[Live-demo] Rethinking osgeo-live

Barry Rowlingson barry.rowlingson at gmail.com
Wed Oct 24 15:08:24 PDT 2012

I've not really thought this through, but I'll put it out there for

Would the effort spent on creating the osgeo-live disc be better spent
creating a 'portable' set of compiled applications, for Linux, Mac,
and Windows platforms?

The advantage would be that a user wanting to try something out would
just copy the bits they wanted to their PC, and use their existing
operating system. An installer would just copy what the user wanted
and handle dependencies (much like osgeo4w, but multi-platform).

It would also be more likely to be usable on machines with a
locked-down boot sequence. Our central IT people supply desktops with
passworded BIOS settings and HD-before-DVD boot sequence. They also
physically lock the cases. Killjoys.

There would also be no need for admin privileges - something that
blights system package management systems like apt and rpm.

Is it also true that in the very near future PCs will have some kind
of trusted boot system? So that alternate operating systems would
require signing (or I read something about a signed mini-bootloader
being developed to possibly get round this...). Will that effect live
DVD boots? That could be a pain...

The disadvantages:

 Loss of total control - we wouldn't know exactly what OS the programs
were going onto, so documentation might look wrong.

 Binary compatibility - how can you ensure your binaries work with
assorted Linux versions? That might be the show-stopper here, although
I'm pretty sure I've recently installed Linux software from
one-size-fits-all binaries. Would the only compatibility be to do with
libc and the kernel? I envisage practically everything being on there,
including things like the Qt library and a JVM.

 There would be a need to re-tool all the osgeo-live development
chain, and write an installer.

 There would be three versions - Linux, Windows, Mac (or four if
anyone wants to compile for OpenSolaris...)

I just think there's greater longevity and value in the distribution
of a collection of ready-to-run, run-anywhere packages than a live
boot disk these days.



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