Friday, September 23, 2005

Burning My Way To A Distro

15 CDRs and counting!!!
This was just at last nite... i burnt about 10 of them last nite.
What am I talking about? Oh yeah, I've been building a customized linux distro based on ArchLinux for a targetted application for a while now.
I already have the ALE (see my Links sidebar) framework, so this hasn't been a total from the scratch affair. Thanks to ArchLinux's overwhelming KISS principle, anyone who's interested can do stuff like that. Trus me... its not rocket science :-). Anyways, the plan is to embrace and extend ALE. So once this is done, i'll supplement ALE such that, I can redo this by just changing a config file, and boom!!! (Ok... so exploding stuff isn't quite so good, but you get the picture.
Last nite, I ensured the partioning works properly (i've disabled FTP mode from the base arch installer for now, just to keep things simple), and I'm making the actions follow themselves. Currently, on the Arch Installer, each time you finish an action, it brings you back to the main menu, which is ok for me really, but for my target audience, It will be less ambigous, to actually go thru the steps one after the other.
Everything works okay now, so I'll need to update the base packages to pull in the lattest packages available now, and then i've been thinking of the Config Files tweaking. Dunno how i'm going to solve that yet. I've been thinking of just dropping some sane default values there, and having a seperate system program to help tune the configs. Dunno, not decided yet, so i'll leave it as it is.
By tonite, I should finally install successfully on the first victim box :), then I'll spend the weekend tidying up the dialogs, and perhaps finetuning the configuration mechanism.
Essien out!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

pysystray on Daily Python

This was an interesting suprise on Daily Python (, The list for today 2005-09-21, lists pySystray-win32's lattest sourceforge release announcement there. Yipee!!!
Its actually a humbling experience for me... *sniff*
I'll just go cry now in private... this is a special moment :-)

pysystray-0.5.2 released

Just updated sourceforge, with the lattest version of pysystray.
This release is basically concept complete with what I initially set out to acheive. Its amazing that most of the time, I didn't really plan what would be in the next version, but I just went with my gut.
I now have balloon tooltips, on_load event callbacks, etc, so I can fully write small service like apps that totally sit on the Windows Notification Area, all in python.
My first thought is an IRC impersonation of me :), this guy will just notify me if i'm doing something important and someone in a channel he's watching says something that might interest me :), ofcourse, there's the ever-vapourware 'phiba' (tm), that may eventually get written now.
bahhh... i'm just a lazy humbug :)
Essien... out!!!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Customising ArchLinux

I've recently had to build a custom distro aimed at a specific purpose. To do this, I quicly visited my sources for ALE (, as a starting point to build the LIVE root image. This was actualy a no brainer, as all it involved was building the pacages I wanted, and changing the ALE config files.
The intersting part has so far been building the CD installer.
In according to the Zen Of Laziness (TM) of which i'm an avid practitioner, I am basing the CD installer off the basic official ArchLinux installer ISO. Hacking it has been fun so far. What i'm basicaly doing, is to tweak the setup script, so some options that I don't need are hidden, and some sane defaults are used in configuring most of the config files. Since this is a targetted distro, its wiser to use them Sane defaults.
Once I finish this, i'm going to tie it into ALE somehow. The goal is to be able to build a CD installer for a custom distro in all of 5 minutes, levering off ALE's config files, etc. :)
I currently have to vanilla box to test the installer on :-( so I'm having to just print messages where work would be done... (not cool!!! :( ), Ii'll still make sure everything works well, then maybe I'll give wendy (my old laptop), a run for here money :), poor ole gal, she really served me faithfully (and still has some important data, but bolivia (my new laptop), totally kicks wendies behinds ;)
If i keep working at nights, I should be able to get this completed this weekend, with minimum fuss. What's actually slowing me down, is the testing... I wonder if there's any other way I could do this.... hmmm....

pysystray new releases

pysystray is undergoing some maturing out in the wild, that it prolly would not have achieved indoors :)
Originally I had intended pysystray as an alternative to writing real services. So a pysystray application would just sit in the system tray and do what a service would have normally done (yeah... i know... its not the best place to do that... but heck it rocks).
Anyways, releases upto 0.4.2 focused on ironing that out smoothly.
Last week, there was a need on the mailing list, to use pysystray in a more traditional sense, as part of a larger GUI project. In this case, enough wasn't exposed via the API for controlling the underlying _App() object. Solving that was an intersting excercise though, and on Friday, i released 0.5.0, which introduced a new Object systray.Control() (for want of a better name :-) ). This allows more traditional things like, Control.hide(), Control.enable(), Control.disable(), etc.
Today, i've just released 0.5.1 (worked on this over the weekend), to iron out some kinks in 0.5.0.
Currently, while waiting for feedback, i'm thinking of cleaning up the Control api in the next 0.5.x release.
Ofcourse, all these, have not broken API yet for the already existing systray.App().
Also, in the process of doing this, i've been learning more about how win32api actually works. Its not facinating (and i think its too verbose), but at least, i finally am understanding the shindig! :)

Silent Nigh, Hackers Nigh :)

Yup, i've been quiet for a while. Been quite busy on a number of fronts, and interesting things are happening too. Be giving a flurry of updates in the next few days.