News as on April 2014: Calculate Update 3.2 alpha

Previously on Calculate

We’ve had numerous requests from users , asking for a simple and friendly update interface, almost since Calculate Linux was born! You are many to want a smart tool that would not promp for a root password or make you enter crazy commands you only vaguely understand. For CL 14, we’re doing our best to provide at least these basics. More functionality may be added later.

Now, what is Calculate Update? An automatic update procedure. A pretty window. Caching data in order to avoid recalculating dependencies unnecessarily (you sure remember the time it always took!) A step-by-step approach, so as to handle every change, such as updates involving Python, Perl, kernel packages, portage, Calculate Utilities, etc. Patches and revisions, meant to fix bugs whenever needed. Update of configuration files. Everything you need and nothing you don’t.

The price we pay

Calculate Update does not replace Portage; it is, in fact, a frontend for emerge. We do not intend to rewrite or somehow remaster this excellent package manager, as it does its job nicely whenever it calculates dependent packages and installs software. What we do want is to bring a fully-featured Gentoo to mainstream PC users.

Let me remind you that calculate-assemble has always featured update functions. For convenience reasons, these will constitute a distinct package from now on.

Updating Portage in Calculate Linux

Calculate Update 3.2 is supposed to be part of CL 14 and thus adapted to it. Calculate should become fork-oriented: advanced users will be encouraged to promote the OS by creating their versions, targeted at their specific needs, and distribute them freely. To make the whole experience easier, all distribution profiles will be stored in a separate overlay named Distros. The latter will be used together with the Calculate overlay, home for main profile settings, variables and most templates. The repository storing Portage will be updated two or three times a day by crontab.

A distribution profile describes the revision versions that apply to the Portage tree and the Calculate overlay, so that untested Portage would not install before the devs check the dependencies and submit the binaries. Calculate Update updates your system to the latest revision only. However, you can always switch to regular updates on your presetted profile, should the maintainer of your distribution stop supporting their project.

Some more advantages of Calculate Update

Unfortunately, Portage does not support localization. Yet the output of emerge can be translated by replacement, and Calculate Update will be able to do it. This seems particularly important for error messages such as messages on various package blocks.

Our GUI client uses certificates. It means that typically you don’t need the root password any time you wish to update your system, but note that the server administrator can restrict your permissions.

All Calculate Utilities being client-server tools, Calculate Update can be launched on distant hosts as well.

Test Calculate Linux 14 before it is released

We believe that releasing Calculate Linux 14 while it’s still being tested makes no sense, knowing that profiles and revisions allow us to reconfigure the system as much as we see fit before we’re happy with it.

Shortly we will post instructions on how to switch to the testing Calculate Linux 14, then a testing Stage build will be made available.

The site

We were dismayed indeed to hear that our last web developer left us. Everyone wanted to launch the new CL site immediately, but now it is postponed…

Postponed, not abandoned!