[Tinkerphones] [Gta04-owner] New LetuxOS Kernels and some tricks and thoughts

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Mon May 27 12:33:53 CEST 2019

On Tuesday 21. May 2019 23.29.43 Paul Boddie wrote:
> I can't judge what is conservative or not, but the first thing I thought of
> was this:
> https://wiki.debian.org/vmdebootstrap

It appears that it now has a successor:


> And, of course, it is deprecated. Good thing I never paid it any attention
> when people were talking it up! More here:
> https://wiki.debian.org/SystemBuildTools

So, in the context of the makesd script...


...I had a look at what kind of tools might also do the same job. The tasks 
makesd appears to do are as follows:

 * Downloads pre-built bootloader, device tree, kernel, modules, root

 * Partitions a disk according to device expectations

 * Formats filesystems

 * Unpacks or copies the different payloads into their destinations

Not wanting to spend weeks looking at this, I briefly looked at the following:

ELBE - https://elbe-rfs.org/docs/sphinx/article-elbeoverview-en.html

Seems very powerful, but is also rather heavy, needs to use virtual machine 
technology, has a verbose XML configuration language.

isar - https://github.com/ilbers/isar

Seems to be oriented towards building root filesystems, delegates image 
generation and other such tasks to other tools, needs qemu.

FAI - https://fai-project.org/

Seems powerful for its intended use but overkill and maybe not even completely 
appropriate for the more modest goals being considered here. Also needs qemu.

Boxer - https://wiki.debian.org/Boxer

Since Jonas is the author and maintainer of the software and Debian package, 
he can correct me on my impressions. This appears to be a framework for 
performing system configuration tasks, maybe even deployment, but the Debian 
source package doesn't seem to contain much of immediate use (at least to my 

Meanwhile, I took a closer look at makesd itself. It seems like a very capable 
script but is also rather complicated. Out of curiosity, I wanted to see if I 
could break it up into smaller pieces that are easier to inspect and maintain. 
Consequently, I ended up rewriting functionality, investigating some awkward 
issues with sfdisk, and generally spending more time on doing all of this than 
is perhaps worthwhile.

Still, my ongoing efforts can be found here:


Eventually, I will get round to looking at more substantial things, of course.


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