Since February 10th of 2017, I have been the project lead for a club project being run through RITlug. That project is TigerOS. TigerOS is a Fedora Remix maintained by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Linux Users Group, targeted at users new to Linux and RIT students, faculty, and staff.

TigerOS began life as a student project within the FOSS community at RIT. It was originally rediscovered by one of my friends Justin Flory. This was around September of 2017. He found it on the original git repo that housed it, fedorahosted. That has since been retired but you can still view the original code base here. Anyway, Justin found the repo and shared it with the #ritfoss IRC channel. He also decided that he thought I should take on maintaining the project. I initially declined but when he asked again 6 months later, I accepted. The project had by that time been languishing for around 6 years. It had originally started in 2010 but maintenance dropped off when the primary developers graduated. The Fedora release that the remix was based on was several versions old and unsupported. The files that had been used to customize the OS were no longer useable as things had changed too much. The tooling for building and development had to be completely reworked as the old tools were no longer supported. We did however keep at least one piece, the kickstart, the heart of the building process.

After cleaning up the existing files and updating things we had a meeting to decide what we wanted our remix to include and how we wanted it to function. The results of that meeting are contained in this public etherpad. We settled on a remix focusing on RIT students faculty and staff, expecially those new to using Linux.

Toward this end we are working on a postinstall wizard that will allow students to select their degree program and automatically install a suite of software to be used in their courses. We have also added our own branding with a mascot we have taken to calling a Tiguin. With much love TigerOS has evolved into a relatively stable operating system though it isn’t quite ready for primetime.

We are currently working to setup a build automation system so that we can focus on development and adding features. We have worked extensively with the upstream Fedora community in this process and have found them to be very helpful. Most of the development process at least for me thus far has been about learning. I learned how Fedora creates releases and how we can adapt that to our remix. I also learned how to build RPM packages(a topic I may cover in another blog post). The challenges of the project have at times seemed insurmountable but we have overcome them. It has also taught me a lot about the various ways that FOSS communities function. I have gained insight into the Fedora project and the various teams and roles within it. Overall the project has been a good experience for me and I hope that it continues beyond my time at RIT as a good experience for others.

We would also love to see others get involved. If you want to help us out or have an idea we welcome your input and assistance. For more information about the project please see https://tigeros.ritlug.com or our GitHub repository at https://github.com/RITlug/TigerOS

Written on March 28, 2018