Booting Fullpliant operating system

FullPliant is a complete operating system.

In order to test it, the recommended way is to download and install a bootable USB key image.

I tend not to provide up to date USB key image with each Pliant release at the moment because the main tree Linux kernel framebuffer is just unusable, yet continuously changing, so that a lot of work it required to make it work on the Intel mainstream graphic cards, I mean set graphic mode (without the help of the bios because bios are generally not working) and provide hardware accelerated scrolling (the only operation that cannot be software achieved because video memory is too slow to provide flickering free scrolling).

What do I need to run Fullpliant ?

You need a 128 MB or more USB key, and a PC.

Step 1: download

Use your favorite browser, connect to http://hc.fullpliant.org/download/ and download the latest release.
The FullPliant tarballs end with .gz

Step 2: create a bootage USB key

You need a computer running a Linux distribution to do that.

Assuming that you downloaded fullpliant-99.gz tarball to /tmp/ directory, then the command to dump it on an USB key is:

gzip -d /tmp/fullpliant-99.gz
dd if=/tmp/fullpliant-99 of=/dev/sdz

You need to be 'root' to do that.

IMPORTANT: the device for your USB key is probably not sdz so you have to change the 'dd' command accordingly. If you have only one disk and the disk is interface is SATA (SATA is the standard for recent computers), then the device for your USB key is probably sdb. But, be warned that if the device you provide in the 'dd' command is wrong and is mapping one of your hard disks, then all it's data will be lost, so don't execute the 'dd' command unless you are sure that the device you specify is truly mapping the USB key.
In order to see the list of disks in your system, you can issue the following command:

cat /proc/partitions

From the operating system point of view, and USB key is the same thing as a hard disk. In the /proc/partitions listing, Just ignore devices ending with a number (as an example sdb1) because they are mapping partitions, not disks. Under Linux, each disk bloc is 1 KB, so if you have a 1 GB USB key, then the number of blocs should be roughly 1 million. Checking the number of blocs is probably the most reliable way to determine what is a hard disk and what is an USB key.

Step 3: boot from the USB key

On some PCs, you will need to change some BIOS settings to enable booting from an USB key.
On some old PCs, booting from an USB key is not possible.

Step 4: check existing accounts

The released fullpliant tarball contain an account 'hubert.tonneau' with administration right.
You should remove it. In order to access users administration, just select 'Service' then 'UI, HTTP and FTP' and finally 'Users' from the main menu.

FullPliant install FAQ

What hardware is supported by Fullpliant ?

FullPliant is using the Linux kernel, so the supported hardware should be the same as the hardware supported by various Linux distributions. But ... the Linux kernel provided on the ready to use bootable USB key is not very modular so that only recent mainstream systems will be supported. Another constrain is that FullPliant graphic engine sits on top of the Linux framebuffer and the Linux framebuffer hardware support is currently poor compared to X11. So, in the end, the best is to try because booting from FullPliant USB key will not touch your hard disk so that if something goes wrong, all you have to do is unplug the USB key, then reboot your everyday operating system.

How can I create the USB key from a Windows computer ?

I don't know how to do that. The easiest is probably to ask a user to do that for you, or try using a Linux live CD with a pair of USB keys (one for storing the .gz and one for dumping it's content to).

My PC cannot boot from an USB key. Can I install Fullpliant anyway ?

Yes, It is possible to make a bootable CDROM that will switch to the USB key just after kernel boot. This feature will be documented later.

I'm afraid to boot Fullpliant because it could damage data on my hard disk.

When booting FullPliant, your disk will not be touched. Anyway, if you don't trust that, you can just open your PC box and unplug the hard disk.

My graphic card is not supported or properly configured by FullPliant.

When you see the message 'FullPliant will now try to auto configure your graphic card', you can try to type a key to help FullPliant. 'u' is the most conservative and it will try to use VESA driver in 1024x768.
It is also possible to use an X11 driver instead of the Linux framebuffer if the graphic card is better supported by X11 than by Linux Framebuffer, but this not documented yet.

The screen is flickering when I'm scrolling.

You are probably using the Linux Framebuffer VESA video driver. This driver does not provide copyarea hardware acceleration which is the only hardware acceleration used and needed to get optimal result when running Pliant graphic stack.

FullPliant is assuming French QWERTY or AZERTY keyboard layout. I have a different layout.

First, connect to loopback:/pliant/linux/input/keyboard/index then define your keyboard layout, then select 'Configure' 'Identity' in menus, and set 'hardware' 'keyboard' 'layout' environment, and finally select 'Configure' 'Processing and power' 'Restart' to make the new layout active. When a layout is active, changes applied to it are immediately active.