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 Forum index » Taking the Puppy out for a walk » Misc
Some thoughts on puppy's state and future
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mavrothal


Joined: 24 Aug 2009
Posts: 1564

PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 06:57    Post subject:  Some thoughts on puppy's state and future  

I'm a relative newcomer to Puppy and linux but I hope I can express some thoughts, even as an outsider.
Should be noticed that some of the issues addressed here are also appearing in several other threads in this forum. I just try to put them all together in a "global" approach.

Current State
Puppy is a bursting community of capable, creative and (mostly) friendly people that is producing the (apparently) most successful "small distro" , that brings it at the heels of "big distros".
Currently Puppy-5.x builds has 6 in development (Wary, Racy, Saluki, Lupu, Slacko and Fatdog) and countless other derivatives to fit every possible need. This has the obvious advantages but also some disadvantages I believe.
The major one is "consumption" of good developers in rediscovering the wheel and thus the limited advancement of puppy-core, which is supported only by one person Barry, that also takes care of 2 official puppy builds (and some experimental).
The obvious question is, can we keep all these while being more efficient and advance puppy further?
If you think not, stop reading here.

Puppy goals
Puppy is a distribution established for its support of older hardware, its compactness, efficiency and portability.
Lately we see more and more puppy running in machines with 2+ cores and 4GB+ RAM while ISOs can fill up a CD and have UIs with every imaginable bell and whistle (obviously Saluki is not one of them).
There is nothing wrong with these builds and is good to have. However, they may try to "pull" Puppy that way. May be they are right. May be the P3/P4-class, 256/512MB RAM machines are the minority of the puppy-istalled base and will disappear the next year or two. But also new "low spec" hardware is appearing in the market. Namely, netbooks and ARM machines.
A decision must be made to what extend puppy is going to focus in newer, high power hardware and if so what will be its competitive advantage over Ubuntu or Fedora, other than few milliseconds in program loading or Puppy-on-a-Stick that almost every major distro has now-days.Is it going to shift to netbooks and ARM? Is it going to stick with the older hardware as a primary goal? All of the above? Other?

Tool Chain
One major problem of the current multi-faceted approach is "dispersion" of puppy developers. Currently puppy does not have the person-power and the organized structure required to be "everything to everyone". At the same time its limited resources are hampered by the lack of a common tool-chain.
Every distro for each major version has as a minimum a common kernel, binutils, gcc, libc and xserver. This allow for consistent packaging and easier upgrading. In Puppy all the aforementioned builds are different in one component or another. Thus the same packages must be re-compiled, similar bugs must be re-squashed, repos must be re-build.

But what about old hardware and multi-binary compatibility? Two of the current puppy goals.
I think that like wary/racy, every Puppy-N.x could have a main and a retro version (with their respective tool chains).
Regarding binary compatibility, to the extend that the tool chains are different, they should not have the puppy major version in their name or even describe themselves as "based on", because simply they are not. Could be Puppy Slacko for example but not Puppy 5x Slacko, or could be Puppy 6 if Barry or whoever decides, decides that this will be the tool chain the next version will use.

Woof
Woof, the puppy builder, is actually what puppy development is today. Is responsible for the flurry of puppies and the recent puppy success, I would think. However, may have some weaknesses that could be improved. E.g have less hard coded items, use source files instead of binaries etc.
BK is the sole developer of woof. The developer community contributions may address one or another bug/feature but do not affect woof structure and inner workings to any extend. May be woof could be reworked, addressing some issues and coming in line with other matters mentioned here. May be could open up to more contributions by other developers. May be it could have a "stable" and a "development" branch as other build system have. May be it could be split in subsections and have different maintainers for each one with Barry at the helm (like kernel.org). May be ... I'm sure that will not be a lack of ideas in this front.

Package management and repos
One major problem with puppy and derivatives is packet management and repos. ibiblio has 15 repos and smokey01 another 6 or 7 while the forum has countless pets. At the same time PPM does not know how to handle these and quite often installing a package generate more problems than it solves. This is not user friendly and gives the impression of a sub-par distro.
Puppy needs audited, signed pets and PPM needs to check dependencies and version compatibility in advance. Could allow "unofficial" packages to be installed (as many other package managers) but maybe after a series of scary warnings.
Besides the user friendliness this should also release some of the developers' efforts to debug and/or recompile packages.
Of course such a change, besides new coding, needs some decisions on the pet format and requirements and some people to actually do pet QA and repo maintenance.

