It’s been quite a long time since we have made an official post, so here we are, almost at the end of 2020 discussing Redcore’s future and upcoming changes. We haven't been the best when it comes to communication - there has been a radio silence for more than half a year.
That doesn’t mean we weren’t active, or that we’ve abandoned the project… on the contrary! The project is alive and healthy and we've been really busy preparing the next release, which is around the corner.
"So, what happened?!?" you may rightfully ask ...
Well, it's complicated. After 4 years being able to closely track our upstream without major disruption, Gentoo Linux made a change that "almost killed" us. At one point last year they announced new profiles, read here for details. If that sounds really complicated, well....it is. At that particular moment, we felt that the previous profiles made more sense, so we avoided the migration for as long as we could. Not to mention that the migration is really complicated, it involves a good knowledge of Gentoo Linux, has multiple time consuming steps and last but not least does not guarantee a working system afterwards. So, we went along and we kept defaulting to previous profiles. That is until about a month ago, when the new profiles became default, deprecating the old profiles. We could still use them, but that particular configuration won't be supported by Gentoo Linux for much longer, forcing us to act now if we want to stay alive.
At that point, we had to choose : we migrate? we rebase to Funtoo Linux the same way Sabayon Linux did? or perhaps we rebase to Exherbo Linux?
Gentoo Linux and Funtoo Linux are very similar (they both use portage, ebuilds and openrc), so we started experimenting with, just for the fun of it ... Exherbo Linux (which uses paludis, exheres and systemd). A working rebase of Redcore Linux (openrc as init) on Exherbo Linux(systemd as init) was ready in less than a day. However, the need to rewrite our package manager, sisyphus, to play nicely with paludis would've take a very long time. So, although promissing, we scrapped the ideea. We may consider another variant of Redcore Linux in the future, this time based on Exherbo Linux. If you never heard of Exherbo Linux, you should try it. We really liked what we saw.
Funtoo Linux was better in this regard, however we quickly realised it ships with outdated packages. Perhaps it was some mistake on our end, but we couldn't find what we needed. We build Redcore Linux from Gentoo Linux testing branch, so we ship very up-to-date packages.
Our final choice was to perform the migration to the new profile, cross our fingers it works, and then ask all of our users to do the same. Not really a Gentoo Linux made easy approach of Redcore Linux.
In the end, we decided not to do any of those. Instead, we froze the stable branch version of Redcore Linux and using testing branch we rebuilt Redcore Linux from scratch using the new profiles. And while at it, we made lots of improvements along the way (sisyphus received big love in the form a new and much improved cli frontend) and we added support for flatpaks out of the box. The problem is, since the on-disk layout is different, the testing version is incompatible with the stable version. They work and look the same, but under the hood, they're different.
We've been able to provide a rolling release, you can always upgrade to have the latest version for more than 4 years. This time we cannot. One day we will have to merge the testing branch, and at that point upgrading will be impossible for existing stable users. A fresh install will be the only option.
While you're here, would you mind testing the new version? Just grab it from our download page. It may be alpha, but you'll find it to be really stable for a testing version. I strongly encourage you to install and use it. Please report any issues on our bugtracker.