Once again it is December 1st, 6 years since the night when an idea sparked between two of my friends and I in a middle school dormitory - to make something of our own, something we could be proud of. It started as a “designed in China, and for China” Linux distribution project based on openSUSE: AnthonOS（安同 OS）. Six years since that night our project still stands, bearing the name of AOSC OS - a Linux distribution which targets general usage (your desktop, server, laptop, tablets, etc.), and a strong emphasis on multilingual support and community interaction.
Six years we have stood mostly in silence (well before I elaborate on a hype, partly due to our inability to self-advertise, giggles) - though our existence, much like an old Chinese poem, we come down like rains riding the winds of spring, “Silent and soft, it moistens everything”. Our contributors, as passionate as they have been to projects of our community, contributions are made to upstream projects either on behalf of the community or on individual basis. Icenowy Zheng is now a long term contributor to the mainlining effort for Allwinner-based ARM devices; Zixing Liu, and many others (me included) continue to provide Simplified Chinese translation enhancements to projects like MATE Desktop, GNOME, and WineHQ; along with multitudes of loose patches to over 50 projects as we push on with the development of AOSC OS. Our year since December of 2016 has been mostly normal, as we continued to embrace the upstream projects which made our work towards AOSC OS possible.
That said, it doesn’t mean that we have kept to the old occupations and standards for another year. In our 6th year, we have pushed heavily on the standardisation of our development routines, and a harder push towards quality assurance. The introduction of Ciel and ACID marked the first step toward reproducible builds and continuous integration - while Ciel provides a tool to initialise, update, and rollback environments, ACID invokes Ciel to continuously create these build environments to build every single one of the packages available, and to find all those which failed to build or those in violation of a set of quality assurance requirements defined in Autobuild3 - our package building toolkit since 2014.
Along with that, with help from Dingyuan Wang and Zero King who helped to provide integration of AOSC OS’ package catalogue with Repology, so that we could better track our updates - and to reference with other distributions, regarding their build configuration, and in some cases, fixes needed to complete a build, or to produce a working package.
Community interaction has also seen improvements, introduction of new types of requests,
optreq (Optimisation Request),
updreq (Update Request), upon the original
pakreq (Package Request) - users of AOSC OS could now shape the distribution they came to love with suggestions and requests, and we, as packagers/developers, could build AOSC OS to their needs and wishes.
Looking forward, the 7th year presents quite some challenges for our fellow contributors. Since the introduction of monthly update cycles, we have been able to establish a dual-track system of feature-based updates and security/bug-fix updates - however, we have not been able to release monthly wave on time as often as we wished. In addition, our architecture ports (ARM, MIPS, PowerPC alike) had struggled to go in sync with AMD64 since the introduction of this monthly update pattern due to lack of computing power. We will, in the coming year, continue to find the solutions to the issue - as corporate as this sounds, we have yet to have the opportunity to look deeper into this issue.
There are issues we are looking to fix before the end of 2017 though. For example, our system releases have not been updated since February, but we plan on releasing a new wave of system releases later in December - after November’s updates are ready (they will come in the first half of December), and that updates are synced among our architectures - unlikely for MIPS 32/64 bits, unfortunately.
With all that in mind, I wish all my friends of the community a happy anniversary - don’t overwork yourselves (says man sitting in front his Playstation while writing his post)!
— Mingcong Bai
We are happy to announce that our October Wave of updates is now ready for AMD64 users of AOSC OS! We are late for this wave due to the quantity of updates, which are applied to over 500 packages provided for AOSC OS - that is ~20% of all packages available.
Anyways, let’s kick this announcement off with a new wallpaper made available to all AOSC OS users, as part of the default collection of wallpapers.
This wallpaper is made by Tianhao Chai - our resident Wine, NVIDIA, Linux Kernel package maintainer, and Blender enthusiast. This wallpaper is rendered with no other software than Blender, took almost two days to render on his own desktop computer (LOL). Blender project file for this wallpaper is available here, if you would like to make any changes/improvements to this wallpaper, or simply to warm up your room in the coming winter!
Now, to some of the major updates made available in this wave of updates…
Released earlier in September, is now packaged and tested for users of AOSC OS.
GNOME 3.26 contains a large amount of changes made to further polish user experience. For example, the newly designed GNOME Control Center provides a pane-based layout which eases navigation, as opposed to the old icon-and-page-based design.
HiDPI support also sees great improvement, the feature to set DPI scaling on a “fraction scale”, instead of jumping from 1x to 2x, etc. This should offer better flexibility for 2K/3K/4K/… owners.
With the last months spent on “special” operations like ACID, our KDE/Plasma desktop stack was left outdated, with the October wave of updates, users of KDE/Plasma Desktop could enjoy the newest and (hopefully) greatest on offer by the KDE Community…
This section is dedicated to show our gratitude to Zero King, our new friend and collegue in the AOSC OS development effort. With great knowledge and diligent focus on security updates and announcements, Zero King reported security issues and offered update/patching advices to our ABBS Tree and Core Tree on a near-daily basis.
Since his involvement with AOSC OS development, over 100 security advisories was announced in our security mailing list - virtually matching the total amount of advisories announced in 2016! If you haven’t subscribed to that mailling list yet, please do so here to keep yourselves informed with latest security updates made available to AOSC OS, and other security-related suggestions to better protect your privacy and data safety.
