Welcome to CobberLinux

September 3, 2011 2 comments

Welcome to CobberLinux.

Please take time to read this post plus the links (internal and external) provided to gain a better understanding of the purpose of CobberLinux.

What is CobberLinux (Cobber for short)?

Cobber is a project to create a uniquely Australasian version of Linux. Cobber is based on Debian and uses DebianLive to build a LiveDVD/LiveUSB system including installer.

How much does Cobber cost?

Nothing, it is/will be free and will always remain free if you download it. I intend to provide DVD and/or USB media with Cobber on it and because I am (currently) the only person here I will need to charge for media and postage.

How is Cobber uniquely Australasian?

The intent of Cobber is to provide a Linux system that suits Australian, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinean users without containing unnecessary bloat (e.g. translations that are not required or academically correct for the country/culture such as American English). While this will take time it is hoped that each country/culture group can develop translations that suits the national and cultural languages of the peoples using Cobber. The intention is to produce a LiveDVD and LiveUSB installer with the appropriate localisation settings (e.g. timezone, area, keyboard, languages) already in place allowing users a quick and easy installation.

Cobber is the first Linux distro, feel free to provide proof that I am incorrect if you can, that encourages work translating upstream (see point 2 below). Doing this helps all Linux users not just end users of Cobber. While our aim is to produce a uniquely Australasian Linux we also believe in giving other Linux users the choice to use Australasian translations in their preferred distro.

How can I/you help Cobber achieve its goals?

  1. You can help Cobber achieve its goals by joining the Cobber Community.
  2. You could also join other Linux communities such as Gnome, KDE, MATE, XFCE, and LXDE and help translate these environments into your language. By joining these communities you not only help Cobber but you will help Linux in general. For Australian English translation/localisation I am using the Oxford English Dictionary and the Australian National Dictionary.
  3. If translation isn’t something you feel you can help with there are also visual aspects of Cobber such as artwork, backgrounds and screen savers that are open for enthusiastic people to share their artistic talents with others.
  4. Like any operating system Cobber is always going to encourage people with programming skills to help.
  5. You could test development versions of Cobber and help to iron out any bugs that limit its usability.
  6. Take part in any polls listed so we can develop a system that suits the majorities purpose.

What versions of Cobber will be available?

For the Australian edition there will be 1 major version and various testing versions. It is expected that each countries edition users will name its versions. The Cobber (Australian edition) dists are:

Uluru=Stable
Maralinga=Testing
Canberra=Unstable
Experimental=Experimental (Experimental is not for general use).

This isn’t set in stone, if anyone can give suggestions they will be considered through a community forum.

Cobber Linux Repository Information

Cobber’s repository is being built. I am using reprepro to do this and it is being hosted on sourceforge which has mirrors around the world including 1 in Australia (Adelaide I think). I have also contacted various other hosts and I am waiting for their replies. If anyone knows a host in Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea (even in any of the Pacific Island nations) please let me know.

This post is to help you access Cobber’s repository and when it is up and running, in the next few days, you’ll be able to use Cobber’s repo to “Cobberise” your Debian installs. I have made a FAQ and will add to it as time goes by so if you have any questions that are not already here please ask them and I’ll answer them either in the post, if it belongs in the post, or in a reply below the post.

What is contained in Cobber’s repository?
Cobber’s repository has packages from various other repositories, updated daily if need be, such as MATE Desktop Environment, SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics), Liquorix Kernel, Deb-Multimedia, and of course native Cobber packages. If you know of a repository that would suit Cobber please let me know and I’ll consider it.

Why have you done it this way?
Well sources.lists can get really untidy and unwieldy if there are alot of entries in it. By doing Cobber’s repository this way Cobber users have the normal Debian repositories listed but also just one more which is Cobber.

