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Re: Will 5.0.1 be more than another live-cd?

Le 28 Avril 2006 17:17, Klaus Knopper a écrit :

> Hello Gilles,

Salut Klaus,

> On Fri, Apr 28, 2006 at 04:27:35PM -0400, Gilles wrote:
> > For two years now, I've been looking for a distro that would be
> > as GPLed, stable, secure and up to date as Slackware, but with
> > more software available, better upgrade and management tools and
> > a better organized community (forum, mailing list, whatever...)
> >
> > Of course, Debian tops this list... save for being up to date.
> > Sarge is now almost one year old and there is so much talk about
> > making more timely releases that there is no doubt in my mind the
> > next release should be in two or three years :) I've tried other
> > Debian-based distro, but they don't make the grade on one count
> > or another. Only Knoppix appears to me as a viable alternative.
> Why only Knoppix?

Well, IANAP, so I must judge from the final product, how well it works 
and how much care goes into its conception. If I see a RC 17 live-cd 
with a rather confusing set of boot options and the hard disks still 
being mounted RW, I suppose it doesn't bode well for the quality of 
the underpinnings.

I find Knoppix has not failed to pursue its goal of providing good 
hardware detection with Debian. It looks to me as a clean product. It 
hasn't got too many glitches. I trust it.

> > On Jamuary 12th, Klaus wrote:
> >
> > "And we may be able to replace some knoppix-patched
> > Debian-packages (like sysvinit) by the original ones using some
> > script-based "evil hacks" instead, in order to make them behave
> > like the earlier live-cd versions."
> >
> > So, I'm wondering if KNX 5.0.1 will be this more
> > Debian-compatible release, if it will be more than just a
> > live-cd, that is, a CD certified for a good basic Debian
> > installation.
> The Knoppix 5.0 prerelease on Cebit 2006 already contains the
> genuine Debian version of sysvinit, this could already make
> dist-upgrades (including libc) easier because there are no
> knoppix-specific packages that must be recompiled anymore (at least
> I think so).

> Still, in order to have a current KDE while keeping the rest of the
> system stable, you should first update KDE from unstable, and then
> run an upgrade on the rest from testing and stable. That's of
> course just a recommendation, and what I'm doing every now and
> then.

Yyyes. But as the time it takes you to move from 5 to 5.0.1 seems to 
prove, it does require some finishing touches. I'm sure Average Joe, 
that's including me, would be glad to upgrade from 4.02 to 5.0.1 -- I 
believe that's now possible ? -- and just patch for security 

> > This would be
> > wonderful, as it could bring Linux many new users. But then,
> > security updates for testing should be available. Is it the case?
> Well, the security updates for testing are rather appearing in
> unstable, still.

The official Debian position is that neither testing or unstable are 
security patched. But there seems to be a project for patching 
testing here:


It says:

"The Debian testing security team is a group of debian developers and 
users who are working to improve the state of security in Debian's 
testing branch. Lack of security support for testing has long been 
one of the key problems to using testing, and we aim to eventually 
provide full security support for testing."

Eventually... How the project stands now, I dunno.

> > I believe I gathered that Klaus does not want to provide support
> > for a Linux distro :)
> I simply don't have the resources to do a lot of user support,
> neither free nor commercially. If anyone would like to provide a
> callcenter, just go on and maybe make a lot of money. :-)

> > but Suse doesn't support Opensuse either and Red Hat
> > doesn't support Fedora, so I don't believe this is a problem.
> They have a "commercial version" as alternative to the "community
> version", which means people can buy a support package for the
> distro with a fancy name. It's of course a valid business model,
> but not something that I see myself doing personally at this time.

What I meant is that OpenSuse and Fedora are community supported. I 
believe Average Joe is usually satisfied with this kind of support... 
that is, if a list or forum is available. Alt.os.linux.slackware is 
certainly bound to get more people /away from/ than /interested in/ 

> > Maybe in ten years from now Debian
> > will be released every year but that's going to be too late for
> > me. If Knoppix, doesn't offer a solution for average Joe, I'm
> > going to switch to OpenSuse, which I would thing fits pretty much
> > all my criteria...
> Just go on, everybody should use the distro he/she can work best
> with.

As I said, my only worry is that Suse's commitment to the GPL does not 
seem clear at all. Proselytizing Linux in the interest of a company 
makes me more than uneasy.

> My primary goal in Knoppix is not to make things easier as they
> are. Making things LOOK easy while they are not, and just HIDING
> the technology behind, will lead to a huge knowledge gap between
> users (or rather "consumers" in this case) and people who actually
> understand what they are doing and being able to make their own
> decisions.

I have a friend who's a self-taught electronic engineer. One day, I 
told him that after all those 30 years that I've seen him working on 
DSLAMs or gadgets to measure levels of chemicals in sewers, or 
whatever, he must know quite a bit about electronics by now. He 
answered that the more you know, the better you measure the depth of 
your ignorance.

And that's just electronics.  These days, I have to read articles from 
medical sites. When it's vulgarisation for the general public, there 
are quite a few things that I understand. But when you get into 
research papers, it's all about utmostly complex microbiology and I 
even doubt that most doctors read this stuff.

