Seeing this feast of wonderful code spread in front of me as a working system was a much more powerful experience than merely knowing, intellectually, that all the bits were probably out there. It was as though for years I’d been sorting through piles of disconnected car parts - only to be suddenly confronted with those same parts assembled into a gleaming red Ferrari, door open, keys swinging from the lock and engine gently purring with a promise of power…
The aim of creating Frugalware was to help you do your work faster and simpler. We hope you will like it. In this introduction, we would like to answer a few questions which were asked in several interview with Miklos, the founder of the project. You can reach the full list of articles that have been posted about Frugalware here.
Frugalware is a general purpose Linux distribution, designed for intermediate users (who are not afraid of text mode).
What branches does Frugalware have?
“We have a -current and a -stable branch. The -current branch is updated daily, and we provide security support for our -stable branch till the next release, for approximately 6 months.”
What is "The Frugalware Philosophy" about?
“Briefly: simplicity, multimedia, design. We try to make Frugalware as simple as possible while not forgetting to keep it comfortable for the user. We try to ship fresh and stable software, as close to the original source as possible, because in our opinion most software is the best as is, and doesn’t need patching.”
What is the license of Frugalware?
“The license of Frugalware itself stands for the license of the buildscripts used for building Frugalware. That source is available under the GPL license here. Frugalware’s original init scripts were written by Patrick J. Volkerding, creator of the Slackware Linux distribution. We release out additions under the GPL, but Patrick J. Volkerding’s code is still under the BSD license. Frugalware also has a few side projects, like our pacman-g2 package manager, the Frugalware installer an so on. They are available under the GPL license, too. For more info about the license of the packages included in Frugalware, refer to the /usr/share/doc/*/COPYING files.”
What package manager does Frugalware use?
“We have our own package manager, called pacman-g2. It stands for the second generation of the pacman-g1 package manager, as it was originally based on Judd Vinet’s great work. The packages are simple .tar.bz2 files, pacman-g2 is written in C, unlike Slackware’s shellscript-based package manager (which may be rather slow sometimes).”
How does Frugalware manage updating obsolete packages?
“We don’t have any standalone program for updating packages as pacman-g2 manages this task too. To update your package database, use pacman-g2 -Sy, and to update your packages according the just synchronized package database, you use pacman-g2 -Su. To install package foo with the necessary dependencies directly from one of our ftp servers, you should issue pacman-g2 -S foo. For more information, refer to the pacman-g2 man page.”
Is there any community support available for Frugalware?
“We have mailing lists, IRC channels and forums that can be used to communicate with developers or with other users and to get help. You can reach the list of mailing lists available here. The IRC channels are on the Freenode network (server: irc.freenode.net), the discussion forums are available here.”
Is there any commercial support available for Frugalware?
“No, there isn’t for now, and currently it isn’t planned, either.”
For whom is Frugalware recommended to use?
“Frugalware is designed for intermediate users. Installing Frugalware doesn’t require any magic, of course, but you should read some documentation if you don’t know what a partition, an MBR (Master Boot Record), etc. is.”
How to become a developer?
“Get involved! :) Download the FST (Frugalware Source Tree) using the repoman upd command, which is available in the pacman-tools package. Then start to play with the FrugalBuild scripts, for a skeleton, refer to the /docs/skel directory. Try to improve them, or write a new one for a currently unsupported program. Then open feature requests in the Bug Tracking System and attach your patches. From this point everything will come naturally to you :)”
What do developers do?
“In short, what they want to, if they play a square game. They may maintain packages: building them if a newer version is available and update the FrugalBuild scripts to work correctly against a newer version. They can contribute a new build script for a previously non-existent package. They write documentation, fix bugs, provides support, or anything else in connection with the Frugalware community. If you want to help us, but you don’t want to be a developers, you may help in translating Frugalware to your or other language. And, of course, we happily accept donations. :) More info here.”
Who develops Frugalware?
“An amazing group of volunteers, who are motived by the users to do so. They also do it as a hobby, and they are always working on having up to date knowledge to make Frugalware even better for you.”
Is Frugalware specialized in a certain purpose?
“No, it’s a general purpose distribution, for desktops, mobile computers and servers.”
Do you plan to release a live cd?
“Well, we have already a live cd, called FwLive. Currently it supports only i686, but an x86_64 version is also under development. You can find it in the standard release directories.”
Does Frugalware support languages other than English?
“Yes, it supports all languages supported by the packages. If the init scripts, the setup or the documentation is not available in your language, then it simply means they haven’t yet been translated.”
What about Asian languages?
“Frugalware roughly supports Asian languages, but don’t expect too much - using UTF8 is not the default where it is possible.”
What architectures does Frugalware support?
“Currently we support x86 (Pentium Pro or higher), x86_64 (k8, aka. amd64) platforms and arm”
How are compressed the Frugalware packages ?
“FPM packages were originally .tar.gz packages, then a bit later we migrated to libarchive, which allowed bzip2 compression. Life was good, but then lzma was came, and I added support for libarchive, though others were not really interested in a migration, so we stick to .tar.bz2. A few months ago libarchive got support for the xz format (which is the successor of lzma), so we switched to it. pacman-g2 still support .tar.gz and .tar.bz2 as well, and the package extension is .fpm all the time to make it clear that it’s a Frugalware package”