Time to talk features - EasyLFS 0.4 is coming real soon
Well, EasyLFS 0.4 seems to be mostly done. The SELinux-policy, the last big monster that has delayed finalizing this "master-piece of free software development" has been finished. On the way there also a few bugs have been fixed and some other things here and there were adjusted a bit.
Therefor I think that now it really is time to talk features, so that you all know why everybody should use EasyLFS. ;-)
First of all the most obvious changes, apart from the version-number: There are two version of EasyLFS now, one 32-bit-version and the all new 64-bit-version. They both have the same scripts and packages, just that they are for different architectures. Of course the 32-bit-version will also run on a 64-bit-machine, but since these are becoming more common I think it is the right thing to do to offer a 64-bit-version in order to utilize these machines properly.
The second obvious change is the size of the CD-images. As I have posted before I could shrink them considerably.
Just have a look at this quick comparison:
- EasyLFS-0.3: 455MB
- EasyLFS64-0.3.13-0.4-RC1: 360MB
The image now is nearly 100MB smaller than the image of the previous version, although it brings quite some new packages; as far as I rememeber around 40MB.
Among these new packages are many programs and libraries that focus on communication, like BlueZ, the bluetooth-stack, the Wireless-tools and WPA-supplicant, and also pppd and rp-pppoe are there. Also the long planned support for DHCP is finally there and working.
All packages have been updated, where updates were available, and some even have been replaced, like Util-Linux, which has been replaced by Util-Linux-Ng.
PAM is part of the system now and not optional anymore, this is because the login-program of Util-Linux-Ng, which is used in favor over the one provided by Shadow, needs it to allow shadows passwords.
The most notable updates probably would be the switch to GCC 4.2.2, which implements OpenMP, an extension that is supposed to make SMP-programming easier, and the upgrade to GLibC 2.7. But also other upgrades, like the new NTFSProgs 2.0.0, which finally offer full write-support for NTFS-partitions, are worth mentioning.
Some of the big new features are possible through the use of an InitRamFs, which is the successor of an InitRD (Initial RamDisk). With this it now is possible to install EasyLFS to LVM, RAID and an encrypted partition.
Also, as long as your not using an encrypted partition, it is possible for the root-device to "travel". The Init-Script of the InitRamFs will detect the root-partition by it's label (elfsroot) and mount it. This is especially useful for installations on mobile devices like USB-disks, that not always get the same device-name.
SELinux-support should be better than ever too. The policy has gotten quite some attention this time and it should be fully usable. Also there is a strict-policy available for developers. Unlike the default targeted-policy this one will not be running in enforcing-mode. EasyLFS would boot, but you wouldn't be able to login.
I think EasyLFS 0.4 is a good and big step in the right direction. With it's new features it might now be more attractive than ever before and I'm really interested in what kind of response I will get.
With the release of this great new version I plan to submit the EasyLFS project-site to DistroWatch, hoping to get listed there.
I don't know what will follow this release. I plan to write a few documents about EasyLFS and then I think I'll start thinking about the next step, which probably will be EasyLFS 0.5.
I think so far that's it about the new version. All the new features seem to work quite nicely and I hope that this time no big bugs could sneak by unseen.
The last tests are running and, if everything works as it's supposed to work, I plan to create the final images this weekend.
By the way, you can help digging here. ;-)