The SyrinxOS Journal

Site down for server reconfiguration

I’ll be making changes to the server that hosts the downloadable ISOs over the next few weeks. Until I’m done, the downloads will be unavailable. I doubt that affects very many people, so I’m not too worried about it.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.


SyrinxOS Debussy 2013-01-14 released

I’ve just released the latest version of SyrinxOS Debussy. There is no Squeeze this time around, just Wheezy. As I explained in a previous post, there are now too many differences between Debian Squeeze and Wheezy. Unfortunately, Squeeze is too far behind in many libraries which makes it much more difficult to keep the two versions at parity. So I’ve made the decision to go forward with only Wheezy for the time being.

Wheezy will soon be the “stable” Debian distribution, and there will be another, as-yet unnamed, “testing” version. When that happens, I’ll start supporting both again.

Here are the ISOs for the latest release:

You can check out the change log for the full list of changes in this release.

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Upcoming release

I should have a new release of SyrinxOS Wheezy in the next couple of days. One major difference this time around will be the absence of a corresponding Squeeze release. There are too many differences now between Debian Squeeze and Wheezy; Squeeze is too far behind in many libraries which makes it much more difficult to keep the two at parity.

Also, Wheezy will be the new stable Debian release in the next few months. At that point I’ll start releasing whatever they call the new “testing” release, while continuing to release SyrinxOS Wheezy. Squeeze has had its day, at least with respect to SyrinxOS.


SyrinxOS Update

I haven’t posted here in a while, but that’s not because I’ve given up on SyrinxOS. Quite the contrary! I use it all day every day. And in using it every day I haven’t come across anything I would like to improve or add. Well, almost anything.

I’ve changed a couple of small things here and there, but nothing that adds up to a new release. For example, I’ve switched from xcompmgr to compton. Compton is a compositor for X, and is a fork of a xcompmgr-dana, which is a fork of xcompmgr. It fixes many of the bugs in xcompmgr, takes in some features from xcompmgr-dana, and adds features of its own. If you want to switch to compton, you need to do the following:

Download and install compton. You can either compile from the github repository, or download either the 32 bit or 64 bit precompiled binary. I don’t know how long the debs will be there, but as of 2012-12-30 the links work.

Once compton is installed, edit /usr/bin/sos-composite as root. At the beginning of the second line, change “xcompmgr” to “compton”. Once you’ve saved the changes, you can issue “killall xcompmgr && sos-composite &”. “sos-composite” is one of the scripts executed on login.

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SyrinxOS on Arch Linux

As an experiment I’ve migrated SyrinxOS to run on top of Arch Linux. Aside from the fact that there’s (obviously) no Synaptic as Arch uses the “pacman” package manager, the distribution looks almost identical to the Debian-based ISOs. That’s the idea, of course.

The ISOs are only “live” for the moment; there’s no installer to set up a hard drive with SyrinxOS. The Arch install system is very different to the Debian one, so I’ll have to look into it and get something set up. But in the meantime you can explore what it’s like to run SyrinxOS on Arch Linux.

Here are the ISOs:

Please let me know what you think if you try these out. I have no plans to abandon the Debian version of SyrinxOS. I’ll be supporting both going forward. As I mentioned, this is an experinment: I may come across something that causes me to stop working on the Arch-based version, but I can’t see that happening.


SyrinxOS Debussy 2012-05-09 released

This is the first release which involves both Squeeze and Wheezy, and both i386 and amd64 flavours of each. It brings sos-squeeze in line with sos-wheezy with respect to installed packages. It also introduces the Debussy GTK theme. This theme, based on lucazade’s Light theme, has been worked over to make the GTK 2 and 3 themes look almost the same. I’ll be doing more work on this over the next while, but I think the two are close enough to each other for inclusion in this release. So here are the links:

Because of the increasing number of ISO images I need to maintain I’ve had to move them to another server. The links may not work until DNS propagation has completed, which should probably be some time today. If you decide to try out any of these releases please let me know what you think.


The Debussy theme

The Light GTK3 theme by lucazade wasn’t as complete as I thought it would be. Actually, I’ve seen huge differences between the GTK2/3 versions of several themes out there. Even the default Adwaita 2/3 themes seems very different. (Yes, I installed gnome-themes-standard for the test.) To me, they should be absolutely identical - so much so that the user should never be able to tell which GTK is in use for any given application. As it is now, the differences are extreme in the dual themes I tested. If anyone can explain this to me, I’d love to find out why. (Yes, I checked console output and there were no errors.)

I’ve spent a lot of time bringing the Light (now Debussy) GTK2/3 themes in line with each other. It’s not an easy task with the limited documentation available right now for GTK3 CSS theming. There are still a few bugs in the GTK3 theme that I would like to exterminate before I do another release. I was hoping to do a Cinco de Mayo SyrinxOS release but it doesn’t look like that will be happening.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Light theme was a lot more rounded than I’m used to. I’ve since fixed that in Debussy; it’s now much closer to the original Statler theme I was using, but it seems a bit more slick somehow (no disrespect to corenominal). The important thing is that the GTK2/3 themes look very similar to each other. That is what I was driving toward. The on-screen discord has been minimized. And I’m not finished yet!

