Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Today is the last day of November. The Holiday Season kicks off a busy time for me and my family as I am sure it does for everyone. For the last week I have spent time with friends and family and maybe a few hours messing with Unity Linux. That doesn’t mean however I that there is no big news to share.

Last week OnlyHuman and I were able to get Enlightenment 19 up and running on Unity Linux. This marks the first desktop environment to run on Unity Linux as an official Linux distribution in years. It also marks a huge milestone. At this point in development Unity Linux as what it is today is moving from a proof of concept, which might work. To coming back as an actual Linux Distribution.

The Enlightenment branch will be the first Desktop Branch for Unity Linux. With LXQt most likely to follow. However in that time period between now and official branch releases a lot has to change and be redone.
When Unity Linux (code name Phoenix) is released it will be released as a CLI based Distribution. CLI meaning command line interface.. no graphical interface. On the CLI based livecd will be an easy way to install, a method to install packages needed for Xorg (maybe even Wayland), and tools needed to remaster once the install is to ones liking.

Not long after Phoenix is released. Using the same method and tools that are on Unity Phoenix two branches will be made and released. I am not sure what the official name of the Enlightenment 19 branch will be but it will be released and the LXQt branch which will also be released soon after will revive the Synergy Linux Distribution.

So that is where we are going. If you don’t want to get to technical in how we are getting there you can stop reading now. However, there are quite a few steps that need to be taken in my mind to get us from where we are now, to something release worthy.

Out of the gate comes a very big question. Why RPM5? I have been asked this a lot and I had various answers. The RPM5 community is small and though at times some might argue can be hard to work with for a while they seemed to have the most activity and a great feature set for developers. For example automatic retrieval of source packages when building spec files with rpmbuild. There were various advantages to using RPM5 in 2010 when Unity Linux first started and it was my attempt to hang on to it. However, I have been following the few distributions that have been using RPM5 for quite some time namely PLD and Open Mandriva. There have been talks about both distributions moving from RPM5 and the reason for these talks has been the number of patches that have been needed to fix issues in RPM5. The lead RPM5 developer will argue that some of these patches have not been submitted upstream however on the mailing lists you can find a few have, and have not been included. For various reasons, albeit maybe even good reasons, needless to say they address issues Unity Linux would have to address at some point as well. OpenMandriva has 300+ patches. Granted many are for urpmi computability and various distro specific tweaks, but many are not. PLD is closer to us then OpenMandriva and they maintain over 100 patches for RPM5. Compare that to Fedora who for RPM 4 or rather maintains 20, some of which are Fedora specific. Mageia has 7 non up streamed, Mageia specific patches. A goal I have for Unity Linux is easy maintainability, having a core package that requires hundreds of patches does not fall into that goal. There’s certain development features one such I mentioned above that I can script around, however multiple features and fixes like memory leaks, I cannot script around with RPM5.
Going further into technical details, thanks to some help from Neal (uses multiple names on IRC) the crew over at have been very much receptive to MUSL based changes and patches going into (RPM4). That can be seen in git with version 4.14 of RPM having support for MUSL. Also major work by Neal and MUSL members on IRC has gone into getting libsolv to work. Libsolv is a core lib needed for DNF. Using RPM4, DNF, and company gives Unity Linux a relatable and much easier upgrade chain and a community at large to lean on despite having a non GNU Toolchain.

So a massive rebuild is underway. RPM4 has already been added to the repos and a few test packages have been built using it. More tweaks need to be done to scripts and spec files will need to be updated. I have allowed the macros to also be stricter in a sense as well.

Going even further multi arch support is being worked on as well with the major change, in hopes we will also be releasing a 32 bit version as well. I struggled with even doing a 32bit version, however my EeePCs keep staring me down and for some reason I have a soft spot in my heart for them. So if you made it this far in your reading.. Long story short there’s a lot of work to do. Things are getting hammered out. If you’re involved with us this early in the game thank you for your patience. I’ll save the init information for another post, still need to do some more research on nosh. Hope you all have a wonderful Holiday!