How is Cobber’s repository setup?
Cobber’s repository is setup with a main, community/main, community/non-free, backports/community/main, backports/community/non-free, archive/community/main (where old packages will be stored for historical purposes), development/community/main (where new untested packages will be placed for people who wish to test development releases). Everything in community and development is upstream and can change from one version to another so watching what you are updating is, as always with any operating system, advisable.

What do I need to do to use Cobber’s repository?
First you need to add the gpg key to your system so it recognises Cobber as friendly. Then you need to add at least one, more depending on what you want, entries to your sources.list
You can do this by opening a terminal (as root) and copy/paste or type this command.

wget -O – -q http://sourceforge.net/projects/cobberlinux/files/cobber/cobber.gpg.key |apt-key add -

Once you have done that add Cobber to your sources.list by copy/pasting or typing this in your sources.list file
deb http://sourceforge.net/projects/cobberlinux/files/cobber/ [dists] main

You will need to change [dists] to suit the version of Cobber (or Debian) you are using, the current versions are stable2013 (uluru2013), testing (maralinga), unstable (canberra), and experimental. So as a minimum your sources.list entry will look something like this
deb http://sourceforge.net/projects/cobberlinux/files/cobber/ stable2013 main

If you want to add community it will look like this
deb http://sourceforge.net/projects/cobberlinux/files/cobber/ [dists] main community/main

If you want to add non-free it will look like this
deb http://sourceforge.net/projects/cobberlinux/files/cobber/ [dists] main community/main community/non-free

If you want more up to date software but still use stable2013 (uluru2013) it will look like this (n.b. backports are sometimes not complete, they are provided for you to use but you do so understanding this fact).

deb http://sourceforge.net/projects/cobberlinux/files/cobber/ stable2013 main community/main community/non-free
deb http://sourceforge.net/projects/cobberlinux/files/cobber/ stable2013 main backports/community/main backports/community/non-free

If you are brave and want to help test development packages (when they are available) it will look like this
deb http://sourceforge.net/projects/cobberlinux/files/cobber/ testing main community/main community/non-free
deb http://sourceforge.net/projects/cobberlinux/files/cobber/ experimental main development/community/main development/community/non-free

or

deb http://sourceforge.net/projects/cobberlinux/files/cobber/ unstable main community/main community/non-free
deb http://sourceforge.net/projects/cobberlinux/files/cobber/ experimental main development/community/main development/community/non-free

What versions of Debian do the Cobber dists correspond with?
Excellent question, Stable2013 (Uluru2013) is based on Debian Wheezy, Testing (Maralinga) is based on Debian Testing (which is currently Jessie), Unstable (Canberra) is based on Debian Unstable (also called Sid) and Experimental is based on Debian Experimental.

When Debian Jessie is released as Debian 8 (Stable) Cobber Uluru will become uluru2015 (if Jessie is released in 2015). Maralinga will always be based on Testing and Canberra will always be based on Sid.

Will Cobber’s repository have all packages available from these other repositories?
From MATE and SIL yes, from Deb-Multimedia and Liquorix no. Do I here you ask why?

Well until MATE is fully eccepted into Debian I feel it is a good idea to mirror the full MATE repository so Cobber users don’t have problems with dependency issues.

I like SIL and believe they have good usuable software so I want to include it in Cobber’s repository.

Deb-Multimedia has a massive amount of software but most of it is already available in Debian so my intent is to only offer packages that are 1. not available in Debian, and 2. actually going to be used more than equivalent Debian packages.

Liquorix is a great kernel so I will be offering that but I’m not sure offering the full Liquorix repo is warranted. It’s a bit like Deb-Multimedia in a way some packages are already in Debian and do a really good job already. I just want simple with no dependency issues and to avoid double ups as much as possible.

I have a University assignment to finish off, by midnight tommorow, so I will let my update script do its work and after my assignment is out of the way I will get back into making iso images of Cobber using MATE and XFCE initially and upload them for downloading. I will make a new announcement when they are ready.

Cobber has a GitHub page.

October 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Hello everyone.

