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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Cutting edge
Developing FirstRUN for Puppy CD's initial boot
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gcmartin

Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 4238
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Wed 19 Oct 2011, 19:04    Post_subject:  Developing FirstRUN for Puppy CD's initial boot
Sub_title: Starting Puppy Linux CD DIRECTLY to X desktop
 

Its no secret that I am a big fan for the Puppy effort(s). It is fabulous to see a community come together and achieve so much. Its a testament to mankind in the kind of innovation thru cooperation Puppy achieves.

I am NOT a developer nor am I a distro builder. I am an implementer and user of technology for practical purposes.

Having been associated with Unix-Linux (and a host of other OSes) over my years, I quickly "got" (meaning "understood") what Shinobar was offering us when I first saw it. FirstRUN.

Linux has added and moved to X from its beginning with text base, There are 4 things that traditionally plague all users over the planet:
LAN, localization, sound, and video.

In the past, users were forced to stop along the way in answering boot-time questions about these things. And, if you got it wrong, you had to search the system for some tool to fix that (probably easy for system developers), or you started all over.

Shinobar fixed this. For the first time, he gave all distro owners a method to allow any user the opportunity to select and change these basis needs in a single screen "FirstRUN" after reaching desktop without having to stop at various times along the way.. He made it so that you no longer had to stop and answer questions just to get to the X desktop. This was a major and "startling" change in booting of today's OS. Just insert CD and go straight to X! FirstRUN completes the tailoring in one place and user begin the system, immediately.

Since the outset, that single screen has had a name change across most distro which employ it now as "Personalize Settings"

For example when this invokes to the desktop, a user knows
  • sound works, when they hear "woof-woof"
  • the name of the PC and They can set it for their needs
  • Time zone needs
  • keyboard needs
  • Video options for various needs
  • And, it even checks you LAN connections for you and alerts you it there's a miscue.
  • iff there is a "screw up", one can simply go back thru that single screen again for adjustments.
They know this.

This tools has done so much for us in a single screen. Many of us have used this for various good reasons.

As we approach 2012, Barry is also moving to improve the user experience at boot time.

Barry raises a good point as he is looking at improving the startup desktop processing for Woof, WARY and RACY.
This effects an advantage to distro builders as improvements can be made to process the startup/reset of the system experience in a single "friendly" intuitive screen.

The development of the FirstRUN tool, as it exist today, is a combination of its start, along with 'the ideas and offers' that other Puppy distro developers had already filtered into Shinobar. He has been responsive to this.

He has produced a very useful tool for some, but, I have not heard anything negative about its services to Puppy thus far. Thus one would assume it provide a positive experience from the distro developers who employ it to the users who use.

Is there any ideas or suggestions that anyone feels would improve the startup desktop experience in this single screen approach?

P.S. FATDOG can take a user to desktop, but, FATDOG does NOT provide a single screen for changing anything done by the FATDOG boot process.

Whereas, FirstRUN give any distro owner the advantage of a single screen where the user can either undo or correct what was initially booted. This is what makes FirstRUN so powerful.

Question, again
Is there any ideas or suggestions that anyone feels would improve the startup desktop experience in this "single screen approach"? I'm sure everyone would welcome any and all suggestions to support Barry in his efforts.
Old version - FirstRUN 1.84

New Version - FirstRUN 1.9

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Minnesota

Joined: 11 Sep 2008
Posts: 313

PostPosted: Wed 19 Oct 2011, 21:14    Post_subject: expansion
Sub_title: add printer set up
 

Years ago I used a flavor of Linux that automatically set up your attached printer.

That feature would be welcomed with Puppy.

Thanks.
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gcmartin

Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 4238
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Thu 20 Oct 2011, 12:06    Post_subject: Additions  

If there becomes a 2012 version of startup in "X", like FirstRUN does, he's a couple more ideas.

Ideas for newer single screen tool
  • Put IP address, it available on-screen (not for changing, simply for information awareness)
  • Allowing password to remain the same or be changed(never displayed nor maintained in a FristRUN log)
I am sure that adding additional features has its pluses and minuses. But, the awareness this tool brings to newbies "may" reduce their questions about their PUPs.

Just ideas. I sure there are other ideas as well.