Kind Regards

Our Status going into November


Its been a fairly productive month of October. We finally have Xorg working with twm. You can download a mini iso and test it simply by logging in as root and running setup-xorg-base. You will have a black desktop and if you left click on it a menu will appear with the option to manipulate the windows, exit back to the terminal, or run the only application installed called mrxvt. Mrxvt is a tabbed terminal for X so nothing special there.

There has been a new folder in git created called graphical. It's a little misleading as none of the programs are really graphical, but they are being kept separate from the base packages as they are needed to run a graphical environment, but not necessarily needed to run the base command line Unity.

In actuality a majority of the core or base of Unity Linux has been packaged. Unity proper will be a command line based release. It will not include Xorg or Window environment by default. What it will include will be easy setup tools and scripts to get from command line to a graphical (Xorg, Wayland even frame buffer) remaster or even branch.

A branch is a Unity community member or members that create not just a remaster, but using Unity as a base, a seperate version of Unity contributing back packages into a contributions repository for review.

So what am I still doing packaging and not bug fixing? When Unity CLI gets released there will be two graphical releases that will be announced. One will be the reintroduction of Synergy Linux as a LxQT based distribution. The other will be a graphical version based on Enlightenment that I will be helping with.

Unity Linux now has a mirror site set up as well at, we are also hosting out test isos, and rpms on there as well.It's synced more then once dailing as some of or other mirrors are only synced once a day.

Until the next update or news posting stay safe!

Kind regards


Monthly update - Wayland/Weston

Hello all,
            Just wanted to give you an update of the current status of things.

As you may already know we have a working base. We are using MUSL-Libc, YUM, RPM5, and OpenRC. These things separate us from the fold. For the most part they are all working together. I get a memory leak message from RPM5 from time to time and there's various other bugs, but for the most part it works.

Last week we were releasing Test ISOs. I was able to create a LiveCD init system based off my previous work and was able to get things to boot and run. I even did some work on porting over some CLI based setup scripts from Alpine Linux and got things to install after some configuration tweaks. My first Test ISOs had EVERY package on them. So if someone wanted to build, or fix something they saw wrong they could. I then released a smaller 90M release with just some core packages.

I then went on to work on getting some mirrors and setting up a mirmon page and trying to do such in the cleanest way possible for OpenMandriva. I am not sure how well it turned out, but they now have their own folder on iBiblio and we have ours.

The last few days I have been working on Xorg & Wayland/Weston packages. Wayland and Weston have come first for the simple fact they are easier to pull in and can be compiled to run with minimal (or no) Xorg dependencies. I wanted to play with Wayland and see if I could get some type of graphical interface up and running. Rather large strides have gone into getting the Big Desktop Environments to work with Wayland. Gnome 3.18 is said to work really well and KDE/Plasma 5.4 is said to have some support (though limited to one platform?) with Wayland. There's other environments that are embracing Wayland, Hawaii Desktop is an interesting one, Moonlight, and the most interesting Enlightenment 20. So my investment in getting familiar with Wayland and maybe getting something to work, I don't feel will be wasted.

In the next few days I am going to move further into improving our makelive script (mklivecd esq script) and build some more all package ISOs, so I can play with the changes the new packages have brought and see if I can get anything graphical going. If I do get something graphical going, as minmal as it might be, I will most likely create a lighter ISO to play with.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me. On IRC or Our Google Groups Page

Kind regards

JMiahMan (JMiahMan [at]

Retraction for last post..

I am posting a retraction for the last post.. pretty much ignore everything it said about setting up a network interface and just do a:


Thanks.. that is all..

Are you a Network Manager?

Someone reminded me of this so I decided to post it. If you're one of the many few (haha) who are trying out the ISO I would like to point out this is a developer release. If you're not a developer by all means feel free to download and try it.. I'm not a RTFM type of guy, but I just want to save you the frustration up front of everything being done for you.. like Network Management.

