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Author Topic: Going Beyond the "LiveCD/USB" Concepts... - Network Bricks  (Read 4697 times)

Offline netzen

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The Organic Linux Network Bricks (NetBrix).

Hi all, this text is the follow up to the first text about the "LiveCD and LiveUSB", as manifested in this topic: http://forum.tinycorelinux.net/index.php?topic=742.0
The present one is more or less a "second chapter" following the "first chapter".

I invite everyone here to have a look at the main argument and think about it.

This text is about the possibility that the terms "livecd" and "liveusb" may not be the best to describe a new kind of Linux that is alive today. At least two of them can be noticed as of April of 2009. The first one is SliTaz Linux that is 2 years old and it is in version 2.0, and the second, TinyCore Linux which has been around about 6 months.

In the next diagram I will try to describe why we may need another "word" to correctly appreciate the whole body of features that these "new Linuxes" shows.

Figure 1

There are 2 dimensions to the graphic, the lower "x" represent the traditional way of using a operating system, installed on the hard disk and being the exclusive "owner" of the hardware resources. The upper "x" goes to the opposite direction where the operating system itself are detached from the hardware, runs relatively independent of it, does not captive its resources and are moldable in the sense that its own components are flexible enough to be "molded" to a particular user need, condition or preference.

The left "y", meticulous configuration, represents the detailed specialization implicated in using these type of operating system, where there are a large amount of technical procedure necessary to make things work properly.

The other side, the right "y", which I call "SUBITO", is intended to represent something that is "ready for the end user to use" without no need for any "extra" detail, it is, in this sense, subito usable, no extra steps required.

The next diagram I tried to put in context the current style of operating system (the traditional) like Windows, Fedora, MacOSX, Ubuntu, etc, and how it may relate to the "new style" of operating systems represented by SliTaz and TinyCore.

Figure 2

These "new kind" of operating usage has 2 important distinctions from its predecessors:

a) They are moldable in its structure (moldable is different from modularity).
b) They can be delivered in "subito" format.

As the diagram 2 tries to represent, SliTaz and TinyCore depart from the concept of LiveCD and even depart from the conventional concept of LiveUSB. In my point of view they both goes beyond the "Live" zone and create a whole NEW CATEGORY of possibilities. It is far removed from the "traditional" and way beyond the "live" zone. In this sense, the "live" category should be conceive as the intermediary step between the "new" and the "traditional".

The next picture I put 2 concepts that I have in my mind that I believe can be used to differentiate the new category from the "live" category. I coined 2 different names for that is inside the range of this new category.

1) Native USB (setup)
2) Level Two BIOS

Both names gives more "fair" idea about the range of the potential of this new category, and, more important, it tries to depart from the "live" category which do not fairly represent them.

Figure 3

The term "live cdrom" was a good choice to appeal to the idea of that a cdrom can "comes alive" and run a operating system like the hard disk does. It was popularized by the Knoppix (which has some Debian genetic inside), and the concept itself is clear a nice innovation.

In contrast, the term "live usb" is more of a misnomer than a fair attempt to convey the right idea. When a read-only CDROM can run an O.S., it is quite fair to say that it has "become alive", showing features that traditionally demands read/write capabilities. The USB memory key is, on the other hand, natively ALIVE, because it is read/write and display these same features as the hard disk, so, giving it a name of "LiveUSB Installation" is a natural tendency because it derived from the "live cdrom" idea, but its possibilities and real world implementation goes far beyond the "livecd".

By talking about the "LiveUSB" we are not giving it full appreciation and we are not disseminating the real potential of the idea.

[ Network Bricks ]
There are, in my view, another necessity to force us to depart from the "live" conceptualization, it has to do more with the new world of possibilities that these new kind of O.S. utilization display. We need to think using a new word that is more representative of the current reality and its potentiality.

Figure 4

In this diagram I like to introduce the idea of "network bricks", which is building blocks in the networked environment. Let's think beyond the "monolithic PC" and start to perceive things as "networked stuff". In this (relative) new age, we need pieces (building bricks) to assemble (or mold) information the way that satisfy our needs.

We need just pieces that fit the computational resources we have available at a particular moment, and we need pieces (bricks) that can be arranged (molded) according to our desires or resources possibilities.

We need bricks that suit "perfectly" the functions that they are supposed to fulfill. We need small and portable bricks to carry everywhere we want to be and can live long with the current battery technology we have today.

Following are some features of these "bricks".
i) Small and Fitness
ii) Suitability (to the function it perform)
iii) Moldable by the end user
iv) Highly comprehensible (easy)
v) Power Efficient (relative to the implicated need)

These "bricks" will be network bricks by nature, not only computational bricks, and they will probably be Linux base bricks, so, I'm proposing this new category as NetBrix (Linux Network Bricks).

My full technical description is something like: Organic Linux Network Bricks.
Or NetBrix for short.

The word "organic" has a special meaning related to "moldability", or something that adapts with intelligence and can be integrated together forming a higher "organism" or organization. I have a more complete description but want to keep it just simple enough in this text.

[The NetBrix Platform]
Figure 5

This diagram is the way I personally look at the NetBrix category, as April/2009. The new categories of computing devices like netbooks and nettops will create a space where the net-bricks can deliver a lot of value going way beyond of what the traditional OS alone can deliver.

One good quality of the net-bricks OSes is that they do not demand exclusive-rights to the hardware where they run, like a traditional captive O.S. installation. They can be loaded from a micro-USB (figure 6) in a native setup or L2-BIOS mode.

Figure 6

Of course, it is expected that NetBrixes OSes will be "booting" from a variety of means including via network, not only from local devices.

The "good news" is that NetBrix operating system can co-exist with traditional operating system greatly enhancing the value of the hardware and making a much more rich user experience without demanding the user to "choose" this or that OS... it gives the user the freedom of computing to have the full potential of its hardware.

NetBrix are not, by any means, confined to these new "network age" devices, and in fact there are lots of value for NetBrix in current traditional PC desktops and notebooks, adding value in a territory that is unreachable to the traditional OSes.

This is the my argument to depart from the use of the "LiveCD" or "LiveUSB" when describing the new category of OSes that SliTaz Linux and TinyCore Linux represents. I believe that it is not only reasonable but highly recommended not so much for the marketing advantages but the need to have right words to describe right concepts and promote further advancements.

Putting in another words: by using the right metaphor (words) we will be able to see the real potentiality and it will serve us as a guide to the right direction.

Nice day to all,
May, 2009.

High resolution images and the full text can be found here:

The "first paper" can be found here:

« Last Edit: May 02, 2009, 02:17:16 AM by netzen »