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free "enterprise" Linux distro

free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 9, 2003 6:27 UTC (Thu) by snitm (guest, #4031)
Parent article: An Evening with Bruce Perens

I work for a company that will likely be interested in getting involved in the development of this free enterprise distro. This is right inline with what we've been thinking is the ideal solution for our Linux distro needs.

How many of you think this is something that would gain traction in the community?

The 2 problems I see with it being based on debian is:
1) its lack of native RPM support (aka the unfortunate LSB package format of choice).
2) Getting other commercial software providers to certify their products against a non-RedHat/non-SuSe "enterprise" distro.

Aside from that debian is ideal for such a distro.

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free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 9, 2003 7:12 UTC (Thu) by stuart (subscriber, #623) [Link]

um Debian does have native rpm support. apt-get install alien


free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 9, 2003 10:27 UTC (Thu) by zonker (subscriber, #7867) [Link]

I wouldn't call Alien "native" support for RPMs -- IIRC, there are a few steps required to convert an RPM to a Debian package for installation. Alien if fine for a single user converting a few RPMs for use on their Debian box, but it's not what I'd want to use for managing a large number of packages in an enterprise environment. There's also the issue of differences between systems -- so dependencies and such may be somewhat different, and the package converted from RPM to Debian format may not be used interchangeably.

free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 10, 2003 2:52 UTC (Fri) by Luyseyal (guest, #15693) [Link]

Apt supports RPMs and dependency resolution natively. As long as they're not some shitty third party RPMs, they will work fine with Apt.

free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 11, 2003 17:42 UTC (Sat) by piman (subscriber, #8957) [Link]

The 'differences between systems' is what the LSB fixes, so LSB-compliant RPMs should all convert file with alien. Otherwise it's either a bug in alien, or in the RPM.

free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 9, 2003 10:45 UTC (Thu) by tomsi (subscriber, #2306) [Link]

One import thing that Debian is missing is a decent installation program - like SuSE/RedHat/Mandrake

This is needed, because people who aren't used to linux will probably balk at the current install routines.

Other important issues.
* The stable version must be more up-to-date than the official stable debian level.
* Some of us need Oracle certification; other people needs other certifications.

Just my 2 cents.


free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 9, 2003 13:33 UTC (Thu) by smoogen (subscriber, #97) [Link]

I have to agree with that.. I did an install recently of the stable product and while it was better than it was 2-3 years ago.. it was not what I could sell to management. I am not talking about pretty pictures etc etc. I am talking about putting a floppy/cdrom into 20 machines and having them installed and updated in 15 minutes.

Now while this is probably possible with Debian.. it wasnt as easy to figure out as the Red Hat install.

free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 9, 2003 14:20 UTC (Thu) by snitm (guest, #4031) [Link]

with regard to debian stable needing to be more up-to-date (I agree); but I'd imagine that debian's _unstable_ is likely more stable than alot of what we'll see from RHEL3.0 in the initial release. RedHat hasn't won me over with their distribution quality/stability. That said, I hope I'm pleasantly surprised with RHEL3.0 because ultimately I'm forced to support it ;)

free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 9, 2003 22:01 UTC (Thu) by JoeBuck (guest, #2330) [Link]

Even Debian unstable is rather backward compared to the leading GNU/Linux distributions. It has Gnome 2.2 (not 2.4), Xfree86 4.2.1 (not 4.3), etc. At least KDE is only one point release behind, and KDE 3.1.4 only shipped in September so this is good. But given the lengthy process to get a release out, I fear that sarge will be a year behind the competition on the day it ships. Debian seems to do very well with packages that don't have complex dependencies, packaging nearly everything under the sun. But they seem to be having far more trouble with X and the big desktops.

Now, Debian labors under some handicaps: the fact that they support 11 architectures often means that they have to make packages work on oddball hardware that the upstream developers haven't seen.

Decent installer non-issue for enterprise distribution?

Posted Oct 9, 2003 14:40 UTC (Thu) by Max.Hyre (guest, #1054) [Link]

I can see how you'd want a gee-whiz installer if you were a home user, or a business owner wanting to do the work yourself.

But if this is really meant to be an ``Enterprise'' (as in at least hundreds of desktops plus the servers needed to support them and the corporate workload), I'd expect the support staff to be perfectly comfortable with debconf. Set up a server, a firewall, and a desktop, and clone as needed. Once that's complete, apt-get should lower the maintenance level to well below that needed by RPMs.

