[Inx] Introduction, Contributing and suggestions

Peter Garrett inx-one at optusnet.com.au
Wed Aug 20 16:29:47 PDT 2008

On Wed, 20 Aug 2008 14:30:44 -0600 (MDT)
Jared Bernard <jared.bernard at gmail.com> wrote:

> WOW! what a great project. My name is jared and i'm very excited about a 
> X-less Linux distro. I was also trying to develop a similar 
> project, see some of my post on http://bernard-fam.blogspot.com, but since 
> you already have something up and running I would love to help any way I 
> can.

Welcome to the INX list :)
I had a look at your blog but I couldn't find anything on it about
GNU/Linux ! Probably lack of coffee or creeping senility on my part *g*
> I saw some previous mailings asking for suggestions, so here are my 
> suggestions, comments and questions in no particular order:
> 1. The Menu - I like the intro to INX but there doesn't seem to be a 
> logical layout. I would suggest laying out the menu into categories such 
> as: Internet and Email, Office, Multimedia, Administration, Games, etc. 
> Similar 
> to the way some GUI application menus are layout. These would then link to 
> other appropriate menus.

Hmm - the main INX menu has some of this. Perhaps you could explain
further what you have in mind?

> 2. Installer - It looks like you are working on an installer. Are you not 
> able to use the debian installer which is used for the alternative install 
> for Ubuntu?

In theory the Debian installer could be integrated with INX - in
practice, I looked at how this could be done and concluded that I was
not up to the task ;)

I have also built a "bare bones" Debian live CD that *does* include the
Debian installer - but it blows out to around 260 plus MB (it has
packages on it and so on). In addition, getting various parts of INX to
"work" on Debian is a project for the future, maybe...  For example,
the Debian version of links2 | links2 -g | xlinks2 is much fussier
apparently, and I haven't been able to get it to do what I wish.

> 3. Have you approached Distrowatch to track INX?

Sent an email with details - they have a 90 day waiting period, so
we'll see ;)

> 4. I have several tutorials by example already written, if you are 
> interested in possibly including them. I envisioned these tutorials 
> opening up in a split screen session, with the tutorial above in less and 
> a shell below for the user to apply what is in the tutorial.

There are a couple of possibilities for you; we are using Launchpad for
development, with bazaar (bzr)

You could do either or both of the following:

1) Send some or all of your scripts/tutorials to inx-one at optusnet.com.au so that
I can read / try them... and with luck incorporate some of your ideas
and/or code, in consultation with the team. I always credit contributors, of course :)

2) Join the team on Launchpad , set up a personal INX bzr branch, and
push your scripts, tutorials etc. there for consideration


David Symons has written an excellent howto about INX with bzr that you
might want to read:


You can also talk to us on irc.freenode.net, channel #inx - but there
are rarely more than a handful of people actually there (as in, awake,
or not busy with other things).

I read the irc logs though, so even if you get no immediate response,
your messages will get through.

> 5. package suggestions - gcalcli (connects to Google Calendar) 
> http://code.google.com/p/gcalcli/wiki/HowTo, hnb (wiki type note 
> taker), alpine (easy to set up email), mybashburn (cd/dvd burning ), BSDgames

Thanks for the suggestions! I will look at these... I don't think we
will be dropping Mutt for Alpine though :)

> 6. screen tabs - how about more colorful tabs. I have some different 
> screen 'themes'. Maybe a menu option where the user can choice a 'theme' 
> of their liking. Similar to your flip color scheme for the menu but for 
> screen.

Your ~/.screenrc files or similar to do this would be most
interesting :)

> 7. Website - Can you add a link that lists all the applications?

Well, it isn't obvious I grant you, but there is a list at


and on the CD you can look in /usr/local/share/doc/inx/inx-packages

The same list is at


(apologies fro the ghastly URL)

You can browse INX code at:


Most of the code is in 'lib/inx' and 'bin'  (these directories are sub-directories of
/usr/local/ on the actual INX CD)

More generally:


>How about a forum?

If someone knows how to set one up, and people are willing to help with answers, perhaps :) 
I have no idea how to set up a web forum...

There is one thread (that I know of) about INX, on Ubuntuforums :


> 8. Multimedia - have your menu aid the user to play a DVD or other 
> media with mplayer in framebuffer or view an image with fbi or view a PDF with fbgs would be 
> nice.

Good idea - but on the other hand, at some point we have to stop
holding the user's hand. Deciding where that point should be is the

> I know I've just thrown alot out there, but I'm willing to help. I've 
> thought alot about the structure of a project like this. I'm not
> much of a coder and I haven't looked 
> at your scripts yet, but I want to help where I can.

Jared, I'm not much of a coder either :) This project just sort of grew
from an idea I had around July last year, and snowballed into a
distributed live CD without my quite knowing how that happened. I've
had a lot of great support and suggestions from the INX team, some code
contributions, and several testers - you don't have to be a guru to
join in (I'm certainly not, despite having written most of the code).

Do please send any code or ideas along. I or someone on the team can
help you to set up a bzr branch if you want to do that (probably a good

Peter (aka inx-one or thoreauputic on IRC)

"INX Is Not X" Live CD based on Ubuntu 8.04 : http://inx.maincontent.net
Screenshots slideshow: http://inx.maincontent.net/album/1.png.html

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