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Re: FreeBSD-like approach for Debian? [was: Re: Deficiencies in Debian]

On Wed, Sep 15, 1999 at 02:34:55PM +0300, Eray Ozkural wrote:
> I'm not a debian developer yet (and seems like I won't even attempt till I
> feel that new maintainers are welcome),

If you've got a really useful package done up that you think would add to
Debian, get someone to sponsor you.

If you've got some free time, and just want to help, write some manpages,
fix some bugs, work on boot-floppies, stuff like that.

Activity like that's *very* welcome.

> However, making the base system as tight and as versatile as possible, I
> think has it benefits. Hmm, like how a small and open microkernel is the
> first condition for a modular OS core, the base system must be very
> selective about what is contained, and how new "module"s are introduced.

I maintain netbase, so here's some comments from my perspective. netbase
currently includes ipfwadm, ipchains, ipmasqadm, ipautofw and will soon
also contain netfilter. These all perform the same basic tasks: NAT (masq)
and firewalling. ipfwadm and ipautofw are for 2.0 kernels, ipchains and
ipmasqadm are for 2.2 kernels, and netfilter is for 2.3 kernels. There's
some backwards compatability, but if you (as a distributor) want to
work with all three kernel series, you have to provide all three sets
of utilities.

These all get updated fairly frequently, because, quite frankly, we still
haven't worked out a decent API for firewalling and NAT. netfilter looks
like being pretty good for everyone, but it's obviously not production
ready, so the others are still necessary.

What I'm trying to say is that the core parts of the OS are still heavily
under development. Sure that makes it hard to make releases, but it makes
what we eventually release _better_.

> BTW, keeping the source code of the base system in an integrated way is
> also useful, the base source could be responsible for defining some system
> characteristics and the boot environment. This might also make some base
> configuration possible: baseconf? I'm not sure, but it could help porting
> to other kernels as well...

`baseconf', is, I guess, what the bootfloppies' dinstall program does. If
you're interested, you could probably mangle dinstall and debconf to come
up with something that achieves all that and more.

> Another issue is the division of Debian archives and development into
> logical sections such that development gets a speed-up. In that respect, a
> minimal change to the current organization is necessary.

Help make the current system work. Spend a couple of months on that, then
start thinking about what can be changed, having been a part of it on the
inside, as well as just watching.

It's really not as horrible as everyone seems to want to make out. It's
got us to being among the very best distributions on just about every
level, and it's managing to keep us there, too.

aj, wondering at what point he should killfile the naysayers instead of
    trying to refute them

Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. PGP encrypted mail preferred.

 ``The thing is: trying to be too generic is EVIL. It's stupid, it 
        results in slower code, and it results in more bugs.''
                                        -- Linus Torvalds

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