Byzantium Linux v0.4b – now with packet radio support and distributed messaging!

As of this afternoon, we’ve completed the integration of amateur radio support into Byzantium Linux.  We’ve added the necessary executables and libraries to the base build, so licensed ham operators with the correct equipment can begin experimenting with packet radio and mesh networking.  We realize that support for this is a little thin right now, and after conferring with colleagues in the community we feel that the best course of action is to provide tools to facilitate further experimentation and development by both the ham radio and hacker communities.  This constitutes the third milestone of our ISC development grant.

Also, at long last, we’ve found a distributed chat application for Byzantium Linux.  It’s called Groundstation, and it uses a gossip-like broadcast protocol which aims for the eventual synchronization of datastores over high latency links.  Data is stored in Git repositories on the back end and a daemon called Airship provides a web front-end to the service.  It works a lot like Twitter or Facebook‘s comment threads, and the nice thing about it is that whatever you post on one node will show up on other nodes within a few seconds, so users don’t have to be on the same node to hold conversations.  We have a few threads set up by default which should help organize people’s messages.

These are some pretty major changes, so we’re calling this release v0.4b – yes, we’re finally in beta!  We’ve come a long way since the initial development cycle of the grant, and we’ve added some pretty major functionality to Byzantium Linux, so we think it’s worth a major version release.  We decided to name this release “No sleep ’till Brooklyn!”, after the song by the Beastie Boys as well as our marathon road trip to New York City late last year.  When considering how little sleep we got while working on this milestone it sort of makes sense.

As before, if you are a Mac user, we recommend downloading this hybrid ISO image.  Write it to a USB key with the ‘dd’ command and reboot while holding down the Option key.  Select the ‘Windows’ device to boot Byzantium Linux.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t use a hybrid ISO on a PC, some of us do and we’re quite pleased with it.

The new version can be gotten from our downloads page, where we have links to both official distribution mirrors and BitTorrent.  We’ve decided after some deliberation to only offer BitTorrent support through Terasaur, a side project of iBiblio.org.  To be honest, trying to juggle five different trackers with every release was a big job and we don’t think it was very effective.  We advise that, after downloading Byzantium Linux and its associated .asc file, that you verify the PGP signature to ensure that it’s an official release and that it hasn’t been tampered with.  After importing our public key (gpg –import byzantium.pubkey) you would do so like this (adjusting appropriately for the regular or hybrid image): gpg –verify byzantium-v0.4b.iso.asc.  If the signature checked out, you would see the following output:

gpg: Signature made Sun 30 Jun 2013 07:15:43 PM EDT using DSA key ID D6975C17
gpg: Good signature from "Project Byzantium (Byzantium Development Team) <byzantium@hacdc.org>"

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