Bedrock Linux: Strangest Linux Distro Ever?

What is Bedrock Linux?

From their website:

Bedrock Linux is a meta Linux distribution which allows users to utilize features from other, typically mutually exclusive distributions. Essentially, users can mix-and-match components as desired. For example, one could have:

  • The bulk of the system from an old/stable distribution such as CentOS or Debian.
  • Access to cutting-edge packages from Arch Linux.
  • Access to Arch’s AUR.
  • The ability to automate compiling packages with Gentoo’s portage
  • Library compatibility with Ubuntu, such as for desktop-oriented proprietary software.
  • Library compatibility with CentOS, such as for workstation/server oriented proprietary software.

All at the same time, all working together like one, largely cohesive operating system.

So, what is this thing? Bedrock Linux is a package manager compatibility overlay. Ever wanted to use CentOS or Arch packages on your Debian system? Bedrock Linux will let you do that.

Strata

A stratos in Bedrock Linux is a package management overlay. For example, if you want to add a CentOS Strata, you run:

$ sudo brl fetch centos

The BRL app will then download yum and it’s required apps and libraries into the overlay. Once it’s done you can then yum install whatever you want.

Have multiple versions of the same package? Use:

$ strat [stratus name] [packagename]

For example with the Nano editor:

tux@debian:~$ strat arch nano -V
GNU nano, version 4.2
(C) 1999-2011, 2013-2019 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
(C) 2014-2019 the contributors to nano
Email: nano@nano-editor.org Web: https://nano-editor.org/
Compiled options: --enable-utf8
tux@debian:~$ strat debian nano -V
GNU nano, version 2.7.4
(C) 1999..2016 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
(C) 2014..2016 the contributors to nano
Email: nano@nano-editor.org Web: https://nano-editor.org/
Compiled options: --disable-libmagic --disable-wrapping-as-root --enable-utf8
tux@debian:~$ strat centos nano -V
GNU nano version 2.3.1 (compiled 04:47:52, Jun 10 2014)
(C) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007,
2008, 2009 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
Email: nano@nano-editor.org Web: http://www.nano-editor.org/
Compiled options: --enable-color --enable-extra --enable-multibuffer --enable-nanorc --enable-utf8

There are problems

It’s not as easy as it sounds. In order to install Bedrock Linux, you must have a compatible base OS. Here is the list that’s currently on the website:

Distro Hijack-able Fetch-able Maintainer
Alpine Linux Yes Yes paradigm
Arch Linux Yes Yes paradigm
CentOS Known issues Yes paradigm
Clear Linux Mixed reports Experimental support N/A
CRUX Known issues No N/A
Debian Yes Yes paradigm
Devuan Needs investigation Yes paradigm
Elementary OS Yes, but limited testing No N/A
Exherbo Yes In development Wulf C. Krueger
Fedora Yes Yes paradigm
Gentoo Linux Yes Yes paradigm
GoboLinux Known issues No N/A
GuixSD Needs investigation No N/A
Manjaro Yes, but pamac/octopi broken No N/A
Mint Needs investigation No N/A
MX Linux Known issues No N/A
NixOS Known issues No N/A
OpenSUSE Yes Experimental support N/A
OpenWRT Needs investigation Experimental support N/A
Raspbian Yes Yes paradigm
Slackware Linux Known issues Experimental support N/A
Solus Yes Experimental support N/A
Ubuntu Yes Yes paradigm
Void Linux Yes Yes paradigm

Hijack-able distros are suitable base installations. Fetch-able distros can be used as overlays.

However this isn’t entirely true or at least not up to date. My first attempt was with OpenSUSE Tumbleweed. After installing, it failed to boot. My second attempt was with Fedora 30. Same resume. It worked on the third try with vanilla Debian. Finally, while Fedora is listed as fetch-able, I couldn’t install it because the brl application couldn’t find a suitable mirror.

Should I give it a try?

Yes! It’s a very interesting project, but don’t do it on any machine where you need your data to be protected. A spare VM is the ideal platform until it becomes more stable.

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