Common Terms, Names and what they mean

An overview of FoxyRoxyLinux

Common Terms, Names and what they mean

Postby jbv » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:56 am

This is Very Much a Work in Progress - I won't get much done on this tonight
This may come out "jumbled up".
With help from saintless, I will clean it up and hopefully get it into a form that makes sense....

A key component of FoxyRoxyLinux is clarity and uniformity.
To this end we will not be using any cute names or descriptions.
Wherever possible we will use clear concise names, terms and descriptions for the various files and functions.

One thing that always confuses me is when people refer to an installation as being "frugal". I haven't got the faintest idea what this means and I don't want to know. There are two ways to run FoxyRoxy, either from a USB stick (Flashdrive) or from a HDD (Hard Disk Drive), so lets please call them what they are. Either a USB or HDD installation. We will use the term USB or HDD to clearly identify where FoxyRoxy lives.

The full install (or complete install) copies all uncompressed files of the operating system on a selected partition which can not be changed anymore. All directories /dev, /mnt, /bin, /lib are uncompressed on the partition and you can modify them, delete them and do damages to them which can even kill the OS.

Frugal install will copy the files from live cd to hard drive in compressed squash file which is read-only. You can not change it or modify it unless you uncompressed it first and recreate it again with the modifications. Frugal install is not complete install because there is not dedicated partition for it. You can move /live folder with the compressed files on any partition you like and you need only to change the number of the new partition in grub menu list to make it boot. You can't do any damages to frugal installed OS because the compressed file is read-only. Even if you use a save file you can make damages only to the files inside this save file, not to the base compressed OS. Frugal install is booting just like booting from live cd without the CD.

Persistence causes some people grief. This is where the OS can keep track of what you are doing and automatically saves everything so that you can turn the machine off and when you turn it on again, the system will appear as it was before being turned-off. It remains "persistent". This capability can be used with either a USB or HDD configuration, although as it takes longer to write to a USB stick, we would not recommend that you use this capability.

If you require a persistent installation you should use a HDD configuration. This requires an additional partition with a special name to achieve this.

saintless: I need help here. Can you please explain the two methods, then we can decide on proper names for each.

You can use persistent method from HDD install (Frugal install until we decide how to call it official) or from USB stick or from Live CD. You need only to have the word persistent in your kernel line in grub menu list or in the boot configuration file in your Live CD and to have uncompressed save file named live-rw on the top (not inside any folder but on the top) of any vfat or ext partition. NTFS partition will not work for live-rw save file. Live-rw save file will work also on a usb stick.

You can also create ext partition with label live-rw which will be used to save your changes just like live-rw save file. But to have more flexibility I would suggest live-rw save file instead live-rw partition. This way you have the opportunity to rename live-rw save file and to boot in your base first time booted environment. You will have also opportunity to move your live-rw save file in different partitions.

You can create live-rw with this commands:

Code: Select all
dd if=/dev/null of=live-rw bs=1M seek=3000
mkfs.ext2 -F "live-rw"

1M is for 1 Mb, seek=3000 will create 3Gb live-rw file.

You can mount this live-rw save file in another linux and edit its content with this command:
Code: Select all
mount -o loop /path_to_your_live-rw_file /mnt

This will mount live-rw file in your /mnt folder. You can see and edit its content.

The snapshot (making new squash file) save file option can be explained much better from you, JBV :)

Some of the names, terms and abbreviations you may run into.

"sqf" will often be used as an abbreviation meaning a standard .squashfs container file

"injection file" will mean a .squashfs file that used in one of two ways.

Method 1) ... The file will have a standard .squashfs extension.
This type of file will be a standard "sqf" file that will be totally self-contained.
This sqf file may contain a complete package that is complete and ready to run with all dependencies, and may even contain special configuration stuff required for the package. All of the required parts will just overlay themselves in the right place so that things "just work". The package or program may not appear in the right-click desktop menu as this would require changes to things that can't really be dynamically changed, although it should appear in the Taskbar menu. This type of file is referred to as an "injection" because it is simply being "injected" into the system during start-up and works. If you do not want this file to be injected, simple change the extension of the "sqf" from ".squashfs" to be ".squashfs.noload" and it will not be loaded.

Method2) ... The file will have an extension ".inject"
This type of file will be a standard "sqf" file although it will usually have a special function. In most instances it will be used to "patch" the core sqf's. To do this there will often if not always be a scripts file accompanying the injection file. The script will load the core sqf that is being patched, it will then inject the inection sqf into the file and save the modified core sqf. You will need to restart the system so that the modified core file and system is loaded/used.

In brief "sqf" is just shorthand for a standard .squashfs container file.
The term "Injection" is shorthand for a standard .squashfs file that is either injected during start-up or injected once and patched so that it becomes a permanent part of your system.

Desktop Menu - This is the menu that will "pop-up" when you position your mouse cursor on the desktop area so that it is not over an icon, and you click the right mouse button.

TaskBar Menu - This is the menu that appears on the TaskBar and will pop-up when you left-click your mouse cursor on the Debian icon is in the lower left corner of the screen in the TaskBar.

Script - These are a standard Bash Script file, which is really just a pre-programmed set of commands and sequences that are executed just as if you had typed them from the command-line. Scripts can be quite powerful as they can also use some simple yet powerful programming sequences to make decisions or take branches based on various things. Scripts are in fact a form of programming using standard Linux tools and features. As such, they can be quite powerful and be made to do all sorts of tricky stuff. In a way, you can think of of a Script as being a super clever user who knows what to do when you tell them to do it for you.

There will no doubt be other terms and nomenclature (name/description) that we will run into. We ask and hope that when we need to derive a new name or term to describe something that the first time a term is used the person be very clear and concise. Please try to chose a word or name that makes sense and we will then add the term to this area.
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