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choose slackware or debian?

Hello list,

We are planing to develop a next-generation server appliance as our
product. We used to develop from slackware 7.0 as the old version with
16MB DOM on it. However, we hope to use hard disk drive in the next
generation product.
Now, I am wondering if it is wise to change from slackware to debian as
the core Linux distribution in the next generation product platform. My
point is:

1. Debian has bigger development community than Slackware

2. Debian has 3-tier open-developing model; slackware is kind of
close and conservative  in this way

3. Debian has better package management and better system integrity,
which is a very important feature in a dedicated Linux server appliance;
Slacware bosats its system consistency and Unix tarball philosophy.

4. Debian has an open bug tracking system; Slackware does not(I can't
find any).

My question is, how can I get the current development status of each,
e.g. number of official developers of each and how did the number
increase or decrease in the last years; how many packages currently in
each distribution and how much user base of each?

I hope to get enough information to help me make the right decision.
Well, maybe I  also have to  evaluate other aspect in addition to
development model and its user base. Anyway, I wish to hear any
suggestions and information from here.

Patrick Hsieh <pahud@pahud.net>
GPG public key http://pahud.net/pubkeys/pahudatpahud.gpg

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