A quick post to let you all know Cobber now has its own GitHub page where development will be based on Cobber specific content.

I have put everything I have so far on it so that others who would like to join in can also work on Cobber and help with their expertise.

So far these are the various aspects of the GitHub repository
http://github.com/k3lt01/Cobber (main entry page)
http://github.com/k3lt01/Cobber/tree/master/CobberBackgrounds (backgrounds for Cobber with various files used in Gnome and MATE desktop environments. More to follow).
http://github.com/k3lt01/Cobber/tree/master/CobberMenu (A menu for Cobber based on the now unmaintained Cardapio).
http://github.com/k3lt01/Cobber/tree/master/Lockdown (A lockdown tool for MATE based on Gnome 2.x Pessulus. This will enable certain parts of MATE to be locked so that they cannot be altered without proper permissions).
http://github.com/k3lt01/Cobber/tree/master/Translation (The page where I will keep the en_AU.pl script for initial translation work. I will remove it from the wordpress page so there is a standard location for it).

As always if anyone want to help in Cobbers development please contact me.

Natural Disasters

October 19, 2013 Leave a comment

This is an “off-topic” post that has no purpose other than to say I hope those who are caught in the disaster that is sweeping through NSW remain safe. Many years ago I used to live near some of the locations that have wild fires surrounding them and had many friends and/or family nearby. My friends have moved on and most of my family have to but the danger is still there for people who live there now.

Australia, New Zealand, PNG, and the Pacific Islands have had a really rough time in the last decade or so. Droughts, floods, fires, earthquakes, Tsunamis, Cyclones, etc. have all left their mark on our fair nations but we do what we always do and get back into things as soon as possible. The never give up attitude is what makes our nations great and what makes us who we are. The way we help each other when we are hit hard is what friends do for each other.

If you are from an affected area (of any natural disaster) and you read this I want you to know the rest of us are thinking of you.

Categories: Off-Topic

Translation of Desktop Environments for Cobber.

October 15, 2013 Leave a comment

If you have read through all the posts so far you will already know that I translate various Desktop Environments into Australian English for use in Cobber. This is a time consuming task and I am fortunate that the Linux ecosystem (well the majority of it) believes in sharing work allowing it to be freely modified. A few years ago I was lucky to be able to start using a script developed by Gnome’s British English translation team. I have modified, with the help of a few people, that script to suit Australian English. Because the ethos of the majority of people, it is my ethos as well, who work on Linux is to share I am posting the script I now use here.

Be very aware this script is a work in progress, as I find things that need attention I add them to the script. As I find various wordlists around the internet I add bits and pieces to the script. I often add things but also comment them out so they are available if and when I am convinced they are relevent and required. I add comments at various sections, mostly to acknowledge the origin of the additions but also to add notes to help others who may want to use the script.

If you choose to use this script please read it first so you are aware of various langauge issues. If my friends (followers) from New Zealand would like to help create a script for en_NZ just contact me and we can start developing a script to localise Linux (not just Cobber) to New Zealand English. If anyone has any suggestion for the script please post them and if they are relevant I will add them and give you the credit next to your suggestion.

Just so you know there is 1 bug in this script that has been in it for as long as I have been using it (back when it was en_GB.pl). That bug sometimes causes the script to not translate the last 2 lines of a *.po(t) file. This doesn’t bother me as I know to check for this but also because each translated file should always be reviewed (checked) after the script has been run anyway.

Anyway, please find en_AU.pl here (http://github.com/k3lt01/Cobber/tree/master/Translation).

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?

September 4, 2013 4 comments

Well it has been 2 years since I started this little exercise and looking back I think, what have I done? Well, let’s see.
1. Translated MATE into Australian English.
2. Translated XFCE into Australian English.
3. Done half of a Masters degree in teaching. I have what I need from this degree so I have slowed down this degree and will do it part time.
4. Started a Bachelor of IT at Southern Cross University (everything is Windows :-( but it is still useful)
5. Buried my father who died 12 months ago after suffering with Pulminary Fibrosis for nearly 10 years. My mother, sister and I were his primary carers, we enabled him to stay at home through his illness and he was only away from home when he was in hopsital after acute set backs.
6. Continued seeing my doctor about Grave’s Disease which I was diagnosed with in 2009.
7. Worked on finalising Cobber Uluru-2013-MATE.

