Over the past week, my boss and I have had discussions about the niche
left by RedHat, and the possibility of working on a
distribution/sub-project aimed at enterprise folks. The plan is to target
those RedHat users and companies who are unwilling (or unable) to pay for
RedHat Enterprise Linux, but need HA features. Our company falls into
this category, but made the RedHat->Debian switch earlier on.
Currently, we're forced to maintain our own kernels, compile apache/php
from source, and use a few backports to woody. What we really need is:
* a kernel that supports things like IPVS (Linux Virtual Server), UML (the
skas host patch), 64-bit smbfs support, and various other things.
RedHat's kernel had a slew of 2.6 backports, as well as HA stuff thrown in
there. We need something like that (only less extreme; RH liked their
experimental kernel features a bit too much).
* Updated server-related packages; for example, we definitely need a php4
package newer than 4.1.2, and preferably built against apache2.
I can think of a few ways to offer the above. The first is a standalone
distribution, based on debian but with various enhancements (not a novel
idea, by any means). We could either base this on testing, doing snapshot
releases every 3-6 months, and offering security fixes, or
on stable w/ various backports. We would probably
have a stripped-down installer based on d-i, w/ the stock kernel being
similar to redhat's kernel.
Another way would be to have a debian sub-project; this would have a
kernel that includes extra (enterprise) features
(kernel-image-2.4.22-enterprise-1-686smp), amongst other things. I'd also
like to see enhancements to d-i, work done to ease things like php into
testing, and (if based around testing) security updates for testing.
If folks are at all interested in this sort of thing, please let me know.
Our long-term goals for this are to hire a developer or two (part or
full time) to help maintain this project, as long as it's something we
(and our clients) can use and support.
Suggestions are most welcome.