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[CC'ed to Lua-L as a little teaser. I'll probably only do that once -
starting next week the news will go to the lua-os list only. Welll,
unless someone requests it otherwise. Oh, another little question:
Does someone on the list have some real-life experience with/channels
into relevant IT press (German or international)? I could certainly
use that :] -S.]

// Friday, Sep 16, 2011 // // from Hamburg, Germany

Dear followers of Lua OS!

This is the Lua Operating System Project's first official Friday
Newsletter - as it so happens to be Friday. Maybe this will become a
regular weekly event?

This is a very special month. I can hardly believe all the good things
life appears to be providing now. There have been VERY different times

But enough of that. Let's get started with today's news!

>> Lua OS 0.10 boots! Or: Eating your own dog food <<

Well, that is surely the biggest event of this week.

And not only does it boot, it runs really well.

I am typing this mail in Google Mail on Lua OS. I can now watch movies
with VLC. Use BitTorrent (Transmission). VirtualBox. And IntelliJ IDEA
(for development). All in Lua OS. So the OS can now be developed in
(on) itself.

I did have to master a new CD image for that as 0.10 had a problem
installing VirtualBox... I will tell you more about that in the next

>> The upgrade question <<

In my frenzy of removing packages from Knoppix to slim down Lua OS, I
had also removed a package called linux-headers-2.6.37. Turns out this
is needed sometimes, for example for buliding a system module when you
say "apt-get install virtualbox-ose". Unfortunately, I am not sure
where to get the headers package from after it's gone. It's not part
of Knoppix apt sources list for some reason. (Anybody have a solution

So I made a new CD release with that package included again. After I
tweak some more things, I plan to release this as the Live-CD v. 0.11.

Which raises the question: What to do with an existing Lua OS
installation (like mine)?

Unfortunately, Knoppix doesn't seem to offer an upgrade function
besides Debian's "dist-upgrade" which is very definitely not what we
want here (since Debian knows nothing about Lua OS).

So I came up with a simple approach: Delete the whole partition -
except for the /home directory. Then copy Lua OS onto it with the
standard installer (just modified a little bit so it willingly copies
onto a non-empty partition).

And: That worked! I lost a few settings - browser history & passwords,
and Compiz (window manager) customizations. Other than that,
everything looks very smooth.

So that might be a viable option. That said, I will probably prefer a
different approach: Not distribute new versions as a CD image, but
rather as little patches for an existing system. That way, everyone
can benefit and nobody loses anything.

As for upgrades of the next-gen section of Lua OS (the Lua/Java area),
they are already covered with Lua OS's automatic upgrade function. As
always, next-gen makes things easier than legacy code =]

>> Knoppix: the pros and the cons <<

Knoppix, so far, looks like a decent choice as a basis for Lua OS. It
does almost anything I want, and it's small and fast. There are,
however, three potential problems with Knoppix:

1. Localization. I used the English version of Knoppix - and I could
not find a locale setting dialog. Not even for the keyboard layout. Is
it locked into one language? There is a German Knoppix CD. But we
don't want to make a different CD for every language. We'll want a
dialog to switch languages, system-wide.

2. Compatibility. Knoppix is Debian, so it runs almost anything. But
some software is distributed for specific Linux versions, and those
are usually Ubuntu et al - not Knoppix. So Ubuntu might be an even
better choice in that department.

3. Multi-user. A Knoppix installation is basically a copy of the
Live-CD and it assumes you run a single user (which is called
"knoppix"). Knoppix is a Unix, so it can definitely run multiple users
as well. I'm just not sure how well the system supports that.

So, these issues point in the direction of using an even "more
standard" Linux than Knoppix, like Ubuntu. Ubuntu is kinda huge
though. Last time I tried, the installation took almost forever.
Knoppix is so light and small, and it installs in 5 minutes.

Well well. We'll see. I will definitely appreciate any input from
people in the know with regards to the Linux part of Lua OS. I don't
claim to be a Linux expert, and I don't even aspire to become one.
Just enough to build Lua OS on top of it.

Currently, the Linux part is in the focus as I want it to be very
smooth and usable, but when that is taken care of, I'll be very happy
to concentrate on the next-gen stuff again (the part I'm really good
at :)).

>> Comm infrastructure (human comm, that is) <<

I think we might now have all the tools we need: an issue tracker
(YouTrack), a forum (the admin of LuaHub gave us our own section -
kudos to him) and, naturally, the mailing list. It's now time to use
those!! :)

>> The Lua OS Hacking Challenge <<

This is an upcoming event I have dreamed up that I think will make a
lot of sense - and provide a bunch of social fun too.

The idea is simple. We reach out to various hacker and hacker-like
groups - or groups with general technical interest, and we say to
them: Come and hack our operating system!

I will lay out some simple, specific rules as to what constitutes a
"hack". Basically, a hack is defined as a Safe Lua script that does
something it should not be able to do. If such a script exists, Lua OS
is insecure and will be fixed accordingly.

After the challenge, we can then be quite reasonably sure that we have
a secure OS.

Before we can start the challenge, however, the OS must be prepared
some more. It doesn't make sense to do it now as there are too many
ways to disrupt the system. Not necessarily actual security holes -
more along the lines of consuming too many resources (memory, number
of sandboxes, Java frames etc). We will prevent that. And THEN let the
hackers in!

>> Anything else for today?

Can't think of anything at the moment. I'd love to know, of course:
Have you tried Lua OS? If yes, how did it work for you? Anything else
you'd like to report? Feel free to blurt it out.

Have a nice week everyone! =)