I'm beginning a journey.

It's a journey where I take the Visional Labs part of Aethem much more seriously. In the past week or so I have started out to regain the skills and paper I had in my past, back in the '90s and the turn of the century.

Back in those days, I had lots of good things, A+, CNE, CCNA, a few DBA certs, and my own little version of Linux to toy around with. I couldn't play with the beautiful graphical Internet back then, so I let it fall by the wayside.

I have been loading Debian 11 on just about everything, with the exception of Ubuntu 21.10 that is on this system as I write.

What I have in mind here is not quite one of those systems. As I re-claim my CCNA and go for my CCNP, Network+, and Linux education, I also have to consider that I plan to actually do some of this work in the field to support smaller businesses. Try to give them Fortune 500 level support at a fraction of the cost.

You'd think that with this goal in mind, I'd gravitate to my beloved Debian, but I realize I need a smaller system for console work, which means the processing speed would be about the same as my coding machine. About 8G RAM, drive space under 64G, most likely.

What to do?

the birth of wirix

This distribution needs to be able to operate quickly, handle a lot of different devices at the console level, be able to troubleshoot on a network, and I would prefer to be able to do general troubleshooting on various things other than hardware.

I call this effort wirix. Because I'm Wirehead, and this is my Linux.

Imagemark for wirix, a linux distribution by Aethem Visional Labs

It's based on Linux From Scratch 11, released about a month prior to this writing. I know I'm looking at a tough row to hoe, but it will be easier and more efficient to do it this way than to try and prune a major distribution down to what I want.

I have already selected the base font that I want to use on the system and for all marketing, usage, and branding. Anonymous Pro is my font of choice. It's much easier to read at the command line, and I think Mark Simonson has done an exceptional job with it. Enough where I might try to use it for my own systems.

This is being formed into the other thing I'm working on to get my internet connections sorted out, so it's not really a "hey look, a cat!" kind of thing.

One thing I certainly want and need is documentation at my fingertips. I rely heavily on man and I am making certain to have an instance of tldr on board as well. So my development machine will be set up for a return to the loverly groff and nroff and all of that neat stuff. I plan to simplify things that might be directly limited to the wirix packages and create local grown tldr quick hints as well.

I am concerned with having all of the bash bells and whistles, and scripting along with bc is also on the list for things I need to have. I plan on the primary interface being in zsh, but bash is near and dear as well as historically proven. zsh is simply to invoke speed into the equation, which is part of the point of this distribution in the first place.

Since we are speaking of both documentation and thinness, we are saying that wirix will start in a terminal, and you should in theory be able to do 75% of what you want to do in the command line. However, some networking equipment runs a web-based utility that I have not had a chance yet to test with w3m or lynx. For this, we will most likely have a very thin X setup with i3wm.

For any database needed things we put into this kit, we will use SQLite. That way we are only using the processing power and memory that we actually require for critical operations.

I have also considered how I want to handle patching, updates, and package management. How much of it would I really like to do? How do I want to work with settings and data so that each update does not overwrite the info previously existing?

Much of these will be documentation additions rather than full-on OS updates, and I haven't really considered how often I want to release, but it, for now, might be yearly.

Another consideration is trying to pick packages that do not reply on Python 2, and more fully making the conversion to Python 3. If I'm gonna play with snakes, it's probably a good idea to not play with the one that's gonna be end of life.

That's it for now as I plot and plan and start grabbing my source. Once I have something that works, I'll do a full release and make the repository public.