Embeded Debian questions

Being in the process of compiling a diminutive Debian GNU/Linux -based OS image to boot an embeded device, I ran into a few problems that, I would guess, have already been resolved by other Debian developers working in the embeded device industry. My main questions are:

Obsolete (c)deboostrap package list for Etch

I notice that debootstrap's idea of which packages to install has never been updated for Etch, which currently installs pretty much the same packages as Sarge. One exemple is fetching dhcp-client instead of dhcp3-client.

Would anyone have an updated package bootstraping list for Etch?

Overcoming the footprint of a default Debian install with Busybox

Reading its documentation, it appears that Busybox can effectively replace about 80% of the packages rated with a priority Standard or higher. However, since neither busybox or busybox-static offer any Provides line, it becomes fairly difficult to figure out which packages can be safely removed without hosing the system.

Would anybody happen to have more details about exactly which packages Busybox can replace while still providing just enough functionality to boot a Debian-based system up to an X display manager? This equivalence list would need to be up-to-date with the Etch bootstrap requirements mentioned in the previous question.

Having clear answers to the above two question would go a long way towards helping me get started on this project. Thanks in advance to anyone who can provide relevant answers!


Kotoisuus workgroup publishes new Finnish keyboard map

Via Michael Kaplan:

I was talking with someone the other day who is working on/with the new Finnish keyboard standard. [PDF in English]

Kyllä vain, suomalaisilla on sittenkin uutta näppäimistön oletusasettelua!

The novelty is the integration of several new deadkeys, accessible via AltGr or Shift+AltGr, that enable the composition of accented characters needed for the minority languages of Scandinavia, such as Faroese and Samé, and for those of significant immigrant groups such as Turkish and Vietnamese. Then the caron, macron and ogonek open the door to Baltic languages, while the double-accute allows writing Hungarian using a normal Finnish keyboard.

Ihanat painomerkit! Lisää! Laitetaanko saman tien consolelle ja X:lle kaikki näppäimistön oletusasettelut uusiksi?

Now, if they could only get around integrating the Russian ЯВЕРТЫ keymap on top of that, I would be such a happy boy...

PS: this post is dedicated to another Kaplan, Mr.RTL himself, Lior Kaplan, for officially becoming a DD. Congratulations!


Buzzword opportunism won't do

Being involved in no less than four different projects, all with excellent prospects for a permanent job, reminds me of why riding the Free Software bandwagon as yet another opportunistic buzzword won't do:

In three of the projects, people insist upon communicating using the closed source VoIP application Skype. There indeed is a crude port for Linux on i386 (though not for amd64, powerpc, or any other architecture), but the dependencies are broken and my friends at Skype emphasize that Linux is a non-market for them, so I should not expect any solution any time soon. Still, the people behind some of these projects regularly threaten that I'm wasting their time by "refusing" to install Skype on my computer.

Free Software promoters who don't understand what "non-free" means.

In two of the projects, the corporate homepage is made as a single Flash animation. Mentioning that Flash support is extremely broken and thus essentially non-existent on Free Software platforms is pointless: the people behind the project are Windows users and yet they insist that their project is about promoting the free circulation of ideas using Free Software.

Free Software promoters who don't understand interoperability.

In one particular project, the product follows the Googlesque model of "the Web as my application and file server". Great idea, except that ―­ once again ― the people behind the project are Windows users and they insist that the Thin Client hardware must have a standard set of applications pre-installed and some storage media, thus defeating the purpose of this business model.

Promoters of "the Web as my application and file server" model who don't understand the implications of a Thin Client solution.

In all cases, the people behind the project mean well, but ― not being Free Software users themselves ― they clearly don't understand the profound implications of the Free Software agenda; they only see it as a license-free technology to connect the masses for cheap and they evidently find it difficult to think outside the Windows PC framework.

Free Software as a business model, in a nutshell: data interoperability and the client-server model. Either get it or you're wasting my time ...and yours too. Nothing personal; just business.

PS: I sincerely hope that anybody who recognizes themselves in the above rant will acknowledge my honest concerns and embrace this opportunity to truly adopt Free Software. Just do it! It doesn't matter where you get the FOSS. Just make sure that the FOSS gets you! (inspired by a great Candy Dulfer song currently blasting through the headphones).