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Distribution quotes of the week

Distribution quotes of the week

Posted Nov 29, 2012 18:20 UTC (Thu) by jspaleta (subscriber, #50639)
In reply to: Distribution quotes of the week by rsidd
Parent article: Distribution quotes of the week

You don't think the UI is part of a platform definition?

So for iOS the UI and the associated API it exposes is not part of the "platform" defintion? For osX? For win8 the UI and the associated API it exposes is not part of the "platform"?
For Android.....
For Maemo....
For WebOS....

I think the exact opposite. I think right now, to be competitive in the marketplace as a platform for a range of consumer oriented computing devices that are meant to be extendable with add-on application software.... the "platform" definition is generally expected to include the UI to build a bridge to those application developers.

I believe that "Canonical" is opting to build a distinctive platform..yes.
I believe there are compelling strategic business realities which make that sort of differentiation inevitable really. OEMs want a partner, and that partner needs to pitch a distinctive platform to be compelling to those OEMs.

I think its inaccurate to claim that "Ubuntu: The project" or "Ubuntu: The community" is attempting to build a platform. The platform building effort is very much a Canonical strategic effort. "Ubuntu: The project" and "Ubuntu: The community" to a large degree are trying to maximize what is offered under the project resource constraints. The fact that we are talking about "Ubuntu" building a platform at all is just the side-effect of the choice Canonical has made to intermix community/project and product interests under a common brand. I'm somewhat hopeful that the Unity brand becomes stronger and that they start pushing the Unity brand as the platform brand instead of overloading the Ubuntu brand. Calling it the "Unity Platform" is much cleaner strategically than calling what they are building the "Ubuntu Platform."

That being said, I think the Unity platform, would be made stronger in the marketplace if Ubuntu adopted systemd, even at this late date.

-jef


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Distribution quotes of the week

Posted Nov 29, 2012 19:40 UTC (Thu) by el_presidente (guest, #87621) [Link]

> You don't think the UI is part of a platform definition?

It's the blog post that mentions a "linux platform". Since Linux doesn't have a standard UI, it's not clear what Lennart is referring to.

Distribution quotes of the week

Posted Nov 29, 2012 20:39 UTC (Thu) by jspaleta (subscriber, #50639) [Link]

Linux as a platform does not yet exist. "Linux: the platform" is something being worked toward slowly.

"Linux: the kernel" is a technology building block that can be used as part of a "platform." "Android: the platform" is one such construction. "WebOS: the platform" was another. There have been others as well, its clear to me at least that Canonical is moving toward defining a platform where "linux: the kernel" es muy importante.

Can "we" find enough consensus to be able to define "Linux: the platform?"

I'm not sure we can. Platforms are not least common denominator sorts of things. More realistically we are going to see a family of strongly branded platforms, with strong but diverse API policies. Each leveraging "linux: the kernel" and each legitimately being able to claim being a "linux platform" but not necessarily "the linux platform". making linux a very weak platform brand.

We would be better served right now if we admitted that, encouraged the use of distinct platform branding, while simultaneously encouraging and agitating for standardization on plumbing level components which sit above the kernel across those platforms.

The real question is how far up the stack can we get commonality? I think systemd brings enough benefits to the table to be part of the shared stack of platforms which make use of "linux: the kernel". It might be disruptive for some, but significant technology improvements tend to be.

-jef

Distribution quotes of the week

Posted Nov 30, 2012 4:26 UTC (Fri) by rsidd (subscriber, #2582) [Link]

You don't think the UI is part of a platform definition?
Indeed I don't, at least not on Linux. There has never been a standard UI. Even today, on a daily basis I use programs that use xlib, motif/lesstif, tcl/tk, as well as GTK and Qt. And in what sense is Unity a "platform"? It depends on Gtk just as much as GNOME3 does, and all the same software runs on it. And if Ubuntu uses lightdm instead of gdm, who cares? How does it affect the platform?

The linux platform is a system on which you can run the linux versions of Adobe Reader, Skype, Opera, Mathematica, Matlab, Google Earth, and various other proprietary software in addition to the usual open-source software. It exists and it works, and GDM/GNOME3/lightdm/unity/systemd/upstart are not essential parts of it. Defining a "Linux platform" that includes systemd or GNOME3 will not increase the availability of proprietary software, either.

Distribution quotes of the week

Posted Dec 2, 2012 21:57 UTC (Sun) by tpo (subscriber, #25713) [Link]

> Defining a "Linux platform" that includes systemd or GNOME3 will
> not increase the availability of proprietary software, either.

