When you install any package from the SkinnyDebbie repositories with
synaptic, you will almost certainly see a message that says the package(s) you are trying to install cannot be authenticated. This behavior is fully expected because the SkinnyDebbie I am not using digital signing at the present time.
The risk in installing these “unauthenticated” packages is no greater than the risk of downloading a
zip or similar archive from a Web page and installing that. In both cases, it is theoretically possible that a third party has intercepted the download request and substituted his/her desired deliverable rather than what you have really requested.
If you feel the need to be extra cautious, you can first download the packages only (without installing) then inspect the code manually to verify that there hasn’t been a third-party interception.
No. The current SkinnyDebbie will not work with Debian Squeeze. There are a number of Debian packages that are critical to the current SkinnyDebbie (which was designed under and for Lenny) that were dropped by Debian in Squeeze. Therefore, if you upgrade your Lenny installation to Squeeze, things will break.
I hope to start releasing SkinnyDebbie for Squeeze toward the end of February.
Initially, the biggest reason for preferring Debian for this project was that it was the only major Linux distribution that would install cleanly on the laptop that I planned to use for development. Shortly thereafter, I came to really appreciate Debian's package management and community support. And I still do.
Given Ubuntu's popularity (then and now), I was annoyed by the fact that I couldn't get Ubuntu installed (a problem resolved in later releases). But I consoled myself with the idea that Debian's slow, “new versions are released when they are ready” approach would mean fewer maintenance headaches. And I still do.
See Why Debian?
SkinnyDebbie is implemented on Debian. While the overall design and architecture should make it easy to adapt to other distributions, I will leave that as an exercise for someone else for the time being.
I do. Do you want to help?
I started this project out of personal need: I had a couple computers that were too whimpy to run even an XFCE-based desktop environment (LXDE hadn't been hatched yet). I also saw a more general need for a friendly yet very lightweight environment based on a major distribution that could be used on computer systems that otherwise would be headed for a trash heap.
So I set about designing a set of scripts to automate the installation of an IceWM-based system for Debian Etch with as many niceties as I could manage. This entailed more work than I expected, and I ended up writing quite a lot more original code to fill the gaps that available packages left, but it turned out to be an excellent way to learn about Linux. I am continuing the effort because it's still teaching me a lot and because I think the end product is useful.
The pictures used in
skinny-xdm-extra, and the desktop wallpaper are in the public domain. Most (or possibly all) of them were obtained from Public Domain Pictures.net.