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David mentioned a possible project idea for Schoolforge members using
GCompris and freereading.net. I've been working on a project of my
own that I would like to involve members of Schoolforge with at some
point. Every year when I give a talk about Open Source at my school
district's technology conference, I have to look for a somewhat
up-to-date DVD or CD collection of Open Source to share with
participants. I've been wanting to put my own collection together.
Am finding that it's not a quick task and I've been working on it in
my free time for a few years now. Expect it will take a few more
years before it's ready.
One thing I want to be able to do with this collection is let users be
able to build all the programs that are part of the collection from
the included source code. I cannot tell you how many times I've
downloaded the source code to a program and I've been unable to
reproduce what the developer did. I simply could not get the program
to compile. How can anyone learn programming by modifying Open Source
projects if they can't even get those projects to build? I'm trying
to stick with educational, hobby, edutainment and practical programs
that have few dependencies. I've been going through source code and
if a key library or a program is too complicated to easily maintain,
I've looked for replacements. For instance, I have alternatives to
gettext and pkg-config. Another thing I'm trying to do is make all
these applications and libraries portable (which means I'm modifying
the source code). I've seen many portable apps collections turn
programs into more portable renditions by using other outside
software. I wanted a more efficient strategy, so I'm actually going
in and fixing the code so a program can do the job itself the way it's
needed to. I'm trying to make sure that if applications need to
access a directory like a home directory, they all do so in a
consistent manner. I'm also porting code to certain platforms when it
doesn't work right or isn't supported yet. I'm hoping for a final
result with source code that will work on a number of operating
systems. I'd like at least a Windows and a Linux collection. They
don't replace the operating system, but will hopefully work like
portable apps in a local home directory or from a CD or DVD drive.
I'm finding the process tricky on Linux, but I have some different
ideas on how to accomplish it. When I get all my code changes working
on the basic components, I'd also like to add documentation and ways
to integrate the programs better with each other.
I could certainly use help finding out information on the legal
ramifications of distributing a collection like this. I've been
reading up on all kinds of copyright and license issues and the area
is very complicated. Certain programs can't use certain libraries
without violating license, etc. I'm trying to find out if I need to
distribute a license for every program linked with a runtime library
or whether the GNU compiler suite runtime exception covers it. I'm
not even sure which runtime library to use on Linux yet. I've been
considering using lsb or musl. Another area I need help is in finding
useful applications that are efficient and have minimal dependencies.
If anyone's interested in the project, would love to be able to
brainstorm ideas with others. Thanks.
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