Frequently Asked Questions

General

What does OpenSDE stand for?

OpenSDE stands for Open System Development Environment.

Why OpenSDE?

Current and future development of information and communication technologies shows an increased demand in custom made operating systems. Due to its portability and the sheer amount of available packages, GNU/Linux is an Operating System suitable for these needs. Because of the number of available packages and the complexity of putting it all together, creating a custom distribution it is not an easy task.

OpenSDE has an easy configuration tool which makes it the right tool allowing anyone to put together their own GNU/Linux distribution that addresses their specific needs. Currently OpenSDE already supports over 2500 software packages and the number is still growing.

What is OpenSDE?

OpenSDE is a tool that makes creating customised Operating Systems easy. OpenSDE consists of configuratin tools, a build toolchain and a package database.

What operating systems are supported by OpenSDE?

Currently only the GNU Linux kernel is supported. However, there are plans to include support for others operating systems, like BSD, Hurd, Darwin or Solaris.

Why fork from a fork?

Back in 2004 some of the core Rock Linux developers where struggling with the build proces being used. They decided switching the development process would allow them to speed up development dramatically. So they decided to fork the project and start on their own. This fork came to be known as T2.

In early 2006 a special branch was created to investigate efficiency and flexibility of the build engine by reimplementating part it. Unfortunately internal differences led to forking this branch into a separate project. this is how OpenSDE came into existence.

So technically OpenSDE is a fork of a fork. If you want to read more about our ancestory, read our history section.

What is the difference between OpenSDE and its predecessors?

Our main concerns are quality, reliability and security. We want to improve the quality and reliability of the build environment as well as the available targets.

Beside our main concerns we also focus on an improved user experience. To achieve this we have rewritten the commands to operate the build process into a single starting point, the sde command. Now it is no longer needed to memorize multiple commands. Only one command is needed and this command even supplies help if needed.

FIXME Also to improve user experience we are working hard on getting you more and up to date documentation. Have a look at our documentation section to get an impression.

Last but not least, we have an extremely good team spirit.;-)

Why use a tree as a mascot?

FIXME Our oak tree based mascot is all about symbolism (see wikipedia). For instance the oak is a common symbol of strength and endurance. The life span of oaks typically ranges from 200 to 600 years, with a few species even reaching 1,000 years. Also oak trees are known to provide shelter and grow tall and strong.

This is exactly what we have in mind for OpenSDE and OpenSDE based targets. Targets are the seedlings that grown on the OpenSDE tree, like acorns in an oak. We want these seedlings to grown tall and become strong and enduring, just like the proverb 'Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow'. With the right nurture and care the OpenSDE tree can last for generations.

How does OpenSDE work?

The basic principles of OpenSDE are actually quite simple. Creating your own Operating System just takes a few steps. Choose a target (sort of a template). Configure a build (select packages to be included). Start the build.

Building your custom Operating System can take quite some time, depending on the chosen target, the number of included packages and the host system on which you are building.

Give OpenSDE a spin and you soon discover that it is really easy to create your own custom made Operating System.

Can OpenSDE be extended?

Sure, OpenSDE can be extended in many different ways. The most important ones will be mentioned here. For more information have a look at our documentation.

One of the ways to extend OpenSDE is to add software packages. Our package database is open to all kind of packages. Source based packages are prefered since this allows packages to be built on various hardware platforms. But, in case sourcecode is not available, binary packages can be added as well.

OpenSDE already supports a great number of hardware platforms, but it is easy to snap in additional platforms if needed. For more information which platforms are support, have a look at our hardware platforms section.

Other areas where OpenSDE shines in extendability is the target system. The OpenSDE target system is a pluggable system allowing OpenSDE users to create a template for their own custom Operating System.