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PapyrOS, based on Arch Linux (papyros.io)
144 points by ekianjo on Apr 12, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 44 comments



Does this distro offer transactional updates with rollbacks or is it still depending on update ideas from the stone age?

Archlinux is a very good distro, but I do not understand why they are forcing users to read update instructions (boooring!) and replicate these instructions manually - seems bizarro to me: to update a computing system, something that was invented to replace tedious manual workflows in the first place, every single user is forced to replicate manual instructions (sometimes).

It's the same with thousands of technical blog writers out there, writing long articles about how to configure your system or "how to install x, y, z on a, b, c" - in all seriousness they want you to copy and paste computing instructions manually into your machine - this looks like an interesting steam punk counter-culture phenomenon in the age of the rising devops revolution...

Is it a psychological mechanism, lying deeply in our genes, that helps our species not to develop to fast? Is there some "evolution retardant" in our substances that forces us to not adopt new things too fast, as they might be wrong? Many people are still programming in C and we are having the same problems like 30 years ago in computing, what seems to be enough of evidence for the existence of such an invisible evolutionary regulator.

Can't we have a linux distro that sends out updates via punchcards, sent to you with a monthly magazin that contains lots of manual input instructions for your modern device (and a lot of comics)? Let's call it NeanderOS or Mammutix. Any VC interested? Let's make this the next big thing!

Have a nice sunday!


You are using a very provocative form for pointing at a very interesting detail here - yes, these people are trying to fix things:

However, to work well for the typical computer user, we’ll be focusing on an easy-to-use system, with stable, reproducable system installs and atomic upgrades. This will most likely be done using OSTree [1], which is like Git for operating systems.

[1] https://wiki.gnome.org/action/show/Projects/OSTree

Have fun on sundays!


I was always under the impression that having to read the update logs and configure things manually was the entire point of Archlinux. At least that was the reason I used it for years.

If you want a system that automatically configures stable updates you should go for Ubuntu. That's what I do now since I deem my knowledge of linux sufficient and just want to get things done.


As I got it, parent comment wasn't about having stable (tested) packages, but automated measures to recover one's ass when a bug slips through (or when you just want to risk or whatever) and update leaves you with unuseably broken system.

This sort of situation has happened to me on various distros, and Ubuntu wasn't an exception.


"Archlinux is a very good distro, but I do not understand why they are forcing users to read update instructions"

Then I would say that you also don't understand the point of Arch Linux.


Are you german?


How do you tell?


I am just asking...


Maybe because those updates might break some other custom packages or custom configurations that you might have?

Maybe because the result might be a bit unpredictable and it's better to be safe than sorry?

Computers by nature were never easy to use. And still they are not. And it's a good thing that they are not.

Technical blog writers write long articles so that people can understand what's happening and so that people can work their way around an unexpected problem.

If you can't understand these points, you are better off using Windows or Ubuntu and calling some technical line for help from more experienced people.


I think you don't understand his point.

There are loads of technologies that already automate safety and allow to be safe than sorry in a way that don't upset users. When something goes wrong, you can postpone the update and continue using your machine.

Yet, when you check on mainstream distros, there are no traces of such tools to be seen. Every update is "pray for it, so you won't have to waste a few hours fixing problems to have system boot again (oh, and PM doesn't officially support downgrades)". All the necessary primitives do exist, but you _still_ have to built your own, every time.


I agree with everything else that you say, except for the minor point about C: we're still using C for the same reason we're still using hammer despite all of our advancement in machinery.

Yes, some of us might be overdoing stuffs with the hammer, some might not know any better. But the hammer is here to stay.


(this comment has nothing to do with this distro, just the general state of software installation and the transmission of such instructions on the internet.)

I'm not sure anybody else gets you, but I'm totally with changing the copy-paste way of transmitting instructions. And I don't mean a gui and a whole lot of clicking.

System Requirements (hw/sw, pre-reqs) / applicability tests (will this work for me?), tailoring instructions to my configuration(s) (automatically), recommended and trusted instructions (using PKI) with data and statistics to back up the confidence I should have, time estimates and ENV-impact statement, testing and follow up discussion, and transactional rollback of any step to previous state of the system.

See instructions. Install instructions. Should be easy as a click. Something breaks, undo should be just as easy.

Copy and pasting instructions is like typing in BASIC from magazine listings decades ago. "Clipboard is the new fax machine"

At the other extreme are "apps" which are nice when they don't break, but opaque and not developer-friendly.

Willing to discuss elsewhere or learning about existing efforts which try to address these problems.


