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State of the RULE, October 2003

RULE in India: magazine article and support request

The October 2003 issue of the Indian magazine Linuxforu features RULE in the “For U and Me” section of the Highlights. The article (available in a separate page here) has been received with great interest. An indian reader just wrote:

//”Nellikala village from where I send this message is in Pathanamthitta, District of Kerala State in South India. Our connection speed go even to bits but can expect a k/s. Please be kind to send me a copy of Rule which will be of much relief to our people.”

Please everybody with broadband who can download the latest slinky and send the CD via snail mail (contact me to get the address).

RULE presented in Tuscany

On september 24th I was invited to Poggibonsi, Tuscany, to present RULE as a solution for very low cost advanced desktops. Details and slides are here.

The VUM:box keeps going

Ingo Lantscher is in the field in Congo installing vum:BOXes based on RULE. I have just received a CD from him including the description of these computers which says:

“In april 2003 a very close and fruitful cooperation with RULE allowed us to solve many of the technical obstacles. We are very thankful to the RULE people: without them we would never have got such a practical implementation”.


As many of you might already know by now, the Red Hat Linux totally GPL distribution ceased to exist as a Red Hat supported product and willl be substituted by Fedora Linux. Practically speaking, nothing should change for RULE. It will be based on Fedora, which is the direct and very close descendant of Red Hat Linux, and to be supported just as today, ie only by volunteers. At least in theory, a community driven project like Fedora could listen to the voice of old PC owners much more than a corporation, ie help RULE in making the default distro closer to such users. We will see.

Linux 2.6

The 2.6 kernel will presumably make it into Fedora next spring. I stopped by the Linux Kernel Mailing list to ask how it will behave on older hardware. So far I have received this trick (courtesy of B. Rossi):

//tweaking some memory parameters in /proc/sys/vm (like “echo “128″ > /proc/sys/vm/min_free_kbytes”) kernel 2.6.0-test6 was useable on a 386DX-40 with 8 MB of RAM.

Hopefully many more suggestions will follow (again, useable with any distribution, not just with RULE).

WEB site help needed

I have received some hardware submissions for the RULE test database and some new entries for the software MAP. The hardware contributions are incomplete because the current CGI script don’t upload report files anymore. This is stalling for two reasons:

  • I haven’t had time to fix them manually
  • The web site could really use some real PHP programmer to allow upload and and updates in a secure way. The pages I had written to make maintenance easier for Michael and me were rightly shut down by the sysadmin because they left some holes wide open. Real CMS systems are an overkill for our kind of activity. Hence, if you are skilled enough (no guru needed) PLEASE do write me to help. It’s 2/3 PHP forms with MySQL interface and upload capability. Thanks!

What next?

We will hopefully have a new burst of activity when the first stable release of Fedora comes out (October/November): installing, testing, tweaking options and packages lists. Other specific issues could be:

  • DOCUMENTATION: update, add new documents, whatever: the more the better. Really. Please ask and/or contribute.
  • Kdrive: it really has great potential, and needs to be advertised better. Hack on it, or stop to your local LUG, and dare them to do it.
  • Database support for SOHO users: I have recently discovered Sqlite. It is a very promising tool for users with limited hardware and no need for the enterprise-level features of MySQL. Unfortunately, both it, its most featured GUI frontends and the ODBC driver needed to use it from OpenOffice or AbiWord are mostly developed on Windows, hence don’t come with a Unix style MakeFile. Anybody feels like trying?

Thank for your time and contribution!

RULE = Run Up to Date Linux Everywhere
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