Feb 19, 2010

7Linux is a small fast distribution built from scratch

7Linux: a small, fast distribution built from scratch

7Linux is a fast distribution,  comparisons to other distributions have showed it to be noticeably faster than them. Clearly speed is not everything and we also try to keep up to date, but maintain stability and provide best of breed applications.

7linux is NOT Slackware based but compiled entirely from scratch with a few exceptions such as Firefox Thunderbird and OpenOffice.org. Although these examples have been all compiled from scratch and optimized previously (with significant speed improvements in OpenOffice.org in particular), they are currently binaries from their respective projects as it saves us a lot of time, particularly with the fairly frequent updates of the Mozilla stuff and huge task of a source compile of OpenOffice.org. Some tools from Slackware are used for package management etc.

7linux uses 7z compression on packages and it is fast. A modified slaptget style system is intended for use with package management but is not fully implemented yet as I type. We have also been trying jigdo for iso updates so you can get the latest iso by only downloading the changed parts that you have not already downloaded. This seems to work very well and should make a big difference to people on slower connections.

The installer is text based and uses whatever kernel is currently our latest so it helps to keep hardware detection during install that way. There are scripts that setup stuff such as timezone, users, x, keymaps, networking etc., so no file editing is required for these. The installer is subject to improvements as the need / desire arises and is currently being tweaked for improved modular package installation e.g. server packages, a compact desktop install, graphics stuff, loaded with everything on cd. To give an idea of speed of boot the install cd boots from lilo prompt on an elderly cd drive on an Athlon XP1700 in 22secs. Within this time all normal udev style hardware detection has been done, appropriate modules loaded and cdrom located for install purposes etc.

Various versions have been in use by individuals, companies and charities that we know of (some from as far back as 7v4 a few years ago). We have also built requested packages for people including some quite specific in appeal ones.

Often a lot of discussion of the project happens on irc and is not documented on these forums.