We’re Still Alive!

That’s right folks! Development is still on-going here at Drauger OS Development, and we have work to show for it.

system-installer

system-installer is still being worked on. The latest ISO on our website currently has a bug which prevents installation on BIOS systems as partitioning doesn’t work. I am working to resolve this issue.

In other news, I have completely re-written the back-end for installation reporting in system-installer. It’s now based off rsync, and uses other technologies in order to keep the transfer of data to our server secure. I won’t go into the details of how it works here, beyond there being a randomly generated key that must be used in order to upload to the server, along with other forms of server-side validation. I haven’t managed to get this new system working both securely and reliably yet (currently it’s one or the other), but I am doing testing in order to improve this situation.

In the future, I plan to add support for things such as creating RAID arrays in system-installer using btrfs. This will be the next feature added once installation reporting, and the auto partitioner have both been fixed.

Speaking of the auto partitioner, it has been rewritten to Python! This rewrite allowed me to fix some bugs, while also making it more intelligent.

More intelligent? How?

The auto partitioner in system-installer can now detect if a pre-made home directory is on the same drive as the one system-installer was told to install to. It will then size the ROOT and EFI partitions so that they are as big as the need to be, and place them so they don’t overlap or overwrite the pre-existing HOME partition.

Doing this required a lot of complex code. We’re still working out some new bugs, but preliminary results are promising.

GCDE

Some of you may have heard about this. GCDE (short for Game Console Desktop Environment, or GTK+ Console Desktop Environment) is a desktop environment aimed squarely at making gaming on Linux easier, and more like a game console, without losing the configurability and modularity that Linux is so beloved for. Once it reaches its stable release, it will be using GTK 4, and may leverage parts of the Xfce desktop to help functionality while keeping the code-base small.

Currently, GCDE is in VERY EARLY alpha stages. Most planned functionality is not yet available, there is a memory leak, it doesn’t properly honor GTK or icon themes, and more.

But why bother making another desktop environment???

Easy. Cause we have ANOTHER project that would benefit GREATLY from this. That’s right:

Vetala, the Drauger OS Game Console

We’re looking at potentially making our own game console. Here’s some details I can share so far:

  • Vetala comes from Hindu mythology, and is a revenant (someone who has returned, especially from the dead).
  • Vetalas are comparable to vampires, from western mythology
  • You can learn more about them at this Wikipedia article.
  • Vetala will be running AT LEAST Drauger OS 7.6, the next version of Drauger OS.
  • There will be 3 versions of Vetala:
  • Vetala L:
    • Lower-end hardware
    • sub-$600 USD price tag
  • Vetala B (or Plus, haven’t figured this name out yet.):
    • Mid-range hardware
    • sub-$800 USD price tag
  • Vetala X:
    • Mid-to-High end hardware
    • sub-$1000 USD price tag
  • Vetala will have a dedicated graphics card, Wi-Fi, and use off-the-shelf PC components, in order to make upgrades possible.
  • Vetala will use CPUs with the same CPU and core architecture across all versions, so game devs can compile for more specific hardware, improving performance and efficiency.
  • Vetala will have an all-ABS plastic body
  • CAD files for the enclosure will be made available, for free, whether Vetala ends up coming to market or not
  • The idea behind this is two fold:
    • If you like the way Vetala looks, but don’t like the hardware, you can build your own PC in a Vetala enclosure.
    • If you buy a Vetala console and break the enclosure somehow, you can 3D print a replacement part.
  • There may be changes to things like the kernel in order to improve performance and ensure users get the most disk space for their games as possible.

We’re still working on the case design, as well as what hardware Vetala will ship with. Ideally, I would like to be able to make this console collaboratively, and open-source as much of it as possible. And I intend to do this if we get enough positive feedback on these ideas, and get something a little more fleshed out as far as hardware and design. For now, we’re mostly testing the waters to see if the the community likes this idea or not.

Drauger OS on ARM postponed indefinitely.

As some of you may be aware, we have been working on a version of Drauger OS for ARM-based computers for a while now. Effective immediately, development on Drauger OS on ARM is being postponed indefinitely. We want to bring Drauger OS to ARM-based devices. But, with the ARM computing segment growing at a rate slower than what we anticipated, we see no need to create an ARM version of Drauger OS just yet.

Furthermore, this process essentially involves developing 2 different operating systems. Just 1 takes up a lot of time and effort. And while the second would be able to largely piggy back on first, it wouldn’t be able to share enough of the work to justify the amount of effort being put in.

If someone would like to develop a version of Drauger OS for ARM, provided they get in contact with us, maintain that channel of communication, support it in regards to helping users troubleshoot, and ensure all new code is open-source, we will gladly support this version of Drauger OS, provide apt repository access for any new packages, and hosting for the IMG/ISO files.

Wait, doesn’t that contradict Vetala? Developing a game console is a lot of work…

You’re right! Developing a game console IS a lot of work. However, Vetala is intentionally going very slowly. This is a new venture for us. We want to make sure that we do this right, from the ground up. So, at any given time, Vetala is actually taking less effort than Drauger OS on ARM, especially since there is no set deadline to finish Vetala.

Conclusion

With Drauger OS on ARM postponed, we hope that with development on Drauger OS 7.6 gearing up in June/July 2021, for an August/September 2022 stable release date at latest, we can give the same growth in polish that we did with Drauger OS 7.5.1. We only have a small handful of contributors, so if you want to get involved, feel free to ask on our Discord Server or Telegram Group for Developers what we need help with! We need help with everything from documentation to programming to writing translations.

Look forward to our next release! It’s gonna be a great one!