Fuppes, Packaging, Weekly Summary

Packaging Gets Complicated (Weekly Summary Three)

Happy Valentines Day readers. I’ve had quite a little trip over the past few days. I have done alot this week in my attempt to package Fuppes for Debian and it makes for a long sort of story; so long, that you should consider this the weekly summary. I had finally taken Fuppes to the stage where I believe that it was ready to package; it compiled just fine on Ubuntu and, believing that Debian and Ubuntu were not that different, I wanted to make and submit a package for Debian. But first that would require a Debian install on my machine.

Dual Booting Ubuntu and Debain

The logical option was to dual boot Debian and Ubuntu and make them share the same /home partition. For those of you who have not heard of this before, many GNU/Linux users that I know prefer to always partition their machines so that one partition is for the root directory and one for the home directory. This has important advantages for data retention:

  • Your OS is separated from your personal data
    The operating system exists in the root directory and all of you data (should) exist in the /home directory; therefore, if you wanted to, you could completely reinstall your OS and keep all of your data. This has saved me quite a few times when I have damaged my OS beyond repair and done a complete reinstall; a few moments after the reinstall I’m exactly where I left off. No loss of data at all.
  • Better for Hard Drive Fails
    I have been led to believe that partitioned hard drives are easier to extract data from in the case of faults. Should you be crazy enough not to make backups, then you may have a greater chance of success of recovering your drive with this setup.

What this all means is that when I wanted to dual boot two operating systems that point to the same data all I had to do was add an extra partition for the Debian OS and tell it to mount the /home directory as its own. Therefore I have the following partitions on my machine:

  • /dev/sda6 – Ubuntu /
  • /dev/sda7 – /home
  • /dev/sda8 – Debian /
  • swap – Common swap directory

However, getting there was not that easy, and I encountered two problems when trying to install Debian lenny via a net install I met with two problems. The first was one that I could not explain; when I tried to install Gnome as my window manager it would download all of the required packages and then freeze for no apparent reason. I had no idea why that happened and I still don’t but I can tell you that using Xfce as my window manager instead solved the problem.

The next issue that I encountered was more serious, my Debian net install CD had no knowledge of the existence of /ext4 file systems; which was the type of file system that I had installed the Ubuntu root on. So when the Debian install went looking for other OS installs it could find nothing. It said that it found nothing else on the machine and asked me if I would like to overwrite the MBR. I didn’t really think straight and clicked OK; byebye Ubuntu Boot record. So Debian installed correctly but now my Ubuntu partition was unreachable; good one Robert, I felt pretty dumb. But, luckily, it was fairly easy to just reinstall Ubuntu on that partition again. Ubuntu recognized the /ext3 partition that Debian was installed on and now I have a Dual Boot-able system with Debian and Ubuntu. Finally I could try and compile Fuppes on Debian.

Compiling Fuppes on Debian

When I tried to compile fuppes on Debian it proved to be more difficult than I thought. It seems that the real difference between Debian and Ubuntu is the strictness of which packages you can install and what they provide. Debian is very strict about the whole FOSS concept and does not let you use anything that is not. As a result many of the meta-packages for fuppes did not build. My short term solution was to simply comment them out and try and get what remained into Debian. Once it was in Debian then it would be my future task to add support for all of the extras. As a result I am pleased to announce the following:

FUPPES has finally gone up for Debian RFS (Request For Sponsor)!

The package itself has been placed on mentors.debian.net for sponsors to download it and check it out. As of the time of this writing three prospective sponsors have checked it out downloaded it. I hope to hear from them soon with any comments that they may have. I expect that there will be a number of things that I got wrong, being my first package, but I will put in whatever effort is required to actually get this package in there.

Other Notes of Interest

  • It turns out that it is not that hard to make a package archive mirror for Ubuntu; I’ll be making one later this week.
  • The Ubuntu Vimperator package is broken in Ubuntu but not Debian. So for a dual booter like me I cannot currently have Vimperator in both Ubuntu  an Debain. This should be fixed in Ubuntu Lucid.
  • Bioshock 2 is an awesome game! I finished it in four days. The storyline was a major disappointment but the gameplay was beyond compare. All in all good work 2K.
  • Telstra Bigpond frustrates me. I am only allowed 12GB per month and there are no other competitors that I can goto to get a better deal; somehow they have monopolised my area and I am stuck with their ripoff prices.
  • The next game I might look at playing is Trine; suggested to me by a friend.

I hope you’ve had a great week. Thanks for reading this long post and I will keep everyone updated.

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