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Re: Yet another Linux distribution! :-)

On 1 May 1998, Jim Pick wrote:

> I'd like to see more people announce that they want to develop their
> own "subset" Linux distributions based on Debian.  I'd be willing to
> collaborate on tools to make this easier.

   Interesting.  I'm starting up an ISP with a Debian focus, and planning
to produce configuration-packages which will be added into the local
Debian mirror, producing a (barely) derivative Linux distribution.
I suspect many consultants and ISPs will begin doing this.  I worry about
name collisions in real derivatives though.
   We may need some new policies with respect to derivatives, so we avoid
clashes.  Off the top of my head:
1) Derivatives are allocated a subdirectory in /opt by Debian.

2) Derivatives should place files only in /opt.  Links into the main
/usr/bin directories may be made via alternatives and diversions, or
perhaps we'll need a third method to manage the merge (adding directories
to the default environment seems second-class, and will complicate things
for the derivative-users). 

3) Derivative package names should start with "[derivative]-".  We'll
promise not to produce any packages that start with registered derivative

   Package sources that are easy to redirect to /opt would also be useful
for producing .debs for non-Debian systems.  It would be great to have
/opt/debian on Irix (I'm always slipping behind keeping the free software 
up-to-date on it).

   Of coure, derivatives would be free to ignore any guidelines.  They
just wouldn't get much sympathy when things broke. :)

> The Debian distribution "proper" may never have more market share than
> the commercial distributions such as Red Hat, Caldera, and SuSe.
> However, it is entirely possible that derivative subset distributions
> of Debian could dominate the Linux marketplace (especially given the
> technical superiority of Debian).

   Maybe.  I suspect they'll be niche markets mostly, as the mainstream
Debian is such a moving target, and will likely be ahead of a derivative
in most applications. It just wouldn't have the focus. 

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