Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

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Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby bootlessxfly » 2014-02-20 10:50

Im not sure if this would be the right place to put this and if it is not, I apologize.

Current Tenative Outline:
I want to make a distribution based off steamOS. From what ive researched valve switched to debian because of legal reason with the ubuntu trademark. So this would appear to rule out ubuntu as the base to distribution(unless I am legally allowed to redistribute a distro based off ubuntu). So I plan on using debian 7.1 as the base as valve chose to do. I am planning on making the DE kde. I want to use kde 4.12. Eventually when kde5 gets to the point where it is stable enough to use I want to be able to install that. I also want to use homerun as one of the launcher options. And I also plan on using the muon suite as the package manager. All of these will have to be compiled from source to work with debian 7. I have a list of applications i plan to include in my distro and I will probably have to compile some of these applications to work. And then I will have to make a source repository to host these changes. I will inlude the steamOS repositories also and pick choose what I need off this. I will be using remastersys to build my images. So first off, does anyone see any problems with my tenative plan so far?

Next I have a list of questions about how go about creating my system:
    * What is the best way to go about getting these applications(specifically kde 4.12) working with debian 7?
    * Can I use ubuntu repositories instead of debian repositories or am I going to have to manually add packages I want from ubuntu to my own repository?
    * Should I use the testing and unstable branch instead to base this off of?
    * I have read a little bit about apppinning and backporting. Is this going to be my best bet to custimize a distro based off debian?
    * I know this question may not be a very good one to ask on the debian forum, but would basing it on ubuntu 12.04 make more since given my needs?
    * Also is there anything I am missing in what will need to be done?
This is deffaintly a learning process for me and any advice to point me in the right direction would be very much appreciated. I don't mind spending the time to learn how to do this, but I am only one person, so I am looking for the most efficient and reliable way to achieve my goal.

Thanks.
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby dasein » 2014-02-20 15:43

General musings, in no particular order...

1) In general, trying to base something bleeding-edge off of Debian Stable is an exercise in futility. All the Kewl New S#it doesn't work, because Debian Stable is about older-well-tested software, not the latest in software fashion trends.

2) What you are thinking of doing is a lot more work than you imagine it to be, and there is no "cookbook" to follow. I'm not trying to stop you from trying, but I am trying to give you a sense of the size and difficulty of the project. Unless you are prepared to invest several hundred (more likely, even thousands) of hours of arduous, frustrating work into this effort, you might as well pick another project.

3) No, you cannot mix-and-match repos from various distros. Don't even try.
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby stevepusser » 2014-02-20 16:14

MEPIS was shipping with a backported KDE on top of Stable, but the 12 beta stuck with Wheezy's KDE 4.8.4.
Seems like the developer, Warren Woodford, has less and less time to support it.

Unless you can find a strictly Wheezy-based distro that already has a repo with a backported KDE 4.12, you are going to be stuck with backporting 4.12 into your own repository. Wheezy plus a Wheezy-based backport repository is going to be the only thing that's stable. Adding the official wheezy-backports may save you having to do a few extra backports.

I managed to backport 4.6.5 and 4.7.4 onto a Squeeze base, and there was nothing really tricky about it, just a bit tedious, as there's many, many source packages for all the different libraries and applications. Also, if using a GUI, you want to backport KDE on some other desktop, such as GNOME, xfce4, or LXDE, since backporting will involve building and installing updated KDE components that will break KDE 4.8.4 part way through the process.
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby bootlessxfly » 2014-02-20 16:16

Ok thanks for your reply. Im not ready to give up quite yet. For now I am gonna try to focus on what part of this is going to take the most time to complete and how to reduce the amount time it will take. And to do this, the base system I choose could potentially play a rather large role in this. But what part(s) of this do you think will be the most time consuming.

And would any of these options be viable ways to make the project more managable:
* First thing Im gonna have to accept would appear to be if I want kde 4.12, then debian wheezy is not the way to go. So Id need to choose between kde 4.12 or wheezy. So a potential option is to keep debian wheezy the way it is.
* Next, Let's assume I use debian testing or debian unstable. Could this work better for my needs. And could this potentially save me time.
* Lastly, lets say I use ubuntu 12.04 as a base system. There are backports for newer kde versions. And a lot of the software I need would already be in the repository. Could this be a viable option and time save?
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby dasein » 2014-02-20 16:29

bootlessxfly wrote:But what part(s) of this do you think will be the most time consuming.

You're missing the core point, I think. The entire effort is huge--much larger than you imagine it to be. Your questions suggest that you will need to spend a long time mastering basic mechanics, for which shortcuts aren't available. Shaving off time here-or-there will help, of course, but nothing will magically transform a large, demanding project into a small, manageable one.

The smart move at this point would be for you to pick a platform where some/most most of the "heavy lifting" has already been done for you (hint: backporting KDE 4.12 yourself does not qualify). Maybe look into SolydXK. It's based on Debian Testing, and I have heard (unconfirmed) reports that Steam works out-of-the-box.
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby bootlessxfly » 2014-02-20 17:02

The entire effort is huge--much larger than you imagine it to be.

I have begun to realize that, and am willing to spend hundreds of hours on this although not thousands.
You're missing the core point, I think. The entire effort is huge--much larger than you imagine it to be. Your questions suggest that you will need to spend a long time mastering basic mechanics, for which shortcuts aren't available.

