My distro called 'solyste' - GNU/Linux

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

First of all, I do not know exactly if it's the perfect category, where I should post this new topic. I hope I'm not wrong…

So, after thinking about a minimal static environment, that will "allow" me to use a system that can be easily maintained by me (or people with UNIX "luggage"), I decided to create my own distro. I know we already heard something similar, thousands of times and it seems not exciting / new at all. I also think it's a bit presumptuous, to use the "distro" word. Unfortunately, I lack a term that could perfectly illustrate my work.

After torturing my brain to find a name that sounds good to me, I was able to finally write the pieces of code which will compose the base. I started this work in March. I tried to be *<b>VERY</b>* careful with the code. It means something readable and understandable (any guinea pig here?).

Here a very-short summary, about what goals I would like to reach:

- Minimal system (between 10 and 12Mib, without manpages)
- Compiled statically (with 'musl' libc)
- MIPS or ARM archs
- Kernels without modules
- Should be perfect for firewalls or routers
- Learn things?

We could argue that 'OpenWrt' already does the trick, but I was not satisfied. To me, the build system is obscure and I didn't feel enough confortable, when I inspected the sources. I'm also a dude that is productive when I work in my little corner (afraid of big structures).

The cross-compilers were my first priority because I'll need them for the specified architectures. Once it was correctly done, I had to decide what softwares to include in the filesystem. Compiling those softs was not very hard, except for a one or two (cf 'iproute2').

Hum, I guess I forgot something… Oh yeah, the kernel!

That was the serious problem :) Building a kernel is not that hard, but then you need the hardware where you can test it. You could do it with 'qemu', but it's rather limited (thinking about '32bit' on 'MIPS64' for example). Having a RPi B+ around helped me a lot and it was the opportunity for me to write the scripts / services, used by the init (here 'sinit'). This part is not over, ATM but the system successfully booted .

Other parts not listed here, are also currently developped (system tools) by me.

So far, it was a wonderful experience and having something that was created from scratch is motivating!

I will not bother you more, dudes :) My objective was to introduce you 'solyste' a little bit, and by chance, raise your curiosity! If you felt interested about my project, feel free to visit the following links:

- (there is a "diary", updated every months)
- #solyste on Freenode

Happy Sunday!

Long time nixers
Hey there!
It's actually funny because I found your blog a couple days ago when z3bra linked it.
I thought all this stuff was very very cool and I'm glad you posted it here.
Would you mind talking a bit more about the creation process? I find it fascinating.
It sounds to me like your spin on a suckless distro
Morpheus or stali.

Overall, cool project, cool name and keep us updated from time to time!
Good job!
We had many members of this community that created distros of their own.
It's cool to add one more to the list, and I don't mean that in a bad way, the more diversity the better.

Keep up the work.
(16-08-2015, 09:33 AM)Houseoftea Wrote: It's actually funny because I found your blog a couple days ago when z3bra linked it.
I thought all this stuff was very very cool and I'm glad you posted it here.

Thank you for your enthusiasm! It's joyful to read something like this.

(16-08-2015, 09:33 AM)Houseoftea Wrote: Would you mind talking a bit more about the creation process? I find it fascinating.
It sounds to me like your spin on a suckless distro
Morpheus or stali.

You could read the status report at and if you want more details, do not hesitate to ask me questions :)
I will also post a more informative post if people request it.
Grey Hair Nixers
I'd be interrested to see what your workflow is when developping things for your distro. eg using qemu, starting up from scratch everytime, using snapshots, branches, or whatever...
As you know I'm working on a distro too myself, and would be interrested in seeing how people deal with daily tasks regarding this.
Long time nixers
wow, i literally just read about your 'nameless' disto this weekend (i was on your site via a link from z3bra's). sounds very interesting.
World is small, after all!
In the last past days, z3bra gave me more "visibility" and I can say it's a nice thing. Much appreciated :)

For the workflow, I'll give a few hints in the future (kinda busy right now). In the meantime, bump me with questions.
Grey Hair Nixers
Did you think about the installation process you'll use already? Or it's too late to think about it yet?
I recommend to build the entire system (with make) from sources, especially for the kernel which tends to be "unique", without modules. I will also provide the cross-compilers and the rootfs through a tar.gz. The installation is pretty easy: you create your partitions with 'fdisk', create the filesystem with 'mkfs.*', mount them and copy/extract the files to the fs partition.
I don't think I'll provide a special installer/script, that would require too much work for no real benefit.
Arf, double post but I posted my "August" report. :)
It looks interesting, when I need a really minimal distro I tend to use tinyCore.
Long time nixers
Using ed as editor-I love it!
I actually used ed quite a time when programming.

Edit: your distro reminds me of rlsd (
I like what you two did.
Long time nixers
Just wanted to say that this is a great idea and I am in full support. If you need any help with anything let me know.

To me this is what nixing is all about. Exploration, creativity and minimalism.

Long time nixers
Don't forget rice cjm ;)
I thank all of you for your kind words! This kind of feedback really boosts me.
Long time nixers
remember to Keep us posted!
Hi Houseoftea (and all the other lads),

At the moment, I try to work on "modularity", hence I need to rewrite (sometimes from scratch) a few pieces of code. It's not the funniest part, but it is required. Many things changed since the beginning. I think a lot about what I will do, usually while losing my life in public transport.
I am also doing extensive tests (building solyste) from the other distros. I noticed some breakage (on Alpine for example), but it was not from me and GNU-only options.
For example:

Apart from that, I was thrilled to see the first batch of dudes joining #solyste on IRC, just like z3bra (we debugged things together) or t0b1nux.
Grey Hair Nixers
Thinking about it, and imagining implementations occurs more often than I would have tough!

I usually carry some way to take notes with me for when I have new ideas, or think about a problem. Most of the time, it's when I'm driving to work, or back home. I just shutdown the radio so I can think about the different "problems" with a clear mind.
Grey Hair Nixers
I don't want people to forget this project which is still ongoing. Yp is a bit busy, but solyste is not dead. Don't forget to take a look at his diary fellow nixers!

BTW, if anyone has experience in distro hacking, this might be a good place to start discussing it.
Cool distro! I just started writing a distro and yours is inspiring! I also use musl, don't use SystemD, and like things to lightweight! Thanks for your amazing work! Do you write a lot of little shell scripts to fix your problems? :)