Announcement: BBC project fork

Seth David Schoen
Tue, 8 May 2001 23:18:38 -0700

(You are receiving this message because you are associated in some way
with the Linuxcare Bootable Business Card, including subscribing to a
related mailing list or having an acknowledgment in the CREDITS-README
file.  There are other people who should receive this announcement too,
but I don't have e-mail addresses for all of them.)

Please send follow-ups directly to me, unless they are important for
all recipients of this message to receive.

Hi everyone,

Effective immediately, I am forking the Linuxcare Bootable Business Card
project to create a new free software project.  I have offered the
three original developers of the Bootable Business Card -- myself,
Duncan MacKinnon, and Tom Crimi -- the opportunity to be co-maintainers.
Everyone with a recognized contribution to the development of the
Linuxcare BBC (including, but not limited to, an acknowledgment in the
CREDITS-README file of a previously released version) is welcome to
apply to be a co-maintainer or to assume responsibility for some aspect
of development.

Of course, we also welcome new volunteer developers and patches and
suggestions from the user community.

Name of the new project

If Duncan agrees, the new project will be called "LNX BBC" and will
have its home page at his domain "".  I have already
created a public mailing list for this project (see below).  You're
invited to subscribe to this mailing list.

When the web page is ready, I'll make an announcement here, on
LinuxToday, c.o.l.a, Linux Weekly News, slashdot, and anywhere else
that seems appropriate.

The new project will be distributed as a whole under the terms of the
GNU General Public License, just like the original project.  Individual
software components will continue to be distributed in accordance with
their respective licenses.  I will eventually try to clarify some
legal questions about derivative works and compilation copyrights, but
these should only be legal technicalities and are not intended to affect
anyone's right to distribute or modify the LNX BBC.

Development goals

The first order of business will be to complete the 1.6 source code
release, which will be made available to everyone.  We will provide
this to Linuxcare so that it can be made available on the Linuxcare
open-projects web site alongside the 1.6 ISO image.

Next, we will release the BBC kit, a convenient collection of software
to make modifying the BBC straightforward.  We'll reduce the guesswork
and experimentation associated with making changes to the BBC by
providing sample scripts which handle all the BBC extracting and
building steps.  We'll also try to include more detailed documentation
about how everything works.

We will probably make a minor release called 1.618 or 1.7, which will
include minor software improvements and bugfixes, as well as some
experiments related to the boot process.  This version should also
include support for downloading software modules from the Internet.
If the version is called 1.618, it will have very high quality
standards, as the final release in the BBC 1.x series; that version
would be the Golden BBC and everything included therein ought to be in
perfect proportion.

Here I begin to speculate:

Version 2.0 will include Linux 2.4, glibc 2.2, XFree86 4, Large File
Summit support, and significant changes to the boot process to improve
its flexibility and efficiency.  We'll also try to use a ramfs as the
root filesystem instead of a ramdisk (improving memory efficiency and
eliminating the arbitrary cap on how much can be stored in a ramdisk).
We'll take a close look at the compression scheme and see whether cloop
can be further optimized or replaced.  We will expand downloadable
software package support.  We'll try to put the Debian installer back
in (updated to install a more recent version of Debian) and create a
collection of distribution installers adapted to run from RAM disk.
(If this is successful, then on a machine with enough RAM -- perhaps a
minimum of 48 MB -- it will be possible to install the distribution of
your choice onto a hard drive by booting a single CD and allowing it to
download the appropriate installer from the Internet.)

We'll do more experiments with network booting.

Relation to Linuxcare BBC

I don't know whether Linuxcare is going to continue to develop new
versions of the existing Linuxcare BBC project.  If they do, I'll be
happy to attempt technical co-ordination with the maintainers there.
In addition, we will acknowledge Linuxcare's support, copyrights,
trademarks, and licensing prominently in our web pages and on our BBC
itself.  We will remove Linuxcare's logos from our BBC and adopt an
appropriate policy to avoid any confusing use of Linuxcare's trademarks.

Linuxcare, like anyone else, will be welcome to print and distribute
copies of our BBC, as well as to adapt it for any purpose.  We will
expect any publisher of BBCs based on our work to acknowledge the
copyrights and trademarks of our contributors.  (I believe that "BBC"
and "LNX BBC" are not trademarks in relevant fields; I would welcome
input on this.)

New project mailing list

There is a new mailing list for discussion about this project.  The
list is lnx-bbc at  You can subscribe using the web form

LinuxWorld talk

I have had a proposal for a presentation related to the BBC accepted
for LinuxWorld Conference and Expo here in San Francisco in August.
I still intend to give this talk, and I'm inviting Duncan MacKinnon to
join in.  The talk will include discussion of development work on the
new project in between now and August.  Here's the information:

* A 75-minute session (C26), in the LinuxWorld Conference, taking
  place on Tuesday, August 28th from 3:30pm-4:45pm, entitled "Bootable
  Rescue, Demo and Application CDs" in the System Administration Track.

Interim web page

You can find my personal BBC home page at

and I'll post updates there for the time being.


Thanks to Linuxcare for originating and supporting the original
Linuxcare Bootable Business Card through many versions, and for
distributing so many free copies.

For inquiries about the Linuxcare Bootable Business Card, including
distribution to LUGs, please write to <>.

Thanks to all the users of Linuxcare BBC versions for your support and
encouragement for that project, and, I hope, for this one.

Seth David Schoen <>  | And do not say, I will study when I
Temp.  | have leisure; for perhaps you will
down:   (CAF)  | not have leisure.  -- Pirke Avot 2:5