Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The (r)evolution has begun

Followers of AROS-EXEC.org already know I am in the process of revisioning the internal organization of files in Icaros Desktop. The main motivation is the installation process time, which grew considerably after the introduction of AROS M68K compatibility layer. The solution would have been zipping all Extras contents and unzipping them once copied on the user's hard drive, but I never liked it because it prevented Icaros from running in live mode. I've always considered the live mode a requisite for Icaros, and there's some motivations behind the "Icaros Desktop Live!" name. A better solution, however, came when I realized that keeping all 3rd party applications inside the Extras directory was neither mandatory, nor practical from any point of view. There are components like the Scout program which are perfectly tied to the system, and which do a very intimate job like managing tasks, windows and other system stuff... so there isn't really any good motivation to keep it in Extras and not placing it elsewhere, maybe in the Tools or in System drawers directly. There are programs which are now considered 'part' of any operating system (browser, media player, text editor...), so again there isn't really any good motivation to keep them in Extras: they've been moved elsewhere as well. So, what is still placed in Extras? Everything else, from trackers to emulators, from games to misc applications. And they've been zipped into bigger archives, which will be exploded by InstallAROS after copying them onto the hard drive. We gain a lot of time copying files, we loose some other to extract files, but the advantages of this solution will be noticeable. I am already to the point that Icaros boots fine with the new file organization without broken paths and assigns, and installs correctly with file extraction. Next weeks will be important for bug hunting and fixing, mainly in scripts (there are many), def_ icons and procedures. It will be also time to enhance LiveUpdater a little, to reflect the latest changes. I also still need the help from someone with LUA and ZULU knowledge to write a simple package selector, but this is another story.
In the screenshot: my Fedora development machine, with new InstallAROS post install script opened for editing.