End of the road for Fatdog64 600 series

Today I have switched to an early build of Fatdog64 700, in the interest of testing early and iron out all the obvious bugs. I still have 631 installed for emergency purposes, but I will not boot it up unless absolutely necessary.

It also marks the end of the development for Fatdog64 600 series, as from now on I will be concentrating fully to make 700 stable and feature-complete. The last of the 600 series, 631, will probably live for quite a few while, but there will be no further development on it. I will be depending on the community to provide support for those users who choose to remain on 631.


Posted on 10 Jun 2014, 4:18 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
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Fatdog64 631 released

A minor release, mainly updates for firefox/seamonkey and the flash player.

Release notes here.

Forum announcement here.

There is also a special version of Fatdog64 631 for Acer Chromebook C720. Details here.


Posted on 14 May 2014, 3:39 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
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Early glimpse of Fatdog 700

Kirk and I have been working on the next generation Fatdog64 - the 700 series.

Without revealing too much now, I can say that the new Fatdog is based on a completely new, modern base, and a new, flexible build infrastructure that can carry us forward into much further into the future than earlier builds; but it will still remain Fatdog that you know and love.

Today, an early build of 700 finally boots under UEFI and BIOS to a working openbox/rox desktop.

Functional-wise, this build is already at parity with FatdogArm Beta, but not yet at parity with the latest of the 600 series (Fatdog 630). Eventually the plan is to surpass 630 - after all, this is the next generation Fatdog :) We'll get there.


Posted on 11 May 2014, 19:59 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
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Fatdog64 630 Final is released

You have may heard it elsewhere first because I forgot to announce it here: Fatdog64 630 Final was released on 11 February 2014.

For those who have followed the 630 RC releases; the changes look minor, it is mainly software updates (but important - and I would like to thank kirk for doing most of the heavylifting). For those who stayed on the "stable" path, however, the changes from Fatdog64 621 to 630 is oustanding. You can check the full list here.

Fatdog64 630 would probably be the last and final release of Fatdog64 600 series. By the time of 630 release, the 600 series is fully two years old - an eternity in computer age; and it does show its age here and there.

This doesn't mean Fatdog64 will end. I and kirk have been discussing on the path toward Fatdog64 700; but this will not happen soon, so enjoy 630 while it lasts.

You can download it from the usual places: http://distro.ibiblio.org/fatdog/iso. For Europeans, nluug.org mirror is probably faster. For those in Australian soil, aarnet.edu mirror is for you.

Posted on 25 Feb 2014, 2:54 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
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Fatdog64 RC2 is released

Christmas present for everyone :)

Kirk has been hard at work building and compiling new packages for Fatdog64, and RC2 is now released.

Release notes here: http://distro.ibiblio.org/fatdog/web/630rc2.html.

Get it from ibiblio.org http://distro.ibiblio.org/fatdog/iso/ or its mirrors.

Forum thread: http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=745962#745962

Highlights:
- kernel 3.12.6 with user namespaces support
- latest Xorg and Mesa for improved performances, VDPAU is now included by default for better video playback performance
- GIMP 2.8.10


Posted on 24 Dec 2013, 14:33 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux
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Fatdog64 630RC1 is released

Release notes here: http://distro.ibiblio.org/fatdog/web/630rc1.html.

Get it from ibiblio.org http://distro.ibiblio.org/fatdog/iso/ or its mirrors.

Forum thread: http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=730926#730926

Highlights:
- kernel 3.11.4 with dynamic power management support for radeon graphic cards (lower temperature, better battery life, better performance). Please see this post from the radeon driver developer himself to see how to control the power/performance balance.
- updated Xorg and multimedia libraries
- multiple sandboxes (as first discussed here).
- LXC-based sandbox (as first discussed here). Note that the current 630RC1 kernel doesn't support user namespaces because it still conflicts with XFS and we feel that XFS is more important across the board than user namespaces. This may change if we decide to adopt kernel 3.12 which has resolved this issue.

Posted on 17 Oct 2013, 17:09 - Categories: Fatdog64
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Fatdog64 Update

I have been busy with FatdogArm in recent times but it doesn't mean that Fatdog64 is ignored. In fact, the development of the next version of Fatdog64 is currently in the works now.

