Friday, January 24, 2014

Roadmap for Enterprise and Mac Linux USB Loader

I'm just going to take a short while and discuss where I intend to take Mac Linux USB Loader and Enterprise. All software projects need goals, otherwise, they mute into unmaintainable beasts that cause frustration and leave the authors pulling their hair. Sooner or later, it happens to everyone.

But I'm trying to avoid that problem as best I can by planning ahead of time exactly what Enterprise will be, and what it won't be. I may revise this over time, but it will be relatively static.

So, where to take Enterprise? Well, here are a few talking points:

  1. Enterprise is concerned with setting up the Linux distribution only, not for actually loading the kernel. I'm using GRUB for this because I don't want to write it myself. Because of this, I'm not adding my own kernel loading code. Why duplicate what's already been done?
  2. I want to allow the user to manually enter their own Linux kernel parameters in addition to the ones already present in the menu. I can't predict every individual use case, nor am I going to.
  3. Adding support for booting multiple Linux distributions is a big thing that needs to be added as well. This will require large changes to Enterprise. I've already started this.
  4. I may decide to support UEFI support boot if I end of supporting PCs or if Macs end up adopting it. I definitely am not going to do this unless I have to, but it's an opportunity that I'm not necessarily opposed to.
And where to take Mac Linux USB Loader?

  1. I want to add native persistence support to Mac Linux USB Loader so that users can natively setup persistence for their drives. I'm already working on this in another branch of the code, where it's coming along nicely.
  2. To ease expandability, I want to allow users to get Linux distribution boot info from a server instead of being hard-coded into the application.
  3. I want to allow users to update the version of Enterprise installed on their USB drives when an update is released.
Those are my goals for right now. What do you guys think? Comment below.


Anonymous said...

My suggestion may require a rebranding but might you also add support for other, non-USB devices like SD cards?

SevenBits said...

Well, in theory SD cards should be already supported, but the problem is that Macs cannot boot from the SD card reader.

Joshua Upham said...

Just wanted to say I love what you're doing. I have very limited knowledge of this technology, but I know on Windows a program called Multiboot that allows you to configure multiple distros on one usb. You can then select which distro to boot. I don't know if this is possible, but I would pay to download a program with those capabilities.

SevenBits said...

Hi Joshua,

Multiple distributions on the same USB is on the drawing board; it is a feature I will add. I have been very busy lately however so I haven't been able to get anything done.

I'm glad that you'd pay for it, however, right now Mac Linux USB Loader is gratis. I may in the future take donations however...

-- SevenBits