing is , remastering a linux distro is not a difficult task, but not an easy task either.
It all depends on how deep we choose to go.

Consider the example of mandrake.
Mandrake is a derivative of redhat.

But mandrake has indeed done alot of work in depth on creating the distro that it now has mandrake linux from the original redhat.

If we try to do something like what mandrake did to create its distro from redhat, that would not be possible frankly.

Also, the majority of the people here would lack the required skills and most of all the dedication and sincerety.Agreed we have great skilled people like fawad and basit who are quite capable of doing it...but the majority of the people here, lack those skills, that sincereity and dedication.

So the point here, is, indeed we can remaster a distro...but to a limited extent and using limited base distros.

WE can indeed make some valuable changes...but due to the shortage of skilled and dedicated people to do this job, the remastering can be done to a limited extent

I would like to hear other people's views esp from fawad and mahin on the skills required to remaster a distro and the shortage of skills we have here in pakistan.

Now, coming back to the issue of remastering a linux distro for paki people, the first step would be to choose which distro to remaster.

It is common sense that we cannot start from a hude original distribution like debian (7cd), redhat (3 cd) or mandrake (3 cd)....its not the number of cds but the the fact that remastering these distros's original official version would not be feasilble.As mahin said, it would be better to have users use mandrake and reddhat they way they are originally.

What we can do, in my opinion, is to use a already cdrom based distro like knoppix or slackware live as the base distro.We could also consider vector linux to a certain extent

Knoppix and slackware-live already are quite keen to let users and help them in remastering their distributions.

Knoppix is a distro meant to be run from a CD. Klaus Knopper, the chief
developer, manages to squeeze 1.7 GB onto a 700 MB iso, so it comes with
almost everything you could possibly want. While it is primarily meant to be
run from CD, it includes an install script. The steps to remastering Knoppix
are well documented in the forums (http://www.knoppix.net/forum/) and any
questions you might possibly have are probably already answered on the
mailing list (http://mailman.linuxtag.org/pipermail/debian-knoppix/). And,
Knoppix itself is based on Debian

Simialrly slackware-live, as its name suggests, is based on the slackware distro.

Knoppix has provided and easy way to remaster their distro.


Knoppix - Remastering Suite V1.01 released and tested on Knoppix V3.3

This suite lets you easily remaster the KNOPPIX-CD, through a menu-based interface.

It copies the CD into the needed directories, creates boot disk images (New 2.88MB CD-Boot image with rescue disk, based on busybox included) and starts a menu based package manager, with is very easy to use.

After exiting, the tool cleans up automatically (if you wish the tool to do so), checks and restores the dependencies and ask you to make the cd-image

Also, included is the fs-reengine V1.3 tool, which is described in the Remastering-Suite.

To use this tool, simply start your computer with the Knoppix-CD in runlevel 2 (recommended), while typing KNOPPIX 2 at the CD's boot prompt. After booting change to /tmp and enter wget http://download.ghostdrivers.de/remaster.php

After that enter tar -xvzf remaster.tgz and start with ./install.sh

Further steps declared in the program itself


Also the urdu translation work would be by no means an easy task.

as stated before, i would really appreciate replies and discussion on this remastering issue, esp from other seasoned people like fawad and mahin.
I would like to hear views on the skills required to remaster a linux distro and doing the translation to urdu work...and the shortage of skilled and dedicated people to do these jobs here.

Also guyz, esp ,,mahin, , i would like to hear , as to how you would describe remastering a linux distribution in your own words.Would you describe it as the process of making changes to a linux distro like what packages are available, adding few extra features like urdu translation like in our case, creating custom setups or what? i.e in short making it more suited to your own needs by remastering it to a low extent?

If i unintentionally said anything wrong, then im sorry...but i have tried to talk about facts here.
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Postby jargon » Wed Oct 15, 2003 5:37 am

Well, let me first say that I have no idea how to start something like this but it is something I would like to be a part of.
I agree, it is not possible to start with Redhat / Mandrake / Debian. These distros are quite complex and personally i dont feel that for the long run they are wise decisions. Our distrobution must be free from the boundaries created by the above distrobutions. Redhat and Mandrake are too bloated and very unstable and insecure, and Debian on the one hand being secure but too outdated in terms of software versions.

I was first thinking about Slackware because it is quite stable and its complexity is kept to a minimal plus it has a lot of the latest software.

(I've checked out Onebase Linux, and i like their idea of a simple Linux system with a pool of applications which are downloaded off the internet after the base system is setup and all the packages are compiled on the fly. It takes a while to setup the system but it provides a secure and stable box, - These packages could be kept on PKLinux servers or something that way only users within Pakistan would have access - Just an idea http://www.ibiblio.org/onebase/)

Anyway, If we were to develop such a distro, it has to be expected that it will not be an easy task. What we need is some platform to launch ourselves from , and perhaps Slackware, and Knoppix are good first candidates (since they are quite simple to begin with) along with what has been learned from PKLinux. But what we develop has to keep to some main principles - security, ease of system management {software packages }, and localization. I wouldn't even care if it meant developing something brand new as long as it encapsulates the needs of Pakistanis.

Speaking of phases, whatever we do we cannot expect regular Pakistanis to start downloading our distro, but I guess what I really meant at first was to develop a Pakistani based distro which would be initially used in government offices, and departments. Something that could appeal to the government as a smart alternative to provide security in the nation's communications. Think of it our own operating system - made by Pakistanis for Pakistanis! And to do that we would have to convince them that it provides excellent security, easy alternative (low learning curve) and adopting it would be a viable move. I think this would also help to solve problems with other hackers or govt agencies from rogue nations attacking Pakistan's digital infrastructure plus it would increase people's curiosities and I wouldn't be surprised if down the road the project involved a few 100 people. There is talent out there.

Anyway, I dont want to sound too much like an expert for which I am not, but thats my 2 cents, what do you think,
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Postby spawnisalive » Wed Oct 15, 2003 10:01 am

hi ppl,
i may be new to linux but i m sure i can catchup with u ppl so count me in, give me some good docs and tell me what to do, currently reading linux docs and trying it out is mostly what i am doing i got a spare machine and can get access to one more so where do i start.

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