Keegan’s Linux Journey: Part 3

In the last part of this little series, we left off when I had begun meeting with Velkerk to discuss the future of the Deepin community edition of Antergos that I had been developing for the last several months. We talked about it, and eventually decided to be adventurous enough to attempt to create our own separate distro. However, such a decision was not without the risk of failure. I barely even knew how to edit the build script for the Antergos ISO at that point! And so it was that I continued to maintain the community edition of mine while also working on creating my own ISO based as much as possible from Arch’s scripts rather than those of Antergos. I started with what I knew worked – the Antergos versions of the scripts. Slowly, over the course of the month of September, I managed to modify those scripts to be as close to the Arch original as possible. Then, I began to work on decoupling Cnchi from the rest of Antergos – a task that was in no way easy to do. In fact, that project took me until December 13th, when I finally unveiled the very first release of RebornOS! Only at that time, I had not actually decided on a name for this new project. Just like EndeavourOS did, I decided upon a temporary codename for the project, to be replaced later when I felt I had truly completed it. After all, at this point in time only the Deepin desktop was working out of all the 15 DE / WM options in the installer! I felt that the temporary title “Reborn” was rather fitting, as it perfectly described the process my project had undergone over these last months. My community edition of Antergos had been reborn as its own distro! Many people appear to assume that the fact I am a strong Christian had to do with my name choice. While perhaps that has influenced my vocabulary in some ways, it was not a conscious influence in the creation of the name, Reborn.

An artist's depiction of the Holy Spirit, who descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove during His baptism.
An artist’s depiction of the Holy Spirit, who descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove during His baptism.

The Antergos developers were incredibly gracious to me in allowing me to post this news on their own forums, and soon a few users were giving my new distro a try. In fact, one such user by the online name of Palanthis, became increasingly interested to the point that we even teamed up as co-developers! A small but amazing community quickly formed, and before long we all voted on the logo and the motto of the distro. As for the name, it stuck with people, although we did eventually tack on OS to the name, making it Reborn OS. Being a 15-year-old minor who had spentĀ  the majority of his money on purchasing his first laptop nearly a year earlier, I had extremely limited funds. And so it was that we began using . Perhaps it was not the most professional choice, but it served the needs of our growing community. We even made use of Github and SourceForge for our repository! Having a 0 USD budget really made me rather resourceful.

This were going well, and Palanthis was taking care of the public side of things which freed me up to do the development. But then a user named Alberto arrived to our forums one fateful day. He was armed with the promise of experience, having a background in design and a strident philosophy of “less is more”. So we unwittingly put him in charge of managing our forum for us – a mistake that would prove difficult. He soon became overbearing, forcing through changes that our users (and Palanthis and I) did not want to see. For instance, an obnoxious plugin that played rock music on our forum in the background. Now who needs perpetual rock music when they are navigating a forum? I have yet to meet such a person. It eventually became a race of me undoing his changes and him re-applying them. In fact, I worried often while at school that I would lose the forum to him before I returned home! The final straw came when he got so disgruntled at Palanthis and I that he cited the Unix Rules to us a little while after he removed the “like” buttons on our forum. Now last time I checked, Unix and Linux are not quite the same thing, and hold to slightly different philosophies. For instance, he was in favor of the “do one thing and do it well” approach to such an extent that he was all in favor of us not adding any new features – ever. Additionally, he wanted us to remove almost all our installer options too! In the end, he was the one who chose to leave, and we did so on surprisingly friendly terms. So I do not want to paint to you a completely bad picture of him, as in the end we parted as friends. Or at least friendly acquaintances.

Alberto citing the Unix rules to us.
– Alberto citing the Unix rules to us.

About this time, Reborn began to attract the attention of a few Youtube personalities in the Linux world. Unfortunately, we were still an incredibly young project, and were not quite prepared for something like that. As such, several of those reviews were a little disappointing for us, particularly as almost every Youtube review to this date on us is really just a critique on the Deepin desktop on an Arch-based system, rather than Reborn as a whole. I mean, come on people! We offer 15 different DE / WM options! Just because Deepin is our default option, does not mean that is all there is to us. If someone really wants to give us an accurate review, please consider testing features that make RebornOS unique, such as what was then called RUM (Reborn Updates and Maintenance, now called RebornOS FIRE – Features and Improvements in RebornOS made Easy), an application that I have developed myself particularly for RebornOS users. Anyways, rant over. We saw an enormous influx of users, and soon I met the next person that was to be on our team – SidedVirus (now known as Trivoxel).

Trivoxel even updated our original logo to this for us!
Trivoxel was the one who even updated our original logo to this for us!

I met him one day as I was browsing the Antergos forums (yep, Antergos was truly amazing! They still allowed me to be part of the community over there, and so I was helping some Antergos users out during some extra time I had that day), and he was mentioning to the community a game he had created. No one was really taking any notice of him over there, but I really liked what he had made and upon chatting, we learned we were of similar ages. I invited him to my team, and asked him if he would like to tackle some graphic design issues over here, such as our icon and the images in our modified version of Cnchi. Well, as you have probably already guessed, he said yes.

So now our team had both a co-developer and an animator! Still though, yet more were about to join. First came one by the name of Badmem, who appeared shortly after Trivoxel (I think) on our forums. He has always – and continues to be – a great friend of mine and one who has helped me get through the “dark days”, as he and I call them. The days in which Palanthis had disappeared and I had no one else to turn to but he and Trivoxel. But today is not that day (I think I said that in a recent article as well. It figures though, as I am a bit of a Tolkien fan). Today, we have yet to introduce ShAdOw! ShAdOw is the expert who masterfully taught me how to sign our RebornOS packages, set up a server, maintain that server, and even create this very website on that server. Basically he is the local expert on everything server and security related. All in all, he is amazing, and we as RebornOS would most likely not even exist today without him.

Despite all this excitement though, a shadow was yet to fall over RebornOS and cover us in a second darkness (I did it again didn’t I? Perhaps I shouldn’t be writing this immediately after watching The Fellowship of the Ring). Needless to say however, the day Palanthis disappeared was a sad one. He was here one day and gone then next. But, in case you are wondering, no – he did not spontaneously burst into flames and perish. Instead, life merely got too busy for him all of a sudden, and he no longer had time to devote to us here at RebornOS like he had for the last several months. As such, the work in maintaining and developing RebornOS fell mostly to me, and it is thanks to the companionship of Badmem as well as his constant testing of our new developments that kept RebornOS alive during the upcoming months.

The account of what happened after the “dark days” awaits in Part 4 of this embarrassingly long saga! So stay tuned to find out what happens next (although, if you have been around here long enough, you might already know).

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