Puppy summit
All these bring up the issue of decision.
This is strictly up to Barry Kauler. He is the owner of Puppy. He is the one that must decide how and by whom the puppy label can be attached to a build.
My suggestion is that this should be done by a group of developers and users hand-picked by Barry or voted by the community. This group can channel a bit the scattered efforts, decide on principles and development approaches and assure continuation if/when Burry retires.
I believe however that this decision can not be made in a forum or in a chat-room or by any other electronic communication. I think is time for a puppy summit
(Some travel cost could be covered by donations from the multiple puppy beneficiaries).
In this summit/meeting/conference BK and whoever else is available will meet face to face and discuss in person what should be done, and most important how it should be done, for any of the aforementioned issues deem worthy.
This "strategy" meeting could be augmented by developer presentations of new infrastructure items and a code-sprint to address some puppy issues or lay the foundation for some additions/changes to core puppy (e.g. gtk3 support that ttuuxxx started on 2.14X)
So let's get all the (big) dogs together! Very Happy

My (looong) 2c.

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Lobster
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 07:45    Post subject:  

"strategy" meeting?

Barry K is semi-retired - not sure he would attend.
I would not.
I have never been part of a meeting
or management structure that improved anything.
No that is not true - I was chairman of a committee
that worked
(we built and financed a community poly tunnel for veg growing)
I must go and see it some time . . .

We follow the chaos theory
You get on with the bit that interests you and
a few years later you have Puppy Linux

Where do you want to meet? Secondlife?

We have a distinct lack of wiki page developers
compilers
promotion
logos
We do have great support on this forum
We could have more on IRC
and http://puppylinux.info/

Your other points are most welcome
Be interested what others are prepared to do. Cool

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nooby

Joined: 29 Jun 2008
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Location: SwedenEurope

PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 08:11    Post subject:  

I am not a Developer I am barely a proper user even.
Puppy are very dear to me and without the Devs
what would puppy be? So what happen to Devs
is of utmost importance to me as a PuppyLinux lover.

Quote:

One major problem of the current multi-faceted approach
is "dispersion" of puppy developers. Currently puppy does
not have the person-power and the organized structure
required to be "everything to everyone".


Quote:
A decision must be made... strategy


But this is where I trust you innocently are very wrong.
And the reason is that you have not enough experience
of how it works here in the forum. Had you known then
you would have written another post. Smile

We have had this discussion about strategy and which
decision that must be made and also about the
"dispersion" of puppy developers not a long time ago.

We barely survived that strife. The wounds are still hurting.

Now I am not the best person to explain it to you.
I am too confusing in my thinking and my poor English
mess up my intent also.

But as short as I am able to. Puppy Linux Devs are in it
for the fun of it. If it is fun for them to be structured
setting up things you suggested then that would have
been organized but practice show they are not that
kind of developers. They do what they feel for and that
is why Lobster named it "chaos". And that is what works
here. The structured approach you suggest does not work.

Sure I can be wrong but that is my experience since 2008
Those who have better memory than what I ahve can
give links to Puppy User Groups threads and you can
catch up on the havoc that strategy created.

Apart from that as Lobster indicated. You are very
welcome to contribute to documentation of the chaos.

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mavrothal


Joined: 24 Aug 2009
Posts: 1564

PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 08:59    Post subject:  

Frankly, I never thought that meeting person to person is just a bad thing. Nor that structure is a red flag.

I already said that the goal is to keep puppy dynamics and hopefully minimize the waste of effort.
I even attempted in the previous paragraphs to make some relevant points about them.
These are the important parts.
Meetings and organization are just suggested means to the goals.
Yes, there is also the holly spirit and natural selection that could achieve those.
I just thought we may not want to rely on these.

Again, I'm much more interested in the black headers than the blue one.
Any thoughts on those?
Thx

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nooby

Joined: 29 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 10:25    Post subject:  

Ooops now you caught me totally off guard.
Embarrasing indeed.
Quote:
I'm much more interested in the black headers
than the blue one. Any thoughts on those?


You mean that your title is blue and that you prefer it to
be black? I never thought about it at all. Flash may explain?

Anyway. From your answer I guess my words in my post
above totally fail to reach you or to be understandable.

I trust Lobster or somebody else is better at English
and to express thing logically. Can somebody help
poor nooby out here?

