Porteus Remix

Here is a place for your projects which are not officially supported by the Porteus Team. For example: your own kernel patched with extra features; desktops not included in the standard ISO like Gnome; base modules that are different than the standard ISO, etc...
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Porteus Remix

Post#1 by seany » 06 Apr 2013, 08:30

Hello Everybody.

my name is Sean, I have been using linux for 5+ years, and as my only OS for 3+ years. I use Chakra (http://www.chakra-linux.org) - the KDE flagship distro. I am very happy with that. Professionally, I am a natural scientist, more specifically, meteorologist.

But in the mean time, I also found, that I need another Linux distro, which suits some of my other needs. After a lot of research, I found, either Maui (http://www.maui-project.org/en/) or Porteus would suit my needs most closely, but not completely, Porteus being the far more likely candidate.

However, to address my specific needs, I will need to remix Porteus, in a large amount. I am writing this so that maybe someone will find this interesting, and help me. Maybe the Porteus developers will come up with some suggestions and help me.

I am neither a Computer/OS specialist, nor is my mother tongue English. Some of my ideas will be good, some bad, some ugly. But Please bear with me.


1. Simple Linux Based Work Environment
1.1 Distraction Free, Maximization of Resource Use
1.2 Yet, Possible to start advanced environments on demand
1.3 Support for Scientific Work
1.4 Support for Multimedia, including Scientifically formatted Documents, Graphics, Sound, and Video

2. Portable
2.1 Bootable from USB pendrives
2.2 Support to any reasonably modern hardware, INCLUDING x86-64

3. Out of the box Modern Hardware Support
3.1 Out of the box Serial Port support
3.2 Out of the Box Ethernet, USB modem, Bluetooth and Wlan Support

4. Well maintained and content rich Package Repository

Distraction Free work Environment


1. Command Line Interface : Login after boot to a CLI Virtual Terminal (full scrren, maximum screen real estate utilization)
1.1 Programmable Shell : Bash
1.2 Basic Color Support as in Bash - easy access to colors
1.3 UTF character support (NOTE: individual programs need not support UTF) : Bash supports UNICODE text typing with localization.
1.4 Enhancements to CLI, including widgets, stacking, multilayer, preincluded programming tools to program with such widgets, possibly splitting of screen?
1.5 Incorporation of Modern DE Functionality to CLI


1. Color : Nothing tops a CLI. In order to maximize the available real estate, I often log in to a nongraphic TTY, and work there. But, while working 6+ hours at a workstation at a single strech, a monochromatic CLI may become mundane and tiresome. Some color, at least the terrain colors such as shades of blue, green, brown, yellow, can be very very cheering. Also, colors are VERY useful for annotations. But to bring these colors to CLI, one must use the particular syntax related to the echo command, and that does not change the color of the text one is typing in. One solution is of course to use VIM, but it has a steep learning curve. Nano, OTOH, is modern and easier to learn. If colors could be implemented to NANO and shell as well, such that colors could be changed at an easy keystroke, say ctrl+alt+fN is the N-th color, then it would be great.

2. Enhancements - Widgets: KDE comes with QTDesigner, and QT builder, and the KDialog command. One can easily provide any script with a GUI, using the Kdialog components. Example:
kdialog --yesno likeme?
will generate a messagebox, with an yes and a no button, with text "likeme?". The single command kdialog provides this GUI. Any script can contain this command, and thereby it is very intuitive and easy to generate an UI. Now, take the example software, Midnight Commander, MC, can be access in a text TTY as well. MC comes with widgets, such as Dropdown Menu, Buttons with keyboard Shortcuts, Panels, Textboxes....
(Image Credit: Golem.de)

So I assume the widgets can be utilized in any TTY. I would like to have a functionality similar to kdialog to the CLI as well, where any BASH script could be easily provided with an UI by a single command / a few commads, without programming in a programming language, and compiling it.

3. Enhancements - Layers:
The ascii ART software Aewan comes with layers, See the image:
(Credit. Softpedia)

Layers are simply awesone. If, for example, Nano can be equipped with Layers, then those can be used to :
  1. Doing sme ascii art, very useful to explain things in comments of programs
  2. Annotate notes.
  3. Doodling - as a natural scientist, I doodle 24 x 7

Going to the next level, could layers be implemented in Bash? Say, a program output is presented in Bash in multiple layers, and those layers can be manipulated with keystrokes? Could it be possible to equip bash with simple commands, such that ANY script could generate layers?

3. Enhancements - Modern DE Functionality:
  1. Mouse Support in TTY, possible?
  2. Splitting a TTY screen in Virtual Monitors? X11 can't split a single screen in "virtual monitors", could it be done in TTY?
  3. Other Input Devices, Camera, Tablet ... ??
  4. KDE like Functionality: Consider the following example:
    • On Keystroke Display a New Layer in the virtual terminal
    • In this Layer display:
      1. Thumbnailed content of all VTs (make a thumbnail then dump to Framebuffer?)
      2. Thumbnailed content of desktops if a DE is running
      This would be similar to the KDE overview of all virtual desktops..
      Down the road, are structures similar to KDE Activities possible??
4. Enhancement - Start a VT on demand : Porteus comes with KDE and LXDE, I would consider packing Wayland/Weston and/or GreenIsland too, because they come with commands, which, when excuted in ONE VT, can do something in another VT (open a graphics display for example)

Support for Scientific Work

The Following packages should be preinstalled and should run out of box:
  1. GNU C/C++ with Serial Port interaction, Graphics and Audio libraries, and Database Drivers (suggestion: MariaDB)
  2. Perl
  3. Python with Scipy and Numpy
  4. Ascend for object modelling
  5. Scilab, Octave and Sage for General modelling and CAS
  6. R and/or Variants
  7. Maxima
  9. Some 3 and/or Higher dimensional Graphics package
  10. Tex, Lyx, Kile, Asymptote.
Further Features:

For further support of Scientific work, I would highly interest myself in a dedicated BOINC / other middleware + server module to directly attach any script to it, turning the same device (at the execution of a single command) to a BOINC / distributed computing server. Further, reuse of existing Hardware is also interesting :
  • Software defined Audio processing can be used to analyze any 1-D time series.
  • Camera / Multitouchpad / Tablet Gesture softwares can also be used for processing two dimensional data
All scripts and softwares should be intuitively able to interact with such processors / drivers.