However, some updates are delayed due to the lack of time with our developers who work on a volunteer basis, making time out of their own busy lives and academic/work occupations…
Due to the lack of man power and device resources, in combination with the problematic implementation of MIPS ISA found in Loongson/Godson processors - our main maintainer of MIPS 32/64-bit ports, Junde Yhi finds it increasingly difficult to maintain these ports, letting alone keeping up with the large amount of updates.
Therefore, he has proposed to reboot the MIPS 64-bit port with better adaptation to Loongson/Godson platforms - which realistically, are the only personally purchasable devices by our community members and developers. In addition, the MIPS-II port, targetting legacy MIPS 32-bit devices like the YeeLoong 8089D, is also under consideration to be dropped.
For more details on the ongoing discussion, please refer to here.
We would like to dedicate this news post to our new mirror sponsor KoDDoS - a hosting service with a strong focus on anti-DDoS and other cyber attacks. With the new mirror, we have got another mirror in Netherland, serving regions of Europe and the Americas.
Again, our sincere gratitude to KoDDoS for generously providing a mirror for our repository and downloads!
Due to recent flooding of messages from various @qq.com (bots?) to our “discussions” list, we have currently taken emergency - and temporary - measure against all posts from @qq.com e-mail addresses.
If you own such e-mail account and wish to post on our mailing lists, we do apologise for your inconvenience. Please, for now, switch to another e-mail account - or create one elsewhere - for posting on our lists.
We will keep you updated if we are ready with a more scientific and appropriate solution.
We are happy to report that the August-September Wave of updates are now made available for AMD64 users of AOSC OS - along with AOSC OS Core 5 component updates, eMMC is here!
First of all, let’s take a glance at the August-September Wave.
The majority of our work in these two months has been focused upon fixing broken packages (build-time) by ACID, an idea brought up by Lion Yang to spawn “clean”, BuildKit containers and perform a coverage testing with our ABBS tree - putting Ciel to use.
As a result, hundreds of packages - old and new - were marked as broken. ~99% of them has been fixed now. Apart from the effects of fixing these tatty packages (that they should work better than before with less bugs), is the inspiration for us to further enhance the quality assurance modules and error handling of Autobuild3 - our automatic packaging toolkit.
As noted from Mingcong Bai’s last update, we have failed to sync up package updates for our non-AMD64 AOSC OS ports: PowerPC 32/64-bit Big Endian, ARMv7, AArch64, and MIPS 32/64-bit. However…
testingrepositories (except MIPS 32/64-bit)
bugfixupdates are made available (thus no security concerns as of yet).
We will continue to work on catching up with these ports.
Now, onto the exciting stuff, Core 5 “eMMC” is now made available to AOSC OS users as…
As how major (+1.0) Core updates go for AOSC OS, Core 5 includes more extensive updates over the Core 4 series - of course, from the GNU C Library at the bottom, to your GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) - are all updated to the newest versions.
Though no new architectural port is brought to the table for this year, we have worked on improving, and fixing up system application and development experiences.
For example, our compiler/linker hardening spec files were included within Autobuild3 - while some packages, like Python and Qt, records build-time compiler/linker flags, which references to the spec file included within Autobuild3’s installation directory - making developments using tools provided by these packages practically impossible without installing Autobuild3, which is absurd. In Core 5, we have moved these files to the
gcc package, working around this potential issue.
AArch64 should also be able to run applications more reliably with latest fixes in GCC and Binutils - a lot of applications that used to exit with a Segmentation Fault should work properly now. Though by our observation this should be a gradual process.
As one of the major changes to be brought by Core 5, we are introducing the Overlays system to AMD64 users in the coming month or two.
The Overlays system provides binary packages optimised for newer processors - and in AMD64’s case, processors with AVX2 instruction set support - to squeeze out extra performance potentially obtainable by enabling new instructional optimisation flags. For example, instruction-aware packages like GNU C Library, FFmpeg, Mesa, etc. should see observable performance gain than packages built with our standard compilation configurations - for example, all AMD64 packages are built with instruction set support up to SSE3.
Changes were required for Autobuild3 and
apt-gen-list to make it work smoothly for our developers and users, respectively. Autobuild3 now includes “sub-architectural” support, for example, setting
amd64/haswell+ will enable configurations to build packages for the Haswell+ (AVX2) Overlay, while generating packages for the
amd64 architecture in general.
Then, the new implementation of
apt-gen-list detects processor capability when generating APT repository configurations so that, say, users with their computer running Intel’s 5th generation Core processors, when running
apt-gen-list -e "40-source", should result in an APT configuration using the source repository with the
haswell+ Overlay repository automatically enabled - so that they could take advantage of their processors newer instruction sets, thus higher application performance.
October will be a good time to make up package updates left behind in the past two months due to our focus on ACID. Major desktop updates like GNOME 3.26, KDE Applications 16.08 will roll out by the end of October - along with many more applications and component updates to improve your experience with AOSC OS. What’s more…
Brutally simplified rolling Linux distribution.
Install AOSC OS on your Windows machine.
Localization improvements made by the community.
A catalog of packages available for AOSC OS.
Our community repository server, where AOSC OS installation medias, tarballs, packages, project documentation, etc. are stored.
Take a look at current mirror synchronization and availability information.
Community mailing lists for discussions, advisories, and announcements.
Get in touch with the community.
Learn about newest news and happenings in and around AOSC.
Our WebMail service for AOSC developers and contributors.
Our public clipboard service (or pastebin) that you can use for all your clippy needs.