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.


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 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?