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Re: Debian GNU userland for SunOS

Chad Miller wrote:
>From the responses I've received, I guess I should be more precise in
what I'd like to do:

(Cross-?)Compile GNU programs for SunOS, and release them.  No kernel, no
Sun binaries, &c.  It should contain exactly everything that's released
with Debian Linux or Hurd, except the kernel, and kernel loader.

We had a similar discussion on debian-beowulf and debian-devel. We were
talking about the kind of support needed to make debian the-os-of-choice for
large scale clusters and infrastructures. Actually, what you're suggesting is a port,
just like the Hurd. And that might not become as easy as it seems now, though
lots of packages should compile and run without problems. Our approach was to
sort of "debianize" a host OS by providing all services that you would expect from
a debian system on the "other" OS, and avoid a true port.
The installation procedure should partition disks or at least wipe them,
preserving whatever kernel and boot-necessary stuff is already there, and
removing everything that's userland-related.  It then installs a FHS-
compliant, GNU system.
Just like hurd, freebsd, and win32 ports, right?
It's not an operating system, exactly, so calling it Debian GNU/SunOS is
misleading, so that will have to be addressed.  Ideas?  Flames?
I think the Debian GNU/SunOS is not misleading, as it does adhere to the
"software/kernel" format.

Let me distinguish between two kinds of ports:
- true port: you port all the whole debian system, and the new system has
debian and only debian. It's a GNU system, along with the kernel and other
low level facilities as may be required.
- soft port: that's an installation of the host system untouched, however augmented
for inter-operability with Debian programs. You could envision that packaging
system, and the Debian "glue" systems, such as "update-alternatives" proggy
are there and working. So that system becomes a quasi-Debian system. I'm sure
many people won't like this idea since the resulting system won't be as consistent,
perhaps, and elegant as a standalone Debian system, but has its advantages of

It'd seemed to us that a soft port might be attainable, at somewhat unpredictable costs.
It could also demand some more abstraction of certain Debian services for the
implementation, but it would really make life easier for any kind of infrastructure.

Think of it like this: you have a plain Solaris system, you like some of its stuff, but you
don't want to stick to some of its "features", also you want easy admin., etc. Plus, you
want to be able to use free software on this machine, but with a modern and established
method. A soft-port of Debian, I think is then a good solution to this problem. It would somehow
emulate a Debian system on a non-Debian system, to the extent it is wise to do so. If you want
free desktop software on your Solaris, then this might make sense. Or if you would like config
management, remote monitoring, and other cluster/infrastructure stuff for it, then it would be
advisable as well.

But the implementation would have some complications, and it must be considered whether
it'd be feasible.

 ++++-+++-+++-++-++-++--+---+----+----- ---  --  -  - 
 +  Eray "eXa" Ozkural                   .      .   .  . . .
 +  CS, Bilkent University, Ankara             ^  .  o   .      .
 |  mail: erayo@cs.bilkent.edu.tr                .  ^  .   .
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