For now I don't have a Network Manager included. Something that will detect your network interface bring it up and grab an IP.. you have to be the Network Manager.. Yes you.. go look in the mirror and say "I am the network manager". If all went well on boot and your network card was found to have a driver.. it should be loaded so now do this Mr. (or Mrs.) Network Manager in the command line:

ifconfig eth0 up

now press enter and do a:


you should see information now for eth0 (yay!). However there's no IP.. Sad.. let's get one by doing

udhcpc eth0

and now eth0 should be assigned whatever IP your network gave it. At this point you can do any number of things with wget.. and maybe install the one package that isn't already installed.. and that's really it for now, but hey it works (or should)! If you have any questions check out the IRC link. Thanks

A Storm is a brewin'

I alluded to this post in the last post... 

Things are progressing (I'm a broken record with this statment), I have changed some init and boot settings to reflect our true boot opions. So any any ISO releases before 44 (I think) will be more complex in these areas then they need to be.  There's now a very short string (4) of currently used boot options when you press "TAB" on the boot menu.

The one to really pay attention to is ramdisk_size=. This defines the size of the ramdisk for the livecd/usb session. Some machines have quite a bit of ram so you can make your ram disk quite large and still have a decent amount left over for actual ram use and not disk use. I think 512M is a happy middle ground. If you're like me though and still have a few machines laying around with 512M or less you may want to bring that ram disk down to 256000 (or loosely 256M). So basically this option allows you to tweak the ramdisk size as a measn to get the best performance for a particular system running live.

Long time no news, but there was work..

Maybe I need to update this more often.. maybe I don't. I don't know of to many people that are reading this or that might really even care about this little pet project, but it's here and it's moving forward. 

Yesterday I was able to get a bootable ISO up and running, at least on VirtualBox and Qemu. The live init script and makelive script, are based off my previous work on Synergy when I repackaged most of Fedora 16 and ported over the Chakra installer. That was a long time ago. So there has been quite a few tweaks that have had to happen to get things going. I thought the inclusion of overlayfs into Kernel 3.18 was going to make my life easier as I could drop specialized kernel builds for aufs. If you don't know what I am talking about then I will try and make it simple, overlayfs, aufs also unionfs allow you to create a writable ram disk and merge or overlay that with something that is not writable, ie. a mounted squashfs image to make the system writable (at least to ram). It was once said overlay file systems had no place in the kernel, though soon after they did include one but the better aufs (in my opinion) was left out. Enter 3.18 and a more advanced system call overlayfs is included. It's a litte conveluted and been a bit tricky for me to figure out, but it seems I have gotten it to work, though I will most likey do some more tweaking.

At this point in time the LiveISO is still somewhat crippled, as CA-Certs are broken and various things are missing. However, every development package (every package for that matter) Unity has is included on the ISO. You can build rpms on it if you so wish and know how to set the ram size in the boot params (more on that in a later post). You can also bring up the network (tested on a VM with e1000 module).

This ISO, though not impressive marks the ground work for a working MUSL Based RPM Distribution that is using YUM. I don't think one such distribution exists and we might be the first. That's pretty neat to me.

Find the ISO (though very much unfinished) Here: 


Just wanted to give a quick update unless you haven't been watching Unity-Linux on github we now have over 110 x86_64 packages that have been built. I have about 20-30 more to build before I can incorporate my plans for a package manager and see if the particular one I have in mind will work with rpm5, that might be a task in itself. I'm keeping mum about it until I know it will work, but unlike dnf the text based frontend won't depend on SystemD. When I get it working there will be a full story on it. I would also like to build eudev and maybe even dracut. A few days ago I finished off mkisofs so I am tempted to build an ISO, but my goal is to have a package manager, dracut, eudev and createrepo provided. In the mean time I am pulling in a ton of dependencies including X11 libs and protos. This is mildly frustrating, because there's a lot and it's tedious, but in the long run it's less I have to do when it comes time to build Xorg. My goal is to keep Unity-Linux proper under 300 packages. Crazy you may say, because everyone one will want to run xyz.. My goal for Unity-Linux is to have it be a stable, flexible and small base, not a desktop distribution, however it can and will provide the base for Synergy Linux, which will be your standard (as much as a desktop distribution based on musl and rpm5 can be) desktop based distribution. Right now there's a long way to go however, at some point I will need to go multi-lib when I start building for x86, then there's my distant future plans of an Arm port. So we are gettinthere just slowly a chip at a time.

Published on  August 12th, 2015