[Tinkerphones] Boxer (was Re: [Gta04-owner] New LetuxOS Kernels and some tricks and thoughts)
jonas at jones.dk
Mon May 27 19:40:24 CEST 2019
Quoting Paul Boddie (2019-05-27 18:43:39)
> On Monday 27. May 2019 15.25.00 Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
> > Wauw! Probably the first ever review of Boxer :-)
> Probably not a fair one, though...
> > Yes, I think it is an accurate description. As for "[not] much of
> > immediate use" I believe it stems from being about reusable patterns
> > - so if the project at hand cannot benefit from any of the existing
> > patterns (in package boxer-data) then it is _more_ work, not less,
> > to use Boxer if measured by that one project alone.
> I didn't realise (or see) that there was a boxer-data package. Looking
> at it again, it does seem like a framework for writing deployment
> recipes by defining the nature of nodes (specific systems) in terms of
> classes (kinds of systems, described in terms of physical
> characteristics and other capabilities).
> It seems that the work performed is focused on installing packages,
> although I also see that there are "tweaks" which allow shell commands
> to be used where packages would presumably need extra configuration. I
> don't have any real familiarity with "orchestration" type solutions,
> but it gives me the same kind of impression.
> I imagine that Boxer would be useful in preparing images to deploy on
> devices like those discussed on this list, which I suppose isn't too
> far off from things like FreedomBox, presumably the original target of
> this work.
Thanks again for looking at Boxer. Your understanding also here is
accurate (phew - I know the documentation is really bad).
Correct, main use of Boxer is handling package choices. Reason is that
the aim is to support "Debian Blends" - i.e. systems defined by how
packages are installed not how the system is afterwards tweaked.
Ideally, Boxer does the same as debian-installer but from a separate
host (contrary to debian-installer which operates on the target host).
Therefore "tweaks" is a discouraged concept, even though often crucial
at first, because any tweak is expected to be pushed "upstream" into
relevant Debian packages. When perfect - i.e. when no tweaks are needed
- you have a so-called "Debian Pure Blend":
Correct, Boxer began as a generic tool for bootstrapping FreedomBox and
similar systems created as direct competitor to a specific-purpose shell
script emerging in 2011 to bootstrap Freedombox: Some of us FreedomBox
developers met in person after a year of getting nowhere concrete with
the project, Bdale Garbee worked on the specific-purpose script, I set
out to make a proper tool but Bdale was quite sceptical, arguing that
would take years. Here we are 7.5 years later and Boxer still cannot do
the tasks of the special-purpose script (which used vmdebootstrap, btw).
Boxer was first used for Debian Parl, a system for independent
parliamentarians used in a pilot project at the European Parliament.
Boxer is most recently used for https://box.redpill.dk/ which is sort-of
a stepping-stone for https://solidbox.org/ - my (future) competitor for
* Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
* Tlf.: +45 40843136 Website: http://dr.jones.dk/
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