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

On Sun, Nov 30, 2003 at 04:57:01PM +0100, Benj. Mako Hill wrote:
> > That means it's, categorically, a Debian derivative. Nothing wrong with
> > that, though. Nothing _at all_.
> I agree, the code we have is obviously a derivative of the core Debian
> distribution. From a less purely technical vantage, I see Debian-NP as
> a Debian *internal* project.

Sure. I'm more interested in the technical vantage than the organisational
one though.

> Some of our work is and can not be, for technical reasons, part of the
> vanilla Debian but we're working hard on fixing this and we're not
> unlike something like experimental in that way really.

And like I said: derivative distributions, like Debian-NP, Knoppix,
Adamantix, whatever, are a Good Thing. IMO, there's absolutely no need to
justify yourself with "we're trying to integrate it back in, really
we are!"

> I don't know if I'd agree with the fact that it hasn't really gone
> anyway.

Well, we were talking about and trying to implement it at the start of
the year, if we're not doing anything more than talk about it and try
to implement it now, it hasn't gone anywhere.

> We also decided that flavors, subprojects, metadistros, and other
> projects who were interested in customizing Debian *from within* and
> that "Custom Debian Distribution" was the term we could all agree on
> and that we all thought was clear.

Sure, that's a good general term, but it conflates both flavours and
derivative distros. Which is the same as saying "human" conflates both
"men" and "women" -- sometimes you want to ignore the differences,
but sometimes you don't.

> I think that work by groups like Skolelinux and others under the
> banner of creating custom distros has been inspired by and working
> toward Bdale's flavors. 

Well, custom distributions have their own incentive: getting the perfect
distribution for a particular group. Whether that be schools, or people
who don't want to have to touch their hard drive to try out Linux,
or something else. That alone doesn't necessarily mean they should
be trying to use a pure Debian install -- sometimes it's /better/ to
maintain a different codebase.

> > 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.
> I think we're going to end up on a hybrid situation when we need to do
> some of (b) because waiting for the infrasture (which we will have to
> help create of course) for (a) will take to long and we'd like to give
> people something to use in the meantime. :)

That's where we already are -- people doing (b) because we can't do
(a).  What we'd like to end up with is most people who need a custom
distribution having the _choice_ to do (a) or (b).

(Or, alternatively, we want people *not* to have to make the choice
between runing Debian and having a custom distribution)


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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