Fatdog64 development usually alternates between two phases - development phase and release phase.

During development phase, kirk and I get very active and do all the usual stuff you usually attribute to "development" - and in between we will release alpha or beta releases in quick succession for others to tests so that we can squash the bugs. When the quality is good enough, we will make a release - this marks the beginning of the release phase.

During this release phase, generally all development slows down except for immediate bug fixes and/or experimental ideas for the next release; it also helps to relieve us from burnouts and focus on other things in life. After a while (usually a period of between 3 to 6 months), the development phase will begin again.

Fatdog64 621 was last released on 8 May this year, so it is due for a refresh, which is in the works. One of the thing we waited before we update Fatdog64 was for kernel 3.11, which, among others, comes with improved power management for radeon cards.

The next release of Fatdog64 will still be based on the 600-series base; this (barring unforeseen circumstances) will be the final release of the series, and expected to last until early next year - thus making the entire series to last about two years from its initial release (which is another Fatdog tradition - Fatdog64 500 series also last for about two years from its initial release).

It is exciting times; we have Fatdog Next running in our system and while we still have to tweak it, things are looking good.


Posted on 9 Oct 2013, 18:51 - Categories: Fatdog64
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Updates

I added information on how to customise FatdogArm here; and I added a sample script on how to run Slacko side-by-side with Fatdog64 here.

Posted on 19 Sep 2013, 3:32 - Categories: FatdogArm Fatdog64
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Speeding up ARM compilation

Compiling on the ARM (Mele) is slow. I recently tried to build the latest version of Seamonkey (SM) 2.20 for FatdogArm. As I said in this post, each build takes about 15-18 hours on the Mele. Yes, it is that slow. Now in the case of SM 2.20 it is even worse. Even after 24 hours it failed to build - because apparently 512MB RAM is now no longer enough to build it (it fails at the link phase). I tried twice - each totalling about 24 hours - and both failed. That's two days wasted.

I wanted to try again but I wanted to have a better way than this. I can't be spending 24hours for every build. There must be a better way than this.

Fortunately, there is - enter distcc, a distributed C compiler. distcc allows you to combine the power of several machines to simultaneously compile a single package. The machines don't even have to be identical, if they have the appropriate cross-compiler installed they can be used to join compilation-cluster of other platforms.

Using distcc, the ARM machine acts as the main controller, spreading the compilation load to other, faster machines. From the package build standpoint, however, it still looks and feels like native compilation. Thus, all the ease of native compilation with the speed of cross-compilation.

Using Fatdog64 in combination with FatdogArm, I managed to cutdown the "compilation phase" of SM 2.20 from 15 hours to 3 hours (plus another 3 hours for linking on either side). That's a 5-fold increase in speed, allowing me to perform 4 builds in 24 hours.

Do I get your attention already? This is how to do it.

The fight with SM is still on-going though. Despite the fact that I can compile much faster now, SM still refuses to build because it trashes the swapfile during libxul.so linking stage. In simple words - it is running out of memory. My Mele only has 512MB and apparently it's not good enough, and I don't have any other hardware with more memory, so I'm now building it using distcc-assisted Qemu (here for details of running FatdogArm in Qemu) - using the Vexpress emulation with 1GB RAM. This is similar to what Aboriginal Linux does. For SM build, however, it is very slow, because while the C and C++ compilation is much faster, SM has tons of python code as part of its build system - and python code can't be farmed out to other machines . Still, without distcc, I wouldn't even consider to do it in Qemu at all.

Posted on 7 Sep 2013, 5:28 - Categories: FatdogArm Linux Arm Fatdog64
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How to run Slacko Puppy side-by-side with Fatdog64

Somebody asked me recently whether it is possible to run Slacko Puppy side-by-side (or along side) Fatdog - that is, without the need for dual-booting etc.

It is possible.

In my original response I provided the outline steps of how to do so, but now I thought others may be interested too - so I decided to write an article about it. The article is here.

Enjoy.

Posted on 23 Jul 2013, 5:45 - Categories: Fatdog64 Linux PuppyLinux
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