Dine in geek heaven with Dyne:bolicII

Multimedia producers and artists will have the power to fully customise their own tailored GNU/Linux environment on a bootable CD with the release of Dyne:bolicII by the end of the year.

That is the aim of core developer, Jaromil, who says the new system will give users unprecedented flexibility and control.

Aimed at multimedia producers, artists, activists, and content creators, the Dyne:bolic multimedia platform on a bootable CD offers a vast range of software for multimedia production, streaming, 3-D modelling, photo editing, Web browsing and publishing, peer-to-peer file sharing, and networking.

It also includes games and a world navigator. Dyne:bolic is capable of automatic clustering - joining the CPU power between any other Dyne:bolic on the local network.

It can recognise a variety of hardware devices (sound, video, FireWire, and USB) and works on several types of machines from Windows through to "modded" Xbox consoles.

Jaromil says the main addition to version two, currently in beta, is that it will include all the compiler tools required in order to modify it.

"So far live meant demo, now live really means live, so you'll be able to adapt your own version of the live CD wherever you want," he said.

"You can boot a RW CD, copy a directory on the hard disk, modify its contents and burn it back, without repartitioning anything, to have a Dyne:II system customised for your needs. You can install things from almost any available binary packages (deb, rpm, tgz), plus with new systems like Zero Install and Autopackage."

Dyne:bolicII will also have additional modules that you can drop into a directory before booting, with collections of more software not included in the core. Other changes include increased security for user interaction, the ability to write modifications in the "usr", advanced thin client functionality and modular design to be easily combined with other software.

"It's also faster than the previous version, taking full advantage of most recent developments in desktop technology for GNU/Linux," said Jaromil.

There are many differences between Dyne:bolic and distros like Ubuntu and SuSE, according to Jaromil.

"The differences exist from the ergonomic design, to the focus on providing a desktop environment, to the special dyne functionalities of docking and nesting which lets you run the system from the hard disk and have your data stored without the need to repartition anything," he said.

Other differences, he said, included all scripts being rewritten from scratch, hardware recognition is not the same and there are no big frameworks like Gnome or KDE being used.

"They consume too many resources for a desktop that runs on a Pentium 1 with 64MB of RAM," said Jaromil.

"In fact one of the focuses I kept with dyne is keeping requirements low. I think this is an important ecological issue, by looking at the quantity of hardware waste produced nowadays and the consumerist rush that is pushing it."

Other than occasional small donations, Dyne:bolic is not yet funded, but by the end of the year, Dyne.org will be registered as an official foundation valid in Europe.

"[Though we are] starting with no money, we have a lot of ideas and software that works already, so we might find a good sustainable situation," said Jaromil.

"But it's way better to have people liking your activity, knowing your story, than to be a billionaire donating more cash than you can spend to make a branded product out of your software."

Avid Linux user Tom Russell, who has written a generic version on customising Dyne 1.4, said the new version of Dyne was "geek heaven" and definitely worth downloading.

To use a stable version of Dyne:bolic go here: www.dynebolic.org. To get involved in the beta of Dyne:bolicII go here: http://dev.dynebolic.org Alternatively, for something different, going to Russell's How To page explains how to http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/feature/14628.html customise Dyne 1.4 to run his 'SCOOL application from a bootable CD.

"I had to rewrite 'SCOOL a bit to suit the squash module approach," he said. "This actually only involved changing some shell script variable assignments and changing the Runtime Revolution transcript for the same reason, as it originally resided in $HOME. Now it can support multiple users on the same system, which is a much better approach."

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Dahna McConnachie

Computerworld
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