I'm not sure. If "defining" means some random persons decrees it, then no, it probably won't change anything.

If the biggest desktop distro says "we chose these technologies, and we'll be using them during the next 10 years and we guarantee they will be around during that period", then that'd be different.

When you write desktop SW, there's some choices you have to make:

* widget set?
* indicators?
* desktop integration (desktop tray)?
* configuration management?
* display/editing of files based on ... mime?
* setting up services?
* etc.

Now if you know you have a stable platform to program against that will be able to reach the majority of your users for the next 10 years, than that's a big bonus for you (the developper/company).

Distribution quotes of the week

Posted Dec 6, 2012 9:56 UTC (Thu) by yeti-dn (guest, #46560) [Link]

> If the biggest desktop distro says "we chose these technologies, and we'll
> be using them during the next 10 years and we guarantee they will be
> around during that period", then that'd be

an utter lie.

To give you a brief idea what 10 years means, 10 years ago Fedora did not exist yet. Neither did Firefox, cups, udev, Xorg X server, ...

The only thing guaranteed by such promise would be that the desktop distro itself will no longer exist in 10 years (should they choose to stick to it).

Distribution quotes of the week

Posted Dec 6, 2012 10:10 UTC (Thu) by rsidd (subscriber, #2582) [Link]

And yet, Ubuntu Dapper was released in June 2006 and supported for five years as promised. It does not seem impossible to me that a 10 year guarantee of stable technologies would work. In a sense it already does -- binaries written in 2002 (or 1992) are quite usable today provided you have the compatibility libraries. To claim that systemd and Gnome3 will be supported as "platforms" for 10 years means that vendor will supply compatible versions of those things on all releases for ten years, even if nobody else does and even if a totally incompatible Gnome4 is released in 2014. It can be done.

Don't use phrases like "utter lie" lightly.

Distribution quotes of the week

Posted Dec 6, 2012 10:26 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

go back and look at what was supported in Dapper for those 5 years.

I believe that it didn't include 'desktop' things, only 'server' things

also look at how much (or how little) is supported in the RHEL2/3/4 releases over time.

some parts of the stack are pretty stable, these include the kernel, webserve, and sysV init.

other parts are very unstable, and maintinance of 'frozen' ports is not practical. These include Firefox, Gnome, and probably, given it's current rate of change and development, systemd init and udev.

Distribution quotes of the week

Posted Dec 6, 2012 10:31 UTC (Thu) by tpo (subscriber, #25713) [Link]

I'm not sure if yeti-dn's comment is more than trolling. You rsidd mentioned Ubuntu's 5 year guarantee. I'd add Red Hat's [1]:

"Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and 6 are offered with 10 years of Production Phase support, followed by a three year Extended Life Phase."

*t

[1] https://access.redhat.com/support/policy/updates/errata/

Distribution quotes of the week

Posted Dec 9, 2012 10:34 UTC (Sun) by yeti-dn (guest, #46560) [Link]

Five years are about the edge for a desktop system. Both in the sense that it is doable since things are starting to fall apart but the technologies have not diverged too far yet and it may be still acceptable for conservative users.

Please go and read the actual conditions for RHEL. The later stages and extended support are clearly meant to just keep installed systems running. You get no new features, no support for newer hardware, services, file formats, etc. This is fine for a server that has a dedicated task to do. It is also fine for a single-purpose user machine, for instance used to control an instrument where you do not want, ideally, any changes at all (hence, little support). But this discussion started about desktop distros. And for a desktop (as in general purpose user system), not being able to connect most hardware newer than 10 years old, open any file formats that have appeared or changed substantially in last 10 years, use various services due to too ancient clients, ..., is deadly.

Also note you pay rather a lot for RHEL support -- fixing security holes in ten years old programs is terribly ungrateful work. Since community distros cannot make the contributors do it, those that tried to introduce this kind of long term support have all failed.

Distribution quotes of the week

Posted Dec 9, 2012 17:46 UTC (Sun) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

But let's be clear, the extended support kicks in at the end of life, a life that does include feature updates so you'd have to count from the end of feature updates, not from the beginning ship date. Also, CentOS for those who aren't going to pay. In any event, as you say, the refresh rate for desktops is 5yrs or so which would bring new versions of the supported enterprise-style OS, one like RHEL which is highly backwards compatible with previous releases


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