We are getting in a very complex world. But because computer science 
is a new science and it deals with pretty much every other science, 
nerds think that everybody should know about it. I, for one, would 
prefer that my physician learn more about microbiology than dig into 
an operating system. I'd be very glad if only Average Joe read The 
Linux Pocket Guide. It would be a first stepping stone for that 1% 
who, one day, might want to learn more.

> In my thinking, there is a certain minimum of "knowing what you are
> doing" that is required for using ANY operating system efficiently,
> that everyone should acquire before using software. If you use a
> phone, you also need to know what mst of the buttons are doing, and
> for example, why you are being charged for it if you dial a number.

Yes, but recently there was a program on computer security on national 
television. And it's a would-be scientific vilgarisation program. The 
role that Microsoft played and still plays in making the net such an 
unsafe place was never mentioned. On a radio program, two weeks 
later, security was only a matter of getting the right virus 
detector... for Windows, of course. Nothing existed, safe Windows.

The average Linux user knows better. That's why I say it's important 
to get people to Linux, however little they know. On average, they'll 
soon know more than Windows users.

> So, I'm not trying to make things "easy" in Knoppix, but rather
> provide tools that make setting up things quicker, like scripts for
> setting up a bootserver, or scripts for saving configuration files.
> This is probably not what you have in mind when saying it must be
> fit for the average Joe. Maybe average Joe should rather be
> encouraged to learn a few things (like security issues and how data
> is stored securely) before starting to use a computer, just like
> you need to obtain a drivers license (which means you have learned
> some basic knowledge) before driving a car.

Running a computer is more complex than running a car. Make the first 
Linux step too high, people will stay with Windows.

> Short summary: You don't have to be an expert to use GNU/Linux, but
> the more you know, the more efficient you can use it.

This is certainly something we can agree upon. And the more you know 
about mechanics, medicine, engineering, whatever, the more 
efficiently you can use it :)

> > Ar least, when average Joe goes to Mplayer and wants a compiled
> > package, he'll find the rpm instead of a reference to Marillat
> > where there's absolutely no mention of the package.
> Maybe average Joe should also be aware that some things, while
> technically working fine, are just plain illegal because of changes
> in copyright law. You can, technically, with very easy-to-use
> software, play ancrypted DVDs on your computer. But it's illegal
> because, juristically, you are circumventing a copy protection (due
> to DMCA as well as german copyright law for a few years now).

That national television I was talking about... The french section is 
called Radio-Canada. Well, it seems they have some kind of contract 
with Microsoft. Sympatico and Microsoft use the national television 
site as their portal, or at least "a" portal. The address is:


Microsoft also provides Radio-Canada's servers and their Windows Media 
proprietary format. They make nice PowerPoint presentations to the 
bunch of dunces that run R-C's servers. They offer turnkey systems. 
(Systèmes clés en main, in french.) All the dunces have got to do is 
drink their coffee. And they luv it, though, of course, if the BBC 
ever develops an open source standard, they're ready to give it a 

Whatever the party in power in Ottawa, the ministers are completely 
technically ignorant. They're in charge of culture and they eat
"petits fours" in Paris. If you've got questions, they ask that you 
call "les hauts-fonctionnaires" (top civil servants). Sometimes, 
those know more, but they are waiting for directives from the 
minister. And the directives don't come.

And now, you're telling me that it's illegal to watch national 
television with Linux? I understand that including Mplayer in Knoppix 
is another matter but as long as those guys in Hungary provide 
the software, I don't believe I'll have much remorse using it.

> > If he wants to
> > experience with LVM and RAID, he'll even find some interfaces to
> > set this up!
> Does average Joe really care about LVM and Raid? Seems I
> underestimated him. ;-)

Well, let's say, Average Joe's kids. You know how kids are. They've 
got 2 or 3 HD lying there and they say "What if". If things work, one 
fine day, they might want to find out how they work.

> > He certainly won't turn out the most competent system
> > administrator, but whatever he will learn from the confusing
> > Linux documentation (Windows' is even worst), he will have
> > forgotten the next time the same problem comes around. For him,
> > the click-o-drome is a blessing.
> Then he should just invest a few bucks and hire someone who sets up
> the system in an optimal way for him. 

A few bucks?

> That's a business model of
> Open Source. 

For companies with databases or who need secure transactions, yes. Not 
for individuals, or even small companies. That's how Linux looses 
contracts to Microsoft. There aren't that many comptetent Linux 
sysadmins, and they're costly. And the incompetent ones are quick to 
drive the customers back to Windows.

> Knoppix is and will be a Live System based on Debian GNU/Linux,
> with a compilation of (hopefully) useful software and rescue tools,
> designed for working best as a Live System but with an option to
> install to harddisk. What you make out of it, is entirely up to
> you.

Ok. "working best as a Live System". So, I suppose it's going to be 
Suse. For now. Knoppix will still be useful when my ISP pretends some 
file is corrupt :) , but I need a solid, easily maintainable OS 
on my HD.

Kind regards!


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