And if I were running a corporate server, I'd be perfectly happy with `stable', 'cause it sure is, and that's what I'd want. If an `unstable' package is the only one meeting a requirement, then install it, but if the servers run smoothly and do what's asked of them, what do I care what level they're running at?

Certification (especially Oracle and their ilk) is another question, but if they certified against `stable' we have yet another reason to stay put until necessity calls.

Decent installer non-issue for enterprise distribution?

Posted Oct 9, 2003 17:57 UTC (Thu) by tomsi (subscriber, #2306) [Link]

I can understand that large organizations can cope with debconf; but there are other markeds for an Enterprise level servers, eg. the SOHO market. Those markets needs an easy to use installer with sensible package choices.

I have never used apt-get myself, but I must agree that it sounds like a good choice for the day-to-day maintenance needs.

I think that one of the reasons that Oracle don't certifiy against "stable" is that it is too conservative (IMHO).

Decent installer non-issue for enterprise distribution?

Posted Oct 11, 2003 17:45 UTC (Sat) by piman (subscriber, #8957) [Link]

Oracle doesn't certify against stable because to have Oracle certify you, they need support staff from your company in their call centers. You, the OS vendor, have to pay for this. Even if Debian had the money, it would be a violation of the Social Contract to spend it on overpriced support staff for a proprietary company.

free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 9, 2003 14:17 UTC (Thu) by wolfrider (guest, #3105) [Link]

RPM is overrated, especially when rpm-based distros are including .deb support package-getters like "yum".

free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 9, 2003 14:30 UTC (Thu) by seyman (subscriber, #1172) [Link]

What does yum have to do with .deb packages?

free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 9, 2003 14:32 UTC (Thu) by snitm (guest, #4031) [Link]

yep, RPM pretty much sucks.... unfortunately its the chosen package format/manager of the LSB.

Also, yum and apt-get (for rpm) can't hold a candle to Debian's apt-get w/ dpkg/deb on the backend. Debian packaging allows for much more package sophistication, BUT attaining that level of debian packaging sophistication has a sizeable learning curve that will likely impose some serious hurdles and doubt in the minds of existing rpm-based distribution software vendors and enterprise customers.

Its unfortunate really, but Debian has generally prided itself on making aspiring debian developers run the deb packaging guantlet in order to prove they've got the required deb-fu. That's something that'll have to be lessened; possibly by leveraging some of the build systems that are coming into light from developers in the debian community.

free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 9, 2003 14:52 UTC (Thu) by Klavs (guest, #10563) [Link]

I was thinking that Distro such as Gentoo would be good for such a project.
Gentoo has ofcourse it's Portage - which supports packages and all that. It is definetely a long way behind Debian's dpkg system in that it doesn't do dependencies very quickly or very well yet.

My reason for pointing to this distro, is that it fully supports dpkg and rpm packages on the same system. Only thing needed for this to work flawlessly, is to "tell" the different packages systems which dependencies are actually covered by another packaging system. If this was worked out - you would have a VERY flexible system, with support for whatever packages you wanted.

The cool thing about using portage (the Gentoo package system) is that you can have your own versions of certain packages (not all of them - there is GRP - and there will be a continously updated, fully-binary, set of packages soon too), which means that people needing this - and many people do, can have this satisfied without having to write their own packages (requires a great deal of knowledge IMHO - I do it for customers - but it also means they have to maintain this, which also requires knowledge), and this also means that the system still can watch out what packages needs updating, and the only extra work for them (as opose to using the binary package) is a little extra compiling work - but NOTHING more - they don't need to understand anything - and the usual system security stuff can notice the package needs updating, and the package system can fully un-install their "special/custom" package.

I'll stop myself, before I keep blurting out my ideas, but I hope you can see what I mean :)

free "enterprise" Linux distro

Posted Oct 9, 2003 18:07 UTC (Thu) by snitm (guest, #4031) [Link]

The level of control over gentoo that Daniel Robbins has jockied to maintain is SCARY, e.g.: the portage2 spat or the embedded gentoo brouhaha.

Unilateral decisions, or abuse of power, in a project as big as Gentoo is hugely detrimental to the moral of all involved in its development. I doubt many companies would be willing to give it a go with Gentoo based on Daniel Robbins' track record. To be fair, maybe I'm missing Daniel's point of view... *shrug*

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