In the intro page to Project BoøkWürm, I mention I’m building a small Open Source operating system distribution for low-end hardware, built around uClibc and busybox – these, for those who don’t know, are lightweight foundations for an operating system, that sit atop the operating system kernel – in this case, Linux – and provide the foundations for pretty much everything else you see and use on the computer.

I’m using buildroot, a system for creating these foundations plus a set of essential tools for software development, and despite a few glitches, now have something I can start with.

The next stage is to build these into a bootable CD-ROM, so I can test the system.

Initially, booting this CD-ROM will give me a graphical screen (I’m using the Linux Frame Buffer device), and a command shell.

Not the most user-friendly system, but without this first step, nothing else can happen.

After that, add in a low-impact init, which enables the rest of the system startup (and shutdown) to be written in a high-level scripting language, probably Ruby, then add a
low-end X server (this provides the full graphics system that the rest of the programs will need) – something like KDrive, and a lightweight window manager, probably Matchbox.

Then the user (developer) applications – a lightweight shell (this is busybox), terminal (xterm? rxvt?) and editor (vim) – these wouldn’t typically be end-user tools, but vital for investigations.

Final user applications are a browser (dillo?) and various document viewers… then the installer…

… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s get that booting CD-ROM first…