Prepend any set of Linux commands with the "cde" binary, and CDE will run them and automatically package up all files (e.g., executables, libraries, plug-ins, config/data files) accessed during execution.
A package is simply a directory that can be compressed and delivered to any x86-Linux machine. It contains all the files and environment variables required to run your original commands. Packages can range from 10 to 100 MB in size.
After receiving the package, the user can now run those same commands from within the package on any modern x86-Linux distro. The user does not need to first compile, install, or configure anything.
CDE is being developed by me, a Computer Science Ph.D. student named Philip Guo. These research papers provide more details about CDE's inner-workings and use cases:
Philip J. Guo, Dawson Engler. CDE: Using System Call Interposition to Automatically Create Portable Software Packages. In Proceedings of the 2011 USENIX Annual Technical Conference, June 2011. [ Download PDF | Extended technical report (PDF) ]
Philip J. Guo. CDE: Run Any Linux Application On-Demand Without Installation. In Proceedings of the 2011 USENIX Large Installation System Administration Conference (LISA), December 2011. [ Download PDF ]
CDE delivers on one simple promise: If you can run a set of commands on your Linux machine, then CDE allows others to easily re-run those same commands on their Linux machines.
To enable Windows and Mac users to run your CDE packages, you can embed them within a virtual machine (e.g., using a lightweight distro like Tiny Core Linux).
An astute reader will notice that CDE packages might be incomplete since they only contain the files accessed on executed paths. It's easy to manually augment packages with additional files to make them complete.
This 4-minute screencast shows what CDE can do:
Here's a 10-minute overview of a common CDE use case:
If you're really patient, then you can watch my 1-hour Google Tech Talk. I give a 20-minute live demo starting at around 32:00.
CDE is implemented as a single portable binary named "cde". These pre-compiled binaries (released on 2011-08-15) should work on any modern x86-Linux distro:
After downloading, rename the file to "cde", make it executable ("chmod u+x"), and then consult the user manual.
These binaries probably don't contain the latest features and bug fixes. If you want to run the latest version of CDE, you must download and compile its source code. If you don't want to go through this hassle, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be happy to help you with the compilation process. The CDE source code resides in a public GitHub code repository. You can check out the latest copy and compile using these commands:
git clone git://github.com/pgbovine/CDE.git cd CDE make
If you have questions, feedback, bug reports, or feature requests, email me at email@example.com or join the cde-users mailing list.
If you find CDE useful, please take a moment to email me and let me know how you're using it. I want to collect more anecdotes about interesting use cases!