> Is there some "evolution retardant" in our substances that forces us to not adopt new things too fast, as they might be wrong?

I simply can't wrap my head around how this question is being asked in a post that argues in favor of relying on predefined automated processes to maximize efficiency and safety. The "devops revolution" is the "evolution retardant" you're talking about: the engine of evolution is adaptability and incremental innovation. The Arch philosophy optimizes for adaptability over efficiency: by giving users who are so inclined the tools necessary to understand and interact with the inherent complexity of the system, rather than rely on opaque processes hidden beneath simplistic frontends, it enables users to more effectively adapt their tools to their own needs, solve problems by understanding what's actually causing them, develop new techniques that better serve their purposes, and discover new purposes that their existing tools and systems can serve. Approaches which seek to maximize the efficiency of existing tools and processes are necessarily less adaptable to change, and reliance on them stagnates evolutionary progress.

If you're looking at documentation filled with console commands as an analogue of "click here to install the system" automated tools, then you're missing the point: that list of commands isn't there for you to blindly copy and paste into your shell. It's there for you to read and understand, so you can learn how the system and the tools that manage it work, so you can ultimately use them in the way that best serves your own purposes.

> sent to you with a monthly magazin that contains lots of manual input instructions for your modern device (and a lot of comics)?

I'd love it. I absolutely hate the feeling of constraint and limitation I have on e.g. modern mobile devices. I ended up switching from iOS to Android precisely because of the increasingly common frustration that I felt when I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my phone, but couldn't, because Apple didn't expose the functionality that was clearly there for me to control and direct in the way I wanted to. I was artificially locked into someone else's way of doing things, and any particular use case that they didn't think of in advance was something that was just blocked off to me; and the best I could do was petition that someone else to modify my tools to fit my purposes.

I'd absolutely love a phone OS that made it as easy to understand and control the functionality of the phone as Arch makes it easy to understand and control the desktop, and I'd gladly read a regular publication that was consistently full of information that improved my understanding of how it all works.

It's becoming increasingly apparent that there are two distinct cultures of technology: one that seeks to use technology to extend and improve human capabilities, and one that seeks to use technology to replace human capabilities. Arch is for the former, and sealed black boxes that "just work" are for the latter.


This looks awesome. I really like the look of ChromeOS (and ChromiumOS), but it's a pain in the ass to de-Google-ify, install new packages, and use on non-Google approved hardware. This looks like a good, actually open source alternative.


》We’re not building an entire desktop shell from scratch – we’re building a Wayland compositor using the QtCompositor APIs, which takes care of most of the work for window management and compositing.


Don't think Material design works very well w/o touch, but any fresh desktop development on Linux with Wayland is welcome right now.


My thoughts exactly, Material design was sorta designed for Android, bright colours go well with small screens like cell phones, they, to my best knowledge don't go well with desktops. That being said if their OS really is good then hats off to them for making Material design available for the desktop, but I do hope app developers choose proper colours.


Actually it was designed to be cross-platform.

http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/07...

http://cdn.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/material...

I think it works fine. Certainly better than Metro ever did.


Yes, it is better than metro, but there is a stark difference between computer usage and mobile phone usage. Mobile phones are used for calling/texting etc, desktops are used for various things like programming, mobiles are used round the clock, desktops normally aren't used round the clock, so it makes sense of having colourful windows for a mobile phone but for me it doesn't make sense to have a colourful window theme for a desktop OS.

>http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/07... to the best of my knowledge the devices are nexus 4, nexus7 and chromebook.

I don't think they meant to show a laptop/desktop there.

That is my point actually a chromebook is used casually like a phone, so it makes sense to have colourful things in it to say entice users with beautiful OS, I wouldn't want colourful windows on my linux box where I code :D.

I have tried almost all linux distro, and currently I am on elementary OS, I am bored of almost every other DE, Pantheon seems to be delightful to use!


I tnink the Material Design guidelines support interfaces that work very well for keyboard/mouse systems -- better than lots of classical GUIs for most uses. Material Design is still better with touch, but its not a bad choice without it.

Of course, touchscreen laptops are a thing, so even if MD really needed touch, its not unreasonable to see a niche for an MD-centered Linux distro.


This project looks really cool, if the OS ends up working well I'll switch to it for my day-to-day laptop.

On a side note I'm extremely happy with recent events. It seems like the Linux community is making a large push to break the only market that linux has not completely taken over. I remember watching a video of Linus giving a talk. He said something to the effect of "I write Linux to be a desktop OS and that is the one market where Linux has not completely taken over. It kind of bugs me." (Note: This is from memory).

