The intended audience for this guide includes:
People who write scripts for frugal installs and LiveUSBs
People who will write tools for user to access persistence and live-remastering
Developers who want to use the new antiX linuxrc with other distributions
Adventurous and/or curious beta-testers
This is meant to be the definitive guide to all the features and options in the new linuxrc bootstrap script. It probably contains way too much information for most end-users, especially newcomers. Ideally, this guide will be augmented with information for end users, or a second guide will be created that is specifically designed for end users.
The linuxrc bootstrap script (that lives inside the initrd.gz file) was almost totally rewritten. We now use a non-ancient version of BusyBox (which, combined with more modern Linux kernels) gives us access to new and better tools. The Knoppix linuxrc script provided great inspiration for a lot of this.
Some of the more prominent new features include:
Faster, more robust booting
Previously the rootdelay option was used and suggested as a fix for when linuxrc is unable to find the squashfs program and the user is dropped to a limited shell. With the new linuxrc the rootdelay option should only be needed if the: Welcome to AntiX! message does not appear. In addition, you can now specify the boot partition by disk-label or by disk-UUID. There should be fewer failures to boot Live Media and when a boot does fail, the steps to fix it should be easy and straightforward.
Better and faster root persistence
Root and home persistence files can now reside on the boot device, the same device that holds the linuxfs file. This means you can create a full featured LiveUSB (or LiveHD) using only one partition even with persistence and live-remastering. We can also scan all read-write devices for persistence files which makes it easy to add persistence to a liveCD as long as there is some read-write partition available to hold the persistence file(s).
Integrated md5 checking
If the Live Media creator (person or program) adds .md5 files in the same directory as the linuxfs file or the same directory as the .iso file (in fromiso mode) then if the check boot parameter is given, every file that has a matching .md5 file will be checked and the boot will be interrupted if any check fails.
Remastering involves (perhaps among other things) the creation of a new linuxfs file that reflects change that have been made to the system (usually the addition or deletion of packages). We can now offer users "one click" live remastering (for LiveUSBs and LiveHDs) that will create a new linuxfs file at the touch of a button and automatically use that linuxfs file on the next reboot. The user will always have the option to rollback the change even if the new linuxfs file is corrupted and fails to boot.
And, of course, we also fixed the problem with ejecting the LiveCD.