Archive for April, 2008

No More -dev packages

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

It’s time for the maintainers of a Linux distribution to give serious thought to dropping “developers’” packages once and for all.

Back In The Days, when processor speeds were a few tens of megahertz, hard disk sizes were a few hundred megabytes and Internet connections were by dial-up, there was a genuine need to conserve CPU cycles and disk space. So the fledgling Linux distributions provided pre-compiled binary packages containing only files essential for day-to-day running. If you wanted to compile another package yourself from Source Code to work with an existing package, you had to download a separate developer’s package. If you were playing about with Linux at all, you generally knew what you were doing.

That made perfect sense in that environment.

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Compiling Kernels on Debian

Friday, April 4th, 2008

You probably know this. But I didn’t, and it took me a lot of swearing and cursing and poking about in murky areas of the Internet and my own file system to discover what was up with it.

Debian has always had a nice system for compiling kernels: from pristine kernel.org source, you can produce a .deb package, which you can install as normal. Easy. And safe, because no third party has had a chance to muck with it: the source you downloaded came straight from Linus himself.

Only this time, booting stalled with the dreaded Kernel Panic: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block error. So what did I do wrong?
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