Sorry about the huge post. Hopefully its worth the reading!
I fwould love to see a TKL Client (ie TKL Desktop OS) make it into the next TKL release, even if its only a base Client Core (in the same vane as the current TKL Core but with a Desktop GUI). Obviously we don't need to reinvent the wheel because there are literally hundreds of Linux Desktop distros out there. IMO it needs to be uniquely TKL - ie a minimalist Desktop OS aimed at developers and development (at least initially). I think it needs to be something that won't look out of place with TKL's current offerings (and the way things are shaping up - the gigantic upcoming release).
This idea has been discussed here on the forums a few times and I'd really like to run with it. I think the benefits of a fast, minimal desktop OS, which will run quickly and cleanly inside a VM (or on bare metal) with the base relevant tools pre-installed are clear. I imagine this may be especially useful for TKL/Linux newbs as well as developers and perhaps even a useful OS for Sys Admins that prefer Linux but are forced to work in a Win Desktop/Server environment.
I can also see that still having it available as a TKLPatch after official release (assuming lots aren't I!?) may be desireable. That way those that wish to run on bare metal can also have access to a GUI if they wish (by applying the Client patch to their desired ISO). A patch like this would probably want/need a little tweaking for that use scenario.
I have spent a considerable amount of time researching, playing, thinking and generally working on this idea. I currently have a prototype running inside a VM and I'm pretty happy so far. I have ideas for other stuff I'd like to do with it in the future (such as a specific TKL theme) but for now I'm focusing on the pragmatics.
The next step will be to finalise and post an intial prototype patch, which I hope to do sometime within the next few days (although could be up to a week). I anticipate that this will not be a final patch, rather it will be a work-in-progress; with insertions, deletions and modifications probably right up untill the patch deadline for the next release (mid to late Sept).
This brings me to the purpose of this post (besides letting you all know what I've been up to). I'd like some feedback and ideas about what you think should be included/removed/altered. Here's what I've got so far:
- Base TKL Lucid Core OS with only very minor modifcation (retained all current services, eg Webmin, SSH, SFTP, WebShell etc) with
- X Window System (X11)
- LXDM - LXDE graphical login manager
- OpenBox Window Manager
Core LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) components (not full Lubuntu desktop) consisting of:
- LXTerminal (Terminal)
- LeafPad (Text Editor)
- PCManFM (File Manager)
- LXPanel (Panel - also handles menu)
- and a few other bits...
- TKL ConfConsole (running inside an LXTerm window) for networking - Its not a pretty GUI but I like it!
- Firefox (Web browser - duh!)
- Should I remove some of TKL Core? If so why & what? If not why?
- Do you think a specifc TKL GUI theme is important or will we look at that later and stick with LXDE default for now?
- Is TKL ConfConsole running in a teminal window acceptable? (Like I said I actually quite like it!) Or should it contain a 'proper' GUI network manager? If so what? The main reason I didn't initially was that I wasn't sure which way to go, LXNM isn't in the Ubuntu repos (not sure what Lubuntu uses - I probably should check) and NM-applet pulls down most (if not all) of Gnome so is WAY overkill and I've got no experience with anything else.
- Is Firefox ok as web browser? Or should we use Chromium (Lubuntu default)? Personally my preference is for Firefox, partially for familiarity, partially because of the add-ons I have come to expect/rely on. But its not all about me! I also noticed that in the Symfony patch thread there is discussion of a development client (GUI OS like I'm doing here) which is destined to have Firefox, Chromium and Opera. Should Client Core include all 3? Or is it better to keep it to just one? (With a TKL Client Testing Environment as a separate appliance with all 3 preinstalled)
- Following on from the web browser question, should there be any browser add-ons included by default? If so which ones?
- Do you agree with my decision on package management (ie no Synaptic)? If not why?
Do you agree with my decision to keep TKL default of a single (root) user? Is that ok? Or should the TKLClient have an additional (non-root) user?
Should I include other apps in Client Core such as PDF reader (ePDFView?) Word Processor (Abiword?) and Spreadsheet (Gnumeric? - although not sure about that as I'd guess it'd pull down lots of Gnome dependencies which I'd rather avoid.)