Long time with no article about Tanglu! This was mainly because we were busy with the project itself, improving various aspects of the distribution.
So, here is a new summary on what has been done and what you can expect from the first release
We further improved the automatic archive QA. There is now qa.tanglu.org, which constantly monitors the number of uninstallable or unbuildable packages in the Tanglu suites. It also provides status information on the metapackage generator, which helps us in finding out which packages are available on the live-cds. Furthermore, information about the staging->devel migration process is provided, to answer the question why a package does not migrate (this still needs some improvements, but it is being worked on).
We also use some code from Ubuntu to monitor package versions in Debian and upstream, which helps to see if others have released newer versions of software shipped with Tanglu.
This already resulted in many improvements: The Tanglu Aequorea suite does not contain unbuildable packages (at least not due to build-dependency changed), and all live-cds are working well.
We will soon migrate the archive to a new server, which frees some server capacities we can use for automated QA and things like automatic live-CD building.
We currently don’t do Alpha-Releases of Tanglu, but we create Live-CD snapshots of Tanglu, which are available at releases.tanglu.org (or mirror1, mirror2). These snapshots still have issues and are just early previews. They also ship without and installer, we are still working on that part. Please note that “CD” more or less means DVD or USB-Stick right now (and this won’t change – the expected image size will be around 800MB).
I am happy to announce that we will do a release this year, most likely in December. But what can you expect from the release?
We will ship with KDE 4.11, which will be the only desktop we officially support so far. The reason is simply lack of manpower – we could promise to support more, but that would just be not realistic for the small team. So we focus on KDE (Plasma Shells) right now, and try to make it awesome. Also, the team consists mostly of KDE people right now, which contributed to that decision ;-).
If you want to try Tanglu, right now the KDE live-images are the best to try it out.
We will also provide images with GNOME. The problem with GNOME is, that the GNOME team does not have enough manpower to maintain the whole desktop or to upgrade it to the latest version (it is essentially just me looking at it from time to time). So GNOME will be available in a “preview” state. We invite everyone with GNOME knowledge to join the project and help improving Tanglu-GNOME – GNOMErs, we want you!
We ship with systemd by default, which works nicely so far, although more testing needs to be done. The logind service will be used to replace ConsoleKit, if we manage to get everything in place and working in time (if there are issues, we might switch back to CK for one release). There are some plans to use a higher systemd version, due to some improvements made there, but if this will be done is still unclear (Debian will most likely stick to 204 for some time, because with systemd > 205, running it as pid 1 will be mandatory to use logind (and Debian is just in the process to decide which init-system we will use there)).
Systemd will run in SysVInit compatibility mode for most of the available services. This will improve in later Tanglu releases. Of course, systemd is usable, even if not every init-script has been converted to a service file. It just has an impact on startup times, so Tanglu will not be the distributions with the fastest startup times (yet ).
Tanglu consists mostly of packages from Debian Testing (Jessie), but we take full advantage of the Debian archive, so you will also find package versions from Unstable or even Experimental (where it made sense). A very small portion of packages has also been merged with Ubuntu. Although stuff has been changed, the incompatibilities with Debian are almost zero, so if you are installing Tanglu, it will currently feel like an more up-to-date Debian Testing with some extras.
Still, the differences are large enough that upgrading a Debian system to Tanglu might result in some issues.
Right now, the installer is a major field of work. Tanglu will most likely ship with the Debian-Installer, because it is the easiest thing to do right now.
For later releases, it is planned to also offer the Ubiquity installer (the thing Ubuntu uses), or a new installer with a similar UI and concept.
Tanglu will ship with a fully working Qt5 (which is currently being tested and updated) and the latest version of Wayland/Weston as a preview for developers to play around with.
We also ship with Perl 5.18 and Haskell GHC 7.6, as well as with GCC 4.8 as default compiler (although the whole distribution does not yet compile with GCC 4.8). We might ship with Linux 3.12, but this also depends on other things. The Linux kernel build will be the same as in Debian. There might be more things to come
Please do always keep in mind that Tanglu is a new project, so the first release might still have some teething problems – but we’re working on it. The Aequorea release will be supported one to two more months after the next release is out.
I started to draft a Tanglu policy, which defines stuff like the procedures to become a Tanglu project member and/or developer, some basic values of the distribution, decision making processes etc. This work is at a very early stage right now, and will need lots of feedback later. But as soon as it is done, joining the project will be easier and what Tanglu is will be well-defined.
The policy will also include a Code-of-Conduct as an additional document from the start.
First of all, thanks to everyone working on Tanglu! You are amazing! Also, many thanks to every Debian developer or contributor who helped a lot in setting the project up and contributed knowledge. And of course, thanks to everyone else who contributed by creating awesome artwork, helped with code, Tanglu archive mirrors, buildd-servers or by testing the distribution and providing feedback! (given the state the aequorea suite was in at the beginning, testing was a really frustrating activity – but people still did it!)
So, if you would like to help, just find us on #tanglu-devel on Freenode or join the tg-devel mailinglist. We also really need some people taking care of the Tanglu website and updating it with some recent information from time to time, so people can see what is going on. Before we have the Tanglu policy finished and the Tanglu members and developers directory in place (a software which allows us to track all registered developers and gives them an @tanglu.org mailalias), the start might be a bit confusing, but we do our best to make it easy for new people to join. The best way is asking people.
Tanglu is still created by an incredibly small team, which has a large task to accomplish. Help is welcome