Devs comes in many kinds or versions Smile
Those that have shown interest in Puppy seems to
have a majority of the "inner motivation" variety.

That means that they do their own structure and their
own relational organization.

Read up on how they produced Lucid Puppy and Slacko
and who did what and how they communicated with
each other.

I can be wrong but I trust that none of Lucid Puppy
and Slacko would have existed if one had gone for it
in the manner you suggested.

Lobster named it "chaos" and I name it "inner motivation"

Both chaos coding and inner motivation dies fast if
being under pressure from outside.

Your approach is easily felt as a pressure and the inner
motivation would soon die. within a few hours.

AFAIK we have ample of evidence for that in the forum.

Somebody share their developing ideas and some of us
start to "structure" it or suggest a strategy or decide
on things and it dies instantly. Nothing comes out of it.

so it is a very sensitive thing and that is why I try to
bring over that knowledge to you now. Do you read me? Smile

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darkcity


Joined: 23 May 2010
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 10:53    Post subject:  

bug tracking, or setting up a foundation seem to be no nos

http://puppylinux.com/development/project-statement.htm

the good thing about many developers working on similar things is they gain knowledge as they go.

Puppy gives you freedom to try ideas out.

Maybe developers will come together to focus on one project later - it all depends on good will Arrow

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mavrothal


Joined: 24 Aug 2009
Posts: 1564

PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 12:00    Post subject:  

Nooby, is hard to believe that Debian, Mint, Arch, SUSE, Fedora etc have neither motivated nor capable developers.
You do not need to enforce or fence development. You just need to reason, guide and inspire. Or simple lay some ground rules.
And if someone wants to do things differently, nobody stopping him/her.

I really have a hard time seeing how it blocks development to have a common toolchain, a good package manager, a common repo or woof branches when it comes to "Puppy N.x" development. Heck, this was the case till Puppy 4.x I believe (minus PPM).
Do you believe that these will just happen or that they do not need to happen?

Regarding Lupu, Slacko etc nothings stops them from being puppy 6, 7, 8 or what ever. Imagine though a user that is trying to upgrade from puppy-5.2.8 to puppy-5.3. Shocked
Do they suppose to read few hundred pages of threads before they can use Puppy?
I said in another post "tong in chick" that puppy is all "fun and games". Is it all it is really?

Anyway, I think I made my thoughts as clear as I could.
I certainly do not accuse anybody or tell them what to do. We are all big boys and girls. And I'm sure devs can speak for themselves if they feel they need to.

I just say what I see being discussed around here and what I think about it.
You say that things are "just fine thank you".
So be it then.
Hopefully Barry will be with us for a long time.

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nooby

Joined: 29 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 12:26    Post subject:  

Quote:
Anyway, I think I made my thoughts as clear as I could.


Obviously from what you write Nooby have totally failed
to find words that reach you at all.

So I hope somebody good at logical thinking and good at
expressing them in plain English explain what my confused
wording try to bring over.

As I tried to say. We have several examples of that devs very
easily abandon a thing if one try to structure them from
outside.

I've been there myself and they reacted strongly and
told me to shut up and I am trying to do that now.
I keep as low profile as I manage to

but when Puppy get threaten by too much structure
then I will not keep my big mouth at all. Then I tell
it as plainly as I can. We do have current and older
examples that any even mild "wishing" can stop a Dev
for years they loose the fun of coding and take a long
long long break or we loose them all together.

Such is sad indeed so my best advice is to always give
them friendly encouragement and praise for sharing
their ideas.

You being this organized could maybe help Lobster
then to get the documentation in order?

I would only mess it up. That is also the reason I have
stopped trying to help newbies due to me messing things
up! So I keep out from being a mess.

But not when Puppy devs are being targeted then
I speak out or up and raise my voice in support
for creative chaos of Puppy Development.

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darkcity


Joined: 23 May 2010
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 13:13    Post subject:  

I think we can discuss Puppy's future without offending any devs.

I understand that in the past some devs have stopped after people made well meaning suggestions.

Here we are talking generally so we should be safe.

Some devs might actually feel more like getting involved if some more structures are in place. the forum is a structure too and has put people off.

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jemimah


Joined: 26 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 13:33    Post subject:  

I do think a puppy meetup might be fun.

Barry is pretty quick to accept woof patches actually, especially bug fixes.

---

Regarding structure - as nooby says, it can't be imposed from without. It can be grown organically however.