It is true that i will have to be learning some mechanics. I knew that when I stated this work.
The smart move at this point would be for you to pick a platform where some/most most of the "heavy lifting" has already been done for you

Yes I agree with this. The point of my earlier questions was to see how feasible something like backporting kde would be. Since it would appear that the answer is very time consuming and for the most part unfeasible, I will more than likely not be going that route. I have installed arch linux and installed the kde-base customizing it the way I want it to look and perform for the distribution I make. I have also installed the steam-compositor along with steam. So since that is done, I want to find a distro that I can use to base my work off of. And then install the programs I have decided to include.
Maybe look into SolydXK. It's based on Debian Testing

Thanks for the tip, Ill look into it. But, if this is based on debian testing, couldn't I also just base my distro on debian testing. Likewise, couldn't I just use debian wheezy without backporting anything. And couldn't the same be said about ubuntu 12.04 since all the programs i want are already available in the ubuntu repositories. Sorry if I am once again missing something. But from what I've gathered these could potentially be used to do a lot of the heavylifting for me. Correct me if Im wrong, I just am trying to make sure I am clear on things.

Thanks for your help.
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby dasein » 2014-02-20 20:39

bootlessxfly wrote:(I) am willing to spend hundreds of hours on this although not thousands.

Then pick a different starter project. Success breeds success; frustration leads to failure. Maybe carve off some small piece that could someday find its way into your larger dream/vision.

bootlessxfly wrote:...if this is based on debian testing, couldn't I also just base my distro on debian testing.

You could, if you want to make the project more work that it absolutely has to be. (You asked for time-saving suggestions, remember?)

bootlessxfly wrote:Likewise, couldn't I just use debian wheezy without backporting anything.

Without intending offense... you're doing this backwards. You don't pick a platform and then retrofit a use-case. You let your use-case drive the process and the specs.
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby robert3242 » 2014-02-21 03:08

Another question the OP might ask himself is why re-invent the wheel? SteamOS already is based on Debian (testing).
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby bootlessxfly » 2014-02-21 03:09

dasein. I would like to thank for your tip about SolydXK. I loaded it up in a virtual machine and it has given me a very good initial impression. Enough so where I am going to start tweaking it here and there to fit my needs. Although, I have not entirely given up on debian stable since stability is important to me. However, from what I have gathered in my small amount of research, SolydXK appears to be rather stable in itself and has a lot of features I could include that will save me time. So once again thanks for that.

No! Read up on debian releases; pay particular attention to what makes the development releases different from Stable.

Im hoping that there was some confusion between us when i said:
Likewise, couldn't I just use debian wheezy without backporting anything.

If there was not any confusion, then I do indeed need to read up on debian releases. What I meant when i said the above quote was this. Use debian wheezy as is. Meaning without me going through and making a backport of kde 4.12. Meaning using the software provided in the debian stable repository as oppose to trying to backport an entire DE. I guess there is the potential I would need to backport a program but like I just mentioned when I said "without backporting anything" I was really refering to backporting kde myself. Of course if i did this i would still have to compile a couple programs here and there(ex. homerun) but this would be an extremely small list (off the top of my head I count 3).

Anyways I hope there was some confusion(mainly in the way i phrased my statement) because otherwise I am missing something. And I hate it when I miss things.
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby bootlessxfly » 2014-02-21 03:20

Another question the OP might ask himself is why re-invent the wheel? SteamOS already is based on Debian (testing).

SteamOS is actually based on Debian 7.1 wheezy not testing. But I am not trying to just to recreate steamOS. Im trying to implement it into my own creation. For example, I do not want to use gnome, I prefer KDE. SteamOS has their own custom kernel that includes some 288 patches. These patches are supposed to increase gaming and performance. They have a way to log in straight in Big picture mode. These are things that I would like to include in what i build. Particularly with the kernel since I believe that eventual it will bevery stable. Also they are making huge improvements with proprietary graphics cards. Overall, Im not looking to just rebuild steamOS, instead, Im trying to implement some of their features into my design.
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby WeLoveDebian » 2014-03-16 23:46

For example, I do not want to use gnome, I prefer KDE

You can do that on SteamOS. Add the Wheezy repositories, update and then install KDE.
SteamOS has their own custom kernel that includes some 288 patches. These patches are supposed to increase gaming and performance.

Except that they don't :lol: SteamOS is in Beta Stages and isn't meant for all hardware out there. My performance on Jessie and CSS is +180fps. On SteamOS it's 10. And I did everything I could to make performance better.

I support your project, but I see absolutely no point in creating a new OS based off of two completely systems. Maybe forking Unstable into a new "SteamOS"? It's rather easy to convert even Stable into SteamOS, why not do it with Testing or Unstable?
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby vbrummond » 2014-03-16 23:58

I still never found this magical 288 patch kernel? Where is it?
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby llivv » 2014-03-18 17:18

vbrummond wrote:I still never found this magical 288 patch kernel? Where is it?

development?

sigh :"
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby vbrummond » 2014-03-18 17:31

Probably referring the already existing preempt-rt patches.
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Re: Creating a distribution based off Debian and steamOS

Postby bootlessxfly » 2014-03-26 22:26

Except that they don't :lol: SteamOS is in Beta Stages and isn't meant for all hardware out there. My performance on Jessie and CSS is +180fps. On SteamOS it's 10. And I did everything I could to make performance better.

I noticed this. However, as you said it is in beta. I would think that once they get everything fully worked, the performance would improve. Then again this is an assumption.

I support your project, but I see absolutely no point in creating a new OS based off of two completely systems. Maybe forking Unstable into a new "SteamOS"? It's rather easy to convert even Stable into SteamOS, why not do it with Testing or Unstable?

Thanks for the tip. I think you may be right here. It seems using Testing will make my life a whole lot easier. And that is what I have been currently working with.
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