|| ||Jamie Katz <jamie-AT-continentalbooks.com>|
|| ||imurdock-AT-progeny.com, LWN Letters <letters-AT-lwn.net>|
|| ||RE: Toward a new kind of 'Linux distribution'|
|| ||Sat, 28 Feb 2004 20:46:53 -0500|
I really like the concept of "a componentized distribution."
(http://www.newsforge.com/technology/04/02/25/1548203.shtml) Here are a
few thoughts that may help flesh out the idea more.
In the Windows and Mac worlds, you buy (or pirate or "try") one bit of
software at a time. So, to take one example, if you are a web developer,
you get Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro for images, Homesite or BBedit or
Dreamweaver for HTML editing, Cute FTP or Transmit for uploading, and
maybe a few utilities, like some image-map maker.
A Linux "componentized distribution" for web-dev could give you:
* local Apache with the ability to easily set it up to mirror the setup
of the eventual live server in all important ways (i.e., mod-Perl or
not, mySQL or not, PHP with globals on or not etc)
* Konqorer with GUI, fully-integrated SSH wizards to connect to servers
* Quanta with default settings to open/save to the correct dirs
* Ditto the GIMP
* If a "work as a group" option is selected on install, the whole thing
could be CVS driven over a network, with the lan webserver running from
1 designated machine (i.e., the install CD would be passed around, and
would auto-detect the network-setup that the 1st user did)
* Pref files for apps would be consistent, and would be made easy to
access and easy to exchange with co-workers (this would make the whole
team use the same default DOCTYPES, same JPG compression, same shh
passwords, same templates, etc.
* Documentation would have centralized links to the relevent docs, and
an overview specific for this mini-distro, with a description of
workflow, desired output, arguments in favor of doing things their way.
This would be like a "meta-package" but with a bigger emphasis on
configuration, "workgroup" integration, and workflow, so it would be
more of a small distro. Ideally, you'd be able to install it onto any
distro. (Really, the whole thing is just a few docs, a list of programs,
and specific pref settings.)
One group's web-dev mini-distro/meta-package could emphasize a process:
planning to graphic design, to copy writing, to PHP coding, to HTML
integration, to testing. Another group could create a competing web-dev
mini-distro/meta-package centered around extreme programming. Yet
another could emphasize J2EE integration or some crap. To say nothing of
those who'd want to push Bluefish over Quanta or Zeus over Apache or...
No users would care if anything was GNOME or KDE because the integration
would be geared towards specific real-world tasks, not toward the
romantic vision of an integrated EVERYTHING. Right now, in the Linux
world too, this kind of apps collection and configuration is left to the
user. No distro is set up like this out of the box (maybe MOVIX? or
DEMUNDI? But these seem to be trying to be self-contained...). A lot of
energy is spent by users figuring out a good workflow and a good set of
apps; figuring out optimal and integrated configuration; and figuring
out how to easily mirror settings throughout a group of collaborators.
And people who are experts in making great graphic designs may not know
that FTP is insecure, or may not feel comfortable getting a webserver
running -- in other words, many people end up with sub-optimal tools.
Much of the best work of finding these solutions is not freely and
Adobe and Macromedia are sort of trying to sell groups of expensive
integrated programs to handle everything in web development, but they
feel like awful kludges, and key components are missing or are weird
In Linux, we have key components for various tasks that are more than
"good enough" -- we should be able to create several radically different
complete solutions for various tasks -- not just web development, but
music creation, accounting, researching and writing academic papers,
selling a warehouse of widgets, or teaching english as a second language
to 4th graders. But for god's sake, don't include these things in the
latest Slackware ISO!
Comments (4 posted)
|| ||"Eric S. Raymond" <esr-AT-snark.thyrsus.com>|
|| ||Letter of Support to AutoZone|
|| ||Wed, 3 Mar 2004 11:21:56 -0500|
The Linux community, and the wider open-source software movement of
which it is a part, learned this morning that SCO is suing AutoZone
over alleged IP violations related to its move from SCO Unix to
Linux. We regret that you have become the latest victim in the
campaign of barratry, fraud, and stock-kiting that SCO has been
waging. We want you to know that you are not alone, and that you have
in fact just made a great many friends.
Our news channels and web forums are already full of people urging
everybody to go buy something at AutoZone, even if it's as trivial as
an air freshener -- that could be several million new customers for
you. You're also in the same corner with corporate powerhouses like
IBM and cutting-edge outfits like Red Hat Software. These companies
and others have already set up common legal defense funds in
anticipation of further SCO attacks
SCO has filed a complaint around allegations that were denied in
public and on the record two weeks ago by the former AutoZone employee
who led your move to Linux. To those of us who have been following
SCO's five-billion-dollar lawsuit against IBM for the last year, this
is unsurprising; they have yet to produce credible evidence or even
settle on a coherent legal theory in that case, either.
Accordingly, we urge you to fight this lawsuit with every effort you
can muster. It's the right thing to do by AutoZone's shareholders, and
more generally as well. Thoughtful people everywhere are seeing in
meritless IP lawsuits an increasing drag on innovation and economic
health. AutoZone can both serve its own interests and do good by
helping make such parasitic tactics generally unprofitable.
We'll be with you -- and that "we" includes a lot of expertise on the
technical, legal, and historical issues bound up in SCO's lawsuit. If
there is any assistance that I personally or the Open Source
Initiative can reasonably provide, please do not hesitate to ask.
(This letter is on the Web at http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/autozone.html)
<a href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/">Eric S. Raymond</a>
I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the
Constitution which grant[s] a right to Congress of expending, on
objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.
-- James Madison, 1794
Comments (1 posted)
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