If this movement of the development of a "user-friendly" Linux desktop is successful I can see a future where it becomes a standard. My children might well be running Linux with me yelling "Back in my day, we dealt with corporations who put backdoor in their OS. You whippersnappers have it easy!"


Is there a Ubuntu DE that implements Material Design somewhere? I'm quite fond of the style, but am not in a place where I can easily switch to Arch (from Ubuntu).


What are the advantages of PapyrOS versus say elementary OS?


It's based on Arch, not Ubuntu (well not sure that's an advange for the most basic users) so it's a rolling distro release (means you do not have to update every 6 months). Arch builds package from source while Ubuntu's package system is simply offer repositories of binaries. Arch gives you more "power" in that sense.


pacman (Arch's package manager) does not build from source, it downloads binary packages from the repos just like Ubuntu. Differently from Ubuntu packages are usually as vanilla and up to date as possible.

You build packages from source when you install something from the AUR[0] or you can build from the Arch Build System [1].

[0] https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Arch_User_Repository

[1] https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Arch_Build_System


Every binary package was built using ABS though, and a PKGBUILD is just a bash script so you do have the flexibility to build every package from source a la Gentoo.


You are correct, I forgot about pacman - and yeah I was referring to AUR in my previous comment.


Why have this be a separate distro instead of just be an installable desktop environment in Arch itself? (Or hell any other distro)


Same thing as for elementaryOS: integration is done for you with the rest of the distro packages, instead of letting the user do it by themselves.


arch is binary rolling release distribution with optional source based packages.


What about unstable upstream packages? Is there a way to stop an update from potentially breaking your system?


Packages go through the 'testing' repository. Archlinux breaks much more seldom on updates than Windows.


Really? When I was using archlinux, it broke nearly every month. My wife uses Windows with auto update turn on and she never has a problem with it.


In the 5 Years I have used Arch (Generally with testing repo enabled) I've only had one breakage (where as I couldn't boot) I can think of that wasn't my fault. (Issue with radeon power management)

As long as you use pacman properly [1][2] and go through your .pacnew files to make sure there's no breaking configuration changes you should be well off, but of course your millage may vary. Any major changes will usually have a news post on the homepage.

[1] One of the major sources of breakages related to improper pacman usage is using -Sy (Update package lists) without updating your system -Su (Combined into -Syu to do both at the same time) before installing something else which make break dependencies.

Basically what happens is you install something that wants a newer version of a library (which other packages which haven't yet been updated to the current versions which are compiled against the newer library) and your new install pulls the new library in with it without updating everything else that depends on said library. Generally -Syu (Update package list and upgrade system) is recommended to be done in all cases where you want to update your package lists.

[2] https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=89328


I'm not using Arch at the moment, so I'm not sure, but I believe you do not have to update all packages at the same time (unless some are required for other packages updates) and usually such changes are tested by the community before being released widely... but if someone else knows better, please correct me.


You can stop certain packages from being updated [0] but the wiki explicity says it's "unsupported" [1] so probably best to update everything and hope nothing breaks.

New packages for the "core" repo, for example the Linux kernel, are first introduced to the "testing" repo, which isn't enabled by default. You would have to manually change your pacman.conf to use it.

From the wiki [2]:

"After a kernel in core broke many user systems, the "core signoff policy" was introduced. Since then, all package updates for core need to go through a testing repository first, and only after multiple signoffs from other developers are they allowed to move. Over time, it was noticed that various core packages had low usage, and user signoffs or even lack of bug reports became informally accepted as criteria to accept such packages."

[0]: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Pacman#Skip_package_fro... [1]: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Pacman#Partial_upgrades... [2]: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Official_repositories#H...


It's usually no problem to keep a package or two from upgrading via the --ignore argument to pacman. Arch calling it "unsupported" doesn't mean it's inherently risky, it mainly comes from the fact that you can shoot yourself in the foot with it if you do it to something like glibc. Keeping a userland program like Chrome or Gimp downgraded will not screw up your system.


Is it pronounced "paper"?


Probably a play on papyrus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papyrus)


My best guess is that the pronunciation is identical to 'papyrus,' though with an 'o' in place of the 'u' -- so something like pah-pyhr-ohs or pah-pyhr-oh-ess.


Papyros is papyrus in greek. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papyrus#Etymology


I think pa-pee-root.


Seems interesting. I do hate interacting with Material design however and can't wait for it to go away.

I feel the same way about it as I do about the hipster trend. I got bored with it a long time ago and still people think it is cool somehow.


Wow you're a meta-hipster - you were a hipster before it was cool. How ironic of you!




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