[Freedesktop-sdk] Freedesktop sdk aka 'tiny base runtime' project

Laurence Urhegyi laurence.urhegyi at codethink.co.uk
Mon Oct 30 18:16:38 UTC 2017

Thiago, see Emmet's earlier response below.

I'll also send Tristan's now.

On 29/10/17 14:15, Emmet Hikory wrote:
> Thiago Macieira <thiago at kde.org>, wrote:
>> On Friday, 27 October 2017 07:45:38 PDT Laurence Urhegyi wrote:
>>> So i wanted to kick off this mailing list by trying to round up a few
>>> things which have been discussed recently, at GUADEC, in f2f
>>> conversations afterwards, or shot over emails between a few people. It's
>>> been discussed for a while that we want to create a tiny base runtime
>>> with bst. The upshot is this will homogenize the metadata used in the
>>> build process for Flatpak, GNOME Continuous and eventually many other
>>> projects too, we hope.
>> Can you give some background on what the problem is in the first 
>> place? What is
>> a tiny base runtime? What is bst? Why was it chosen? Your text talks about
>> replacing Yocto (a well-known, well-established project with 10 years of
>> history) with bst, so you need to justify. Or I misunderstood you.
>      My memory of the justification was the result of raising the idea 
> of using BuildStream (1) to build Flatpaks (2) for FlatHub (3) in a 
> session at the GUADEC 2017 Unconference (4).  As consensus was 
> approached to consider BuildStream for this application, two possible 
> migration blockers were raised, being A) whether BuildStream had been 
> ported to run on a Yocto runtime, and B) whether the current maintainer 
> of the Yocto runtime being used for FlatHub Flatpaks wanted to keep 
> maintaining the Yocto runtime, or update it to include BuildStream 
> dependencies.
>      For A), there were no volunteers to do the porting, although some 
> folk talked about some of the work they had done for other projects to 
> bootstrap systems using LFS (5) techniques with BuildStream.  Given B), 
> discussion quickly moved to whether using a distribution runtime would 
> be suitable: this was fairly quickly determined to be unsustainable, as 
> FlatHub has an explicit policy of distribution neutrality.  At this 
> point, there was a volunteer who offered to construct BuildStream 
> definitions for the base runtime, which offer was generally accepted.
>          My understanding is that this project is not intended to 
> replace Yocto for general application, as Yocto has extensive support 
> tooling to help with many use cases that neither BuildStream nor any 
> bootstrap with BuildStream definitions would cover, but only in the 
> specific cases of building a base for FlatHub Flatpaks and support for 
> GNOME continuous (which has been unable to publish an image for some 
> months, for various reasons, not least a lack of folk actively 
> involved).  While both of these are primarily GNOME-facing uses, I 
> imagine that a low-disk-space low-memory base runtime may also be useful 
> for automated testing and validation of other desktop environments or 
> construction of small chroots for various automation support 
> applications, and so support the idea of hosting with Freedesktop, 
> rather than with GNOME or somewhere else.  I also understand there was a 
> plan to have a companion project within GNOME, that would handle 
> BuildStream definitions for GNOME-specific common dependencies, to 
> ensure that the mooted Freedesktop project would remain desktop neutral, 
> although I’ve heard nothing about this since GUADEC, so it may remain 
> theoretical, or be dependent on this project.
>      For clarity, my memory of the discussions at GUADEC include no 
> clear strategy for wholesale replacement of Yocto, but niche replacement 
> for certain use cases, and in a way that may be useful for similar niche 
> use cases, where a rolling-release model and focus on minimal tooling to 
> build desktop applications is the primary focus, rather than end-user 
> polish, robust platform support, rich developer tooling, or similar.
>> If there have been previous discussions on this subject on other mailing
>> lists, can you point them out?
>      I have not seen any.  I remember the discussion at GUADEC, and have 
> seen some IRC chatter since then, but these are the first real posts 
> I’ve seen on the topic.
> 1: https://buildstream.gitlab.io/buildstream/
> 2: http://flatpak.org/
> 3: https://flathub.org/
> 4: https://wiki.gnome.org/GUADEC/2017/Unconference/FlatpakBOF
> 5: http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/
>> Emmet HIKORY
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