Wednesday, January 31, 2018

AmiBridge now optional (well, almost)

One of the most debated aspects of Icaros Desktop is its system volume size. Although all current mainstream operating systems require many gigabytes of your hard drive to get installed with all their features, some Amigans complained about the fact that Icaros Desktop's SYS: partition weights almost 1 GB and includes many "third party applications" which are not part of the AROS bare system. Well, let me explain this for the last time ever: when you're installing Icaros Desktop, you're not installing the operating system only, you are installing a complete Icaros environment which includes both the operating system and some mandatory-to-have-today applications like the media player, the web browser and, of course, the Janus-UAE emulator with the whole AROS M68K "replica", which allows running Amiga applications and games inside the Icaros environment. In a nutshell: you're not installing AROS, you're installing Icaros, otherwise choosing this distribution wouldn't make any sense.

Let's save some space
When users ask for specific new features, however, I can't always say 'no', it wouldn't be polite. So when AROS-EXEC's user Yanosh asked me at least to make AmiBridge an optional component to save some space on the system partition, I realized that something could be done. AmiBridge is a mandatory feature of Icaros Desktop, but since it does not work in Live mode from read-only a read-only installation media (like CDs and DVDs), there is no real need to keep it expanded on it. The compressed version of AmiBridge weights only 40 MB, which is half the size of its uncompressed counterpart (93 MB). This not only allows to keep Icaros' system partition smaller (and this can help users of the light edition), but even saves me some space (and bandwidth) on server and reduces the Light edition's ISO file to about 625 MB, enabling the use of old 650 MB CD-RWs many users still have at home. This is not something I am going to advertise, since in the future I might need this space to add something more to the Light ISO, but keep this as a nice side effect for the time being.

So, no AmiBridge anymore if I like?
Well... no. Not really.  I said this solution will save some space, but AmiBridge will still be copied, in its compressed shape, onto your hard drive, so you will be able to enable it later if you change mind. As I said, AmiBridge is and still will be a mandatory component of Icaros Desktop. There are applications and script which might fail to work correctly if this feature is missing. Just think about Icaros Settings in Prefs. It will simply not work and behave randomly if AmiBridge is not there. So, once the system will be installed without AmiBridge, you'll be always able to extract all files later with a script I already placed in S:, just open a shell and  
execute S:extract-amibridge
this will extract AmiBridge directories from zipped files and delete the archives.

It seems a trivial change. Well, it's not. It required to modify Icaros' post-installation script, Linux and Windows hosted installation scripts, LiveUpdater and even the "Make a installation pendrive" script in the root directory. I had also to change the Linux scripts I use to build Icaros' ISO files. Don't tell I don't listen to people anymore... ;-)