Oops I nearly forgot,
8. teaching kids.

Why has it taken so long to get Cobber released? Consider the above, also I have had to learn how to use Debian Live Build, which for quite a while was unstable and could change without notice so the configurations could be different one day to the next. Now Debian live Build is stable (in Wheezy) it has been much easier to get Cobber Uluru-2013-MATE nice and usable. While it is usable I have been making packages for the Cobber repository so I can install Australian backgrounds into the Live image. Last but not least I am still the only one working on Cobber.

Now that you all know I am still the only one working on Cobber I would like to encourage anyone from New Zealand and Papua New Guinea to join the MATE and XFCE translation pages (ask them to create a new group for your language) and we can get New Zealand English (which will just get the default Australian English until NZ English is translated) and Tok Pisin (PNG English Creole and an official language of PNG) into the Live/installable version of Cobber for these countries. I’d also really appreciate some photos of scenery from these two countries so I can individualise Cobber for you.

Anyway, I have exams in a few weeks and am going to concentrate on getting 3 major assignments done and revision for these exams. From the 28th September I am free from Uni for a couple of weeks and will concentrate on Cobber so people can test it for me before the final release.

Tutorial: How To modify the Floating Feet Screensaver to make your own.

I was asked recently how can someone modify the Floating Feet screensaver that is used in Gnome2 and MATE. Gnome had the Feet symbol, MATE has the target and Debian has the swirl. Read on to find out how to make it work using your icon.

  1. As root open up /usr/share/pixmaps so you can copy an icon of your choice into the folder. I copied a png image of the Australian flag into the folder.
  2. Now, as root, open up /usr/share/applications/screensavers/ folder. MATE calls the file you need to copy Floating Feet. Right click copy and then right click paste, then rename the new file to whatever you want to call it (this works on my machines). I called mine FloatingFlags. Why? Well I couldn't open it with Pluma if it was Floating Flags but I could as FloatingFlags.
  3. Again as root in your terminal type pluma /usr/share/applications/screensavers/FloatingFlags.desktop and the file will open in Pluma MATE's text editor. If you use another text editor just replace pluma in the command with the one you use.
  4. When you have this file open you will see

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Floating Feet
Name[en_AU]=Floating Feet
Comment=Bubbles the MATE foot logo around the screen
Comment[en_AU]=Bubbles the MATE foot logo around the screen
Exec=/usr/lib/mate-screensaver/floaters /usr/share/pixmaps/mate-logo-white.svg
TryExec=/usr/lib/mate-screensaver/floaters
StartupNotify=false
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Categories=Screensaver;
OnlyShowIn=MATE;

To get your picture to show you need to either modify a line or add a line. I chose to modify and add a new line like this as shown in the bold text.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Floating Flags
Name[en_AU]=FloatingFlags
Comment=Bubbles the Australian Flag around the screen
Comment[en_AU]=Bubbles the Australian Flag around the screen
#Exec=/usr/lib/mate-screensaver/floaters /usr/share/pixmaps/mate-logo-white.svg
Exec=/usr/lib/mate-screensaver/floaters /usr/share/pixmaps/Flag_of_Australia.png
TryExec=/usr/lib/mate-screensaver/floaters
StartupNotify=false
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Categories=Screensaver;
OnlyShowIn=MATE;

Now save your file and check to see it works.

Australian flag screensaver

Australian flag screen saver

How to align MATE panel applets.

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

This come up on the MATE forum recently and Atarixle posted a brief how to so people could sort their applets in an order they like.┬áSo here’s the link to the post in question.

Categories: Uncategorized