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My idea about Syllable

Okay, my flu is getting over finally, I’m currently building OpenOffice again (after building it again last night) because the new version of ICU changed the soname (sigh), and as soon as the TV show I’m watching (Parla con me, with Serena Dandini, one of the few ones I still watch) is over, I’ll go to read something so that I can get some strength back in for next working week.

I’ve tried to spend some time looking at Syllable this week, as I said before, and I’ve now some ideas about it I want to share. First of all, I wish to say I’m sorry to Stuart (Redhatter) but no, I’m not stalking him, I didn’t know he was following it already before 😛

The boot of Syllable is pretty fast, and that made Roy a bit angry to know 😉 I suppose this is also an advantage gave by the non existant runlevels and textual modes, and that might be quite a good advantage if Syllable can get enough momentum to become a complete viable free operating system.

The sad thing is that the patches needed (GRUB, GCC and Binutils) are not available “split”, and I can’t see any reference to them on the upstreams’ mailing lists that then means they weren’t sent to be merged. Not sure if this is because the interface is not yet stabilised, or because they are doing the same as *BSD, by maintaining a copy of the source trees of everything in their CVS.. what I can suggest here, is to try working near GCC and Binutils upstreams, merging the stuff as soon as possible, as that might help getting momentum and should also allow simpler handling of crosscompilers (for instance if GCC had support for Syllable, after merging distcc it wouldn’t be a big deal for me to let this box compile for Odissey).

From a comment in #syllable, seems like users would prefer for it not having a package manager at all.. for what I’ve seen up to now, I suppose this is right, especially since it uses an approach nearer to the one applied by Windows and Mac OS X for applications.. they could either go with the bundles used by Mac, or maybe just rely on a smarter dynamic link to use libraries installed in the system without any hardcoded path. But even then, for handling posix/unix-like packages, sort of like you do on Mac or on Cygwin, I’m really missing a package manager… I’ll give it a try to Prefixed Portage next week, it could work well, but I cannot ensure that… ssh agent forwarding does not work for instance, nor does scp, zile segfaults and I cannot see why.. maybe Python does not work correctly either… should try.

Bottom line is that Syllable has potential, it might work well if it takes enough momentum, but there are things that I suppose they should handle better if they really want more spotlight on them, for instance the link to download the installation ISO is broken and points to the old version, and the documentation and data is fractured in too many sites… other things are also unclear, and they don’t seem to be pushing upstream their support… Anyway I’ll try to make libcdio work, and then unieject, mostly because I like experimenting with new stuff, and because I like to help even smallish projects even when they don’t seem to have enough users 🙂

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