You have to start with an inspiring idea - and a developer that can make it happen.

Saluki actually addresses most of your concerns.

Goals: Newish hardware and netbooks (because this is what I know the best).

Tool Chain: Same as Racy and Wary, which Barry has stated are Puppy's Long Term Support releases.

Woof: Bugfixes are sent upstream. Enhancements take longer as they need to be tested and Barry would have to agree that it's an actual enhancement.

Package Management: The plan is to have several repo maintainers and the repo will contain only "tested" packages. There won't be 20000 packages, but the ones that are there will work.

Whether or not this takes off really depends on how well we can implement it and whether enough people in the community like the idea enough to support it. We must lead by inspiration, not dictation.
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mavrothal


Joined: 24 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 14:26    Post subject:  

Jamimah,
I have noticed you so far unanswered calls about repo/package maintenance and PPM. And Saluki indeed tries to follow Racy with the exception of the kernel and you woof patches that you said you'll post upon completion. Was one of the "issues discussed" I eluted toat the top.

I really have a hard time understanding why people "read" "dictation" in what I write. English is not my native language (in case you missed it Razz ) and I tried hard to make clear that I'm talking about consensus building and well thought and educated actions for these rather important matters, after a face to face meeting.
Yet somehow from what I understand, it comes through as "imposing" or "forcing". Why?
Do you (generally) read something though the lines, or it is what I wrote per se?
Is it just because I say the obvious like all Puppies version X should be compatible (as for example the sane version Ubuntu, Lubuntu Xubuntu, Kubuntu etc)?
Do you "translate" what I say based on past experiences?
Other? Confused

Anyway, I really hope a Puppy meeting will happen and something good will come out of it.

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Lobster
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 15:00    Post subject:  

Quote:
repo/package maintenance


you mean something like this:
https://sites.google.com/site/puppylinuxrepos/distros

I think smokey has a server too . . .

We have had meetings on IRC in the past
Other methods have been used

We can accommodate about 5 people on a conference call
with Puppy phone
http://puppylinux.org/wikka/PuppyPhone

Smile

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jemimah


Joined: 26 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 19:09    Post subject:  

mavrothal wrote:
Jamimah,
I have noticed you so far unanswered calls about repo/package maintenance and PPM. And Saluki indeed tries to follow Racy with the exception of the kernel and you woof patches that you said you'll post upon completion. Was one of the "issues discussed" I eluted toat the top.

I really have a hard time understanding why people "read" "dictation" in what I write. English is not my native language (in case you missed it Razz ) and I tried hard to make clear that I'm talking about consensus building and well thought and educated actions for these rather important matters, after a face to face meeting.
Yet somehow from what I understand, it comes through as "imposing" or "forcing". Why?
Do you (generally) read something though the lines, or it is what I wrote per se?
Is it just because I say the obvious like all Puppies version X should be compatible (as for example the sane version Ubuntu, Lubuntu Xubuntu, Kubuntu etc)?
Do you "translate" what I say based on past experiences?
Other? Confused

Anyway, I really hope a Puppy meeting will happen and something good will come out of it.


Saluki 009 is the first version I started working on the repo - so now is the time to have the discussion. If you want to be a repo maintainer, just PM me and I'll send you the password.

I wasn't trying to imply you were "dictating" - I was simply responding to other posts on this thread. I don't think discussing this stuff is bad - it only becomes demotivating when the threads are dominated by those who do not contribute in any meaningful way expressing entitlement.

To me it doesn't make sense to call for developer unification because that would mean suggesting devs working existing projects would all abandon those and somehow reach a consensus and work together. This would only work if we all had the same vision and were really good at communication. As it stands, we're lucky if we can avoid flame wars over the default browser.

IMHO, the right way forward is to attract enough new compatible developers to reach critical mass. The only way to do that is build something significantly different than the standard puppy, and pursue quality and excellence at the expense of being "everything to everyone".
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runtt21


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PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 21:19    Post subject:  

IMO the way to go is to build a good solid dependable base that anyone can take and customize to what ever their specific need/want is.
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jemimah


Joined: 26 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Feb 2012, 21:57    Post subject:  

Yes! That is also key.

That's why saluki has the apps in a separate sfs than the base. So you get a useful live cd, but you can turn it into a bare bones puplet in 2 seconds.

I have plans for an nifty adrive builder tool that should be very easy to use.
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