Spport for Multimedia:

Multimedia Needs to be workable without a Display Server. Image and Video, should be viewable via Framebuffer. FBI is a framebuffer Image viewer, wayland has one too. Video can be viewed in Framebuffer using mplayer, web can be browsed using the software called links, with -g switch. Can PDF with mathematical fonts also be viewed in Frame buffer, as well a SVG?

I really want/ need the follwoing: Multimedia Generated by a software in a particular tty should be sendable to another tty - e.g. stuff generated in tty1 should be sendable to tty7 via a command executed in tty1.

Of course, there will be a Display Server attached to a particular tty, and all Multimedia should be workable there too.

Not all codecs are necessary, Per MIME type, 2 to 4 codecs with good documentations will suffice.

Multimedia for Web:
The above-mentioned codecs must include at least one codec per MIME type to be workable online. However, the HTML -5 specification simplifies this, by accepting a large varaity of codecs.

Hardware Support and Portability.

The whole point is a portable OS, which i can put in my pocket, take anywhere in Europe, and use in any computer - with reasonably modern hardwarr, without needing them toprovide me an OS in which I feel comfortable. Porteus already comes as highly portable OS. Porteus already supports Reasonably Modern Hardware including x86-64 Processors, with hyperthreading (tested on i3-2330), thanks to the modern Kernel. Support to Broadcom (Intel) wlan, bluetooth, ethernet is already there.

However, there needs to be guaranteed USB modem (at least major vendors, e.g. alcatel) support, and serial port support. Some hardware used in Earth Science comes with serial ports only
For packages, one can access Slaco and Debian Repositories, which is sufficient for now.


Now perhaps, there is someone who will read this and identify their needs, at least partially with mine, and will take part. Perhaps there is someone who will find this interesting, and help in any way.

I know some of my necessities will require a major remix - a major rewrite. I am willing to brave that - so please don't hate me for coming up with unorthodox ideas...

This is something i really want.

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Re: Porteus Remix

Post#2 by brokenman » 06 Apr 2013, 21:44

I believe Porteus can rise to your challenge. It is already being used in some technical environments with success. Wread is maintaining a kde4 32bit version and constantly releases science specific applications (see forum) along with Ramon Tavarez. Excluding modifications to third party applications, i think the base Porteus releases should accommodate your requirements with perhaps one exception.
However, there needs to be guaranteed USB modem (at least major vendors, e.g. alcatel) support, and serial port support. Some hardware used in Earth Science comes with serial ports only
Quite ironic that an advanced science, such as meteorology, is still using antiquated serial ports. Nonetheless, running most hardware should be possible. No guarantees can be made that ALL hardware will run nicely, if at all, due to the bleeding edge kernel we use and constantly updated userland. Having said that, whatever is possible in a full install of slackware is attainable in Porteus.

While I didn't have time to read all of your requirements in depth, I am sure that we have enough forum members to answer questions and help you along your quest. You have at your disposal the entire slackware repository, many knowledgeable forum members, Porteus users and a very adaptable operating system.
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Re: Porteus Remix

Post#3 by Rava » 03 May 2013, 06:49

seany wrote:1.1 Distraction Free, Maximization of Resource Use
The "maximization of resources" sounds like KDE is not the best X Window manager to choose from, I would recommend either LXDE or XFCE... just my 2 cents on that...
Yours Rava

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Re: Porteus Remix

Post#4 by wread » 04 May 2013, 11:08

Rava wrote:The "maximization of resources" sounds like KDE is not the best X Window manager to choose from, I would recommend either LXDE or XFCE... just my 2 cents on that...
Geschmack Sache! sprach der Affe, als er in die Seife biss....

You take out akonadi, nepomuk and kwallet from KDE and you will have a decent OS. If you have any doubts, ask fanthom.

At UNPHU in Santo Domingo we are using my "remix" of Porteus KDE4 32 bits "composed" with the assistance of many groups of engineering students. We are still making some changes; when the final product is ready, I will post it for potential students and scientists all over the world.

Porteus is proud of the FASTEST KDE ever made.....(take akonadi, nepomuk and soprano out and you will have a decent OS).
The Porteus Community never sleeps!

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Re: Porteus Remix

Post#5 by Rava » 07 May 2013, 21:00

wread wrote:Geschmack Sache! sprach der Affe, als er in die Seife biss....
Du sprichst Deutsch? Dann können wir ja was im Non-Englisch Part des Forums was posten...
wread wrote:You take out akonadi, nepomuk and kwallet from KDE and you will have a decent OS. If you have any doubts, ask fanthom.
Is there already a Port version with these parts removed? cause I googled them and seems quite some people want them off their system. xD

Anyhow... I prefer the way XFCe approaches the whole interface thingy...

KDE started as Windoze 95 clone, later as XP clone and now as Witless 7 clone.
And Gnome wants to go the Mac-OS way...

While XFCe goes its own way, and I like that way a lot. <B Aside from that I believe that *IX interface ideas have often been better in the overall execution than Windoze or Mac... But that's just my 2 cents.
Yours Rava

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Re: Porteus Remix

Post#6 by Hamza » 07 May 2013, 21:05


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