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emil

Joined: 10 Nov 2009
Posts: 616
Location: Austria

PostPosted: Thu 20 Oct 2011, 14:48    Post_subject:  

big achievments were made last year. I regard shinobars contributions in so many fields simply amazing (localisation, Grub4Dos, sfs_load, firstrun, pupsaveconfig, frugalinstaller and sure I forgot lots of others). Thank you shinobar!

Better = simpler.
If the woof build stays simple an user interface can be installed on top of it. Its abit like different wm's - it depends on personal preference.

since you asked:
Setup of password and hostname (Maybe put it into "Network security" together with "Firewall" and maybe generator of ssh keys)?
Configuration System Files? (shinobars PupSaveconfig and the swapfile tool)
Software Setup button which leads to an improved and unified package manager GUI (unifying ppm, quick/slickpet, Bootloadmanager, sfs_load on the fly, flash downloader)?

should this things be rushed? - I think not.

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amigo

Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 2236

PostPosted: Thu 20 Oct 2011, 14:49    Post_subject:  

Well, it's a sort of oxymoron to create a GUI program to setup X. If you can't manually setup X or write a script which hopefully gives you at least a basic working X configuration, then you'll not be able to run such a first-run program. The idea is certainly not unique. Almost every distro's installer willl guide you through the intricacies of setting up essential things. The big problem is deciding what is essential and what is not. Running any sort of setup program which presents you with choices which don't apply to your needs or usage is tedious.

Lots of folks don't even want any X at all -like for a server where even having X installed is a security risk. So your perfect one-stop do-it-all program will not help them at all.

Almost by definition, a liveCD is gonna need to present the user with at least a couple of choices every time it boots -unless some sort of 'persitsence' is implemented. even then, the range of possibilities is huge -well demonstarted by Puppy. For instance, you have the thing installed, or 'frugally-installed', but then for some reason you want to boot and ignore your 'installation'. Both the ability to have 'persistence' and the ability to ignore persistent data require added code during the boot-up process -which adds time to the bootup process. The more options you contemplate, the more complex the routines. At some point -like now, you have so many options that one can hardly remember how to use them or what options exist -and the large amount of conditionals used to achieve the versatilty penalizes every user in every case by making you either answer too many questions, or by making too many assumptions which don't agree with what you want. And in every case, the boot-time will be much longer than what is really needed to do the job.
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Lobster
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Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Fri 21 Oct 2011, 01:26    Post_subject:  

Quote:
Better = simpler

'Just works' is about what happens for the user.
Anything that interferes with that process is a bug
or 'geeky stuff' as my sisters inform me . . .

One of the most difficult things for developers to understand
is that most users when for example seeing code lines during
boot up - think the system is 'crashing' or not working right.

When they boot up and have to answer questions
(something they do not do on a smart phone or I p a d)
. . . well the OS is at fault . . . Rolling Eyes

If giving people a choice or interaction
- you can set up AND Introduce simultaneously

For example
Welcome to Puppy
Did you hear Puppy bark?
Y/N
Set up sound?

Puppy thinks you are in the US
Is Puppy a smart dog or just a pup?
Smart/Pup

Do you want to go on-line NOW?
Click on connect?
Later Dog / Get me on-line now Buddy

Is that the time (shows time)?
Puppy time is right / Set to MY time

I need some grooming?
Make me look different / You'll do Puppy

========

This may seem cute
but it is basic psychology
getting people to interact with their OS
as a friendly 'buddy' Smile

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tasmod


Joined: 04 Dec 2008
Posts: 1461
Location: North Lincolnshire. UK

PostPosted: Fri 21 Oct 2011, 05:13    Post_subject:  

One of the things that bugged me about Puppy is the startup screen.

Most other polished distros use a splash screen to hide the text bootup. This is achieved using the frame buffer.

Some also magically setup your locale. (This I suspect is derived from an existing windows install, if it exists, or from the hardware clock.)

Pizzasgood started on this when he produced 'Pebble'. Unfortunately he had other commitments and it stalled.

I've been working on this area but admit it is not a field I'm knowledgeable about.

I liked the graphical boot menu type screen and tried to implement it further in boot process with the console messages backgrounded.

I altered a few scripts and got some results but constant lockups and reboots gets tiring developing something. I'm also not sure if I'm pursuing the right path.

To create a more polished Puppy I feel it really needs this, followed by something like shinobars effort.