If anyone knows how to modify a GtkScrollbar stepper in GTK3 CSS, please let me know.


Upcoming releases

For the past couple of days I’ve been working on getting sos-squeeze and sos-wheezy completely harmonized with one another. I want it so that you really can’t tell which you are using - aside from the versions of available software, of course. I think I’ve achieved this goal.

I’ve been somewhat unhappy with the GTK3 version of the Statler theme. Though the CrunchBang user Tunafish made a great start, it still needs a lot of work. This kind of visual inconsistency drives me bonkers, so I started to look for a replacement that is both visually similar to Statler and has full support for both GTK2 and GTK3. I think I’ve found it in the Light theme by lucazade. It’s close to Statler in feel and looks better under GTK3. The UI elements are a bit more rounded than those in Statler, but I’m getting used to it. I may decide to square things off, but I’ll see how I feel about it after a few days’ use. I’ve done a bit of tweaking and packaged it up as the “Debussy” theme. I’ll be leaving the Statler theme in, so if anyone truly objects to the new theme they can easily switch back. I’ll continue to use Shiki Statler as an OpenBox theme, however. I love its simplicity.

I should have fresh releases of both Squeeze and Wheezy versions in i386 and amd64 flavours in a day or so.


SyrinxOS Debussy 0.3.x series no longer supported

With the release of SyrinxOS Debussy 2012-04-27, I am no longer going to support the 0.3.x series of releases. These were based on a Gnome desktop, and I won’t be revisiting that scenario anytime soon. I’ve disabled the links to the ISOs and have removed the corresponding screenshots.

I hope this doesn’t inconvenience anyone. If it does, please let me know and I’ll send you the appropriate ISO.


SyrinxOS Debussy 2012-04-27 Wheezy released

It seems like only a few short days ago that I released the first Wheezy version of SyrinxOS. Wait, it was just a few days ago! After more testing I’ve changed a few things - for the better, I might add - which I think justifies another release. As usual, we’ll get right to the links:

And now to the details. After flip-flopping a few times, the Midori browser has now been permanently included in the SyrinxOS Linux distribution. After much thought I’ve come to the conclusion that we need at least a minimal browser in SyrinxOS, if only to make it easier to find an appropriate browser to install. And besides, the Wheezy version of Midori finally obeys the system font rendering settings, so I can endure using it. :)

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Upcoming SyrinxOS Squeeze release

I’ll be doing a new release of the Squeeze version of SyrinxOS in the next day or so. This is mainly to align the installed packages with the Wheezy release, so if you’ve already installed the 2012-01-12 release, there’s probably no need for you to get the new ISOs.


SyrinxOS Debussy 2012-04-24 Wheezy released

I’ve finally been able to produce a Debian Wheezy version of SyrinxOS. It took a long time due to a bug in the Debian live-build system that only I seemed to be experiencing. Here are the links to sparkling new ISOs, for the impatient amongst us:

There have been a few changes in the software installed, partly due to moving to Wheezy and partly as part of a continuing move away from Gnome. In Wheezy, Gnome’s File Roller started pulling in a lot more dependencies, including Nautilus and Brasero. These are fine applications if you choose to install them, but one of the points of SyrinxOS is that you get to decide these things. As a result, I’ve switched away from File Roller to use XFCE’s Squeeze (no, not the Debian distribution). I’ll see how that feels, but it seems like the right thing to do.

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Wheezy on the horizon

I’ve finally been successful in coaxing the Debian Live tools to produce a generic Wheezy ISO. It took a very long time as I was experiencing issues that the maintainers of the live build tools couldn’t reproduce. But now that I’m past that issue, I can start building up a Wheezy version of SyrinxOS. You can expect to see a new release within a month or so, perhaps sooner.

I’m anxious to switch to it myself!


SyrinxOS Debussy 2012-01-12 Squeeze released

I’ve just released the next version of SyrinxOS Debussy. There are no major changes, just several small tweaks. Check out the change log for full details.

The biggest change is my reversion to omitting a web browser in my distribution. The Debian defaults, Iceweasel and Epiphany just don’t do it for me. Epiphany is far too Gnome-y for my increasingly non-Gnome system, and Iceweasel lags too far behind the mainline Firefox releases for me. For those who want Iceweasel it’s a simple ‘sudo apt-get install iceweasel’, or you can use Synaptic. I also managed to fix the i3lock issue on i386 machines. Hurrah!

Here are your links!

Note the fancy new versioning scheme! :) As always, I would love to hear any comments you might have, negative or positive.


New versioning scheme

With the next release of SyrinxOS I’ll be switching to a dated versioning system as opposed to version numbers with a state, such as “0.4.3 ALPHA”. So, for example, instead of the ISO being named “syrinx-0.4.3-alpha-squeeze-amd64.iso”, it will be something like “syrinxos-20120109-squeeze-amd64.iso”. Saves me from having to decide when something moves from 0.x to 1.x, or from ALPHA to BETA, etc. :)

I do plan to release Wheezy ISOs too, hence the “squeeze” specification. Currently I’m struggling with making the Debian live build tools produce a wheezy build. But once I figure it out, I’ll make a release and announce it here.


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