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Re: Integrate Knoppix in Debian (was: Re: Debian Enterprise?)

On Sat, Nov 29, 2003 at 12:16:07PM +0100, Benj. Mako Hill wrote:
> I'm not sure about this. Debian-NP's bootable CD has (some) code in it
> that's not in Debian but I wouldn't say the work is categorically
> non-Debian since the *VAST* majority of data on the CD is pure
> debian.org debs. 

That means it's, categorically, a Debian derivative. Nothing wrong with
that, though. Nothing _at all_.

> More importantly, I don't think it's worth dragging this discussion
> out. We have identical goals and I think that right now we should
> focus on those goals, and on accomplishing them, more than labels.

Labels can help that though -- it's pretty hard to discuss things without
using words.

> > The goal has to be a clean Debian install and no Knoppix-like hack.
> I'm not claiming you disagree with this but I think that the goal
> should rather be to work within the Debian system to create a space
> for Custom distributions *and* bootable CDs (custom, vanilla,
> whatever) in a way that removes any need for Knoppix-like hacks.

So last year (well, early this year), Bdale came up with the idea of
"flavours", which unfortunately hasn't really gone anywhere yet. That idea
basically goes "If Debian is the Universal Operating System -- that is,
it can do everything you might want -- then doing any particular thing
is just a matter of choosing some subset of Debian packages". That is,
that custom CDs should just be a matter of saying "these are the packages
that non-profits want -- please grab them, then burn them onto a bootable
CD for me". No extra hacks, extra debs, or anything else -- they're all
included in Debian.

Obviously, that doesn't work yet.

The alternative is to look at Debian as a base, which has most of the
stuff you wantbut doesn't do everything quite right, and then build
derived distributions that fix the minor mistakes and fill in the missing
bits to make it exactly what you want. 

That does work now, and it's what Knoppix and a bunch of others do,
quite successfully.

The issue isn't "getting rid of the hacks", it's integrating them
into Debian.  That's hard, because we'd want to make them work on 11
architectures rather than just one, and because we'd want it all to work
automatically, rather than needing to be done by hand.


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

               Linux.conf.au 2004 -- Because we can.
           http://conf.linux.org.au/ -- Jan 12-17, 2004

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