Most new computers come with Windows preset to boot and ask simple questions in a graphical format, this doesn't frighten newbys so much.

EDIT:

One of the projects occupying my free time was a trayicon that showed the country flag for the current keyboard. I implemented a first start version similar to firewallstate. This could be expanded, however it did not follow X as to which keyboard was in use after a keyboard change 'on the fly'. It just used 'keymap' at startup.
The right click menu brought up a window where keyboard, locale etc could be changed. It could also bring up shinobars First Run if required.
This is similar to the mainline distros.

However again, I've spent a bit too much time on it and need a code break Cool

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tasmod


Joined: 04 Dec 2008
Posts: 1461
Location: North Lincolnshire. UK

PostPosted: Fri 21 Oct 2011, 07:23    Post_subject:  

Well, well. Surprised myself.

After posting above I took one more look and discovered where I went wrong with pizzasgoods Pebble. I abandoned extending graphical grub.

This is on a frugal install and is very basic for now. Animation of sorts can be added. All thanks to Pizzasgood.

This is a YouTube video that I took with my mobile phone. I was so pleased that I forgot to speak until part way in. Laughing

Bootsplash video

This is on Puppy 5.2.9 but I can modify it to run on most Puppys.

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Lobster
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Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 15117
Location: Paradox Realm

PostPosted: Fri 21 Oct 2011, 08:20    Post_subject:  

Quote:
I was so pleased that I forgot to speak until part way in.


lovely jubbly
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=lovely%20jubbly

When I boot in I quite often use 'puppy pfix=ram' - unless using fatdog
where it is 'fatdog pfix=ram'

From what I remember of this way of booting
It had an 'f2 extended boot options' text and a scrollable menu
of options . . .

Friendliness for noobs
Options for geeks Cool

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tasmod


Joined: 04 Dec 2008
Posts: 1461
Location: North Lincolnshire. UK

PostPosted: Fri 21 Oct 2011, 08:28    Post_subject:  

Lobster,

Still quite pleased with this.

At the moment I have let the splash continue as I need no options.

However, on a remastered live cd or during an 'update puppy' the screen can be paused whilst choice is made then resume again.
Using different screens will create an animation of sorts but at expense of overall package size and boot time slight increase.

I still think it's worth it though.

I've managed to get it to work on a USB as well.

I believe it will work on a Full install as long as lilo or grub is used to boot.

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tasmod


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Posts: 1461
Location: North Lincolnshire. UK

PostPosted: Fri 21 Oct 2011, 08:49    Post_subject:  

Hmmm. Interesting.

Based upon my install on Puppy 5.2.9.

I modded initrd.gz and loaded the extra files. Two extra themes were incorporated.

Now just doing some basic file size checks I can see no appreciable size increase as long as I remove the extra themes.
In fact after modding initrd.gz I saved 500k thus leaving room for the extra files.

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Minnesota

Joined: 11 Sep 2008
Posts: 313

PostPosted: Fri 21 Oct 2011, 09:18    Post_subject: YES Yes, splash screen  

Yes, I like the idea of a splash screen...and agree with above comments on making Puppy look more professional. PLEASE if possible add animation in the form of a time line or running Puppy or even sound... why.... it it very hard to determine if something is RUNNING. On big systems I used to give messages to my users to "Hang In There, I am Working". That is the purpose of the hour glass. Even better if you can in some way give a estimated time to desktop. Just a few suggestions. Keep up the good work.
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tasmod


Joined: 04 Dec 2008
Posts: 1461
Location: North Lincolnshire. UK

PostPosted: Fri 21 Oct 2011, 09:24    Post_subject:  

Yep, I hope to have that working by to-morrow.

I posted it up even though it's at very early stage for me.

An animation of sorts is the next thing to show.

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8-bit


Joined: 03 Apr 2007
Posts: 3364
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Fri 21 Oct 2011, 09:35    Post_subject:  

This is just a thought, but how about a full screen gif for the animation?
That way, one file could be used for the animation and not have to switch between graphic files.
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tasmod


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Location: North Lincolnshire. UK

PostPosted: Fri 21 Oct 2011, 09:56    Post_subject:  

'Fraid not. It's hard coded to jpg.

Remember, the system isn't loaded yet, so there's nothing to interpret it.

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