Re: [linux-audio-dev] Poll: Distro for audio and MIDI development
(sorry for moving the discussion, but I really only want to add
something about my experience as a support-line for a few hundred
AmigaOne users this past year).
Also, this posting is a bit long and posted a bit early in the morning
(from a subjective point of view, it's actually 9.30 in the purely
objective world :-) )
Maarten De Boer wrote:
This is a nice coincidence, because I just installed Debian Sid
('unstable') on my home workstation.
Personally, I run unstable on workstations both at home (AmigaOne) and
at work (P4 PC), but I have both Woody and Sarge installed, one on each
of my RS/6k workstations.
Yes, I know. Sid is "unstable" so shouldn't use for work, but come on.
It's my choice ;-)
I am also a convinced Debian user, and all the servers and workstations
I administrate are Debian Woody ('stable'). Now, recently, I have seen
myself forced to install more and more backported packages, and backporting
some myself, because Debian stable is rather conservative, and this can be
a problem if you have new hardware, esp. video cards, or if you need to run
recent versions of applications, are depend on recent versions of
The AmigaOne project chose Debian because that's what we had people
capable of creating installation systems for. Ross Vumbaca modified
boot-floppies to work with the AmigaOne. I helped him, but at the time I
only ran unstable on ALL my powerpc hardware, and boot-floppies doesn't
(didn't) build-dep on unstable (needs two libraries which are mutually
exclusive...). So I ended up reading the code and sending him info on
where to add support. Kudos to him for pulling it off.
Anyway, choosing Debian was ok for a lot of people, but there's always
someone who just CAN'T keep from buying newer and bigger and better, so
suddenly we had a gazillion users with Radeon 8x00 and 9x00 cards out
there. Basically, 8x00 needs Xfree 4.2.1, 9x00 needs 4.3.0. So that's
testing and unstable (well, the packages over at penguinppc might work
with testing now, but didn't back then), respectively. So I created a
faq with info about upgrading Debian and using apt-pinning. Before that,
we had people do fun tricks like change stable to unstable in
sources.list, upgrading libc6, then switching back. Of course, I _could_
have told these people to download the X source and install from that,
but we're talking about people who should never have started with Linux
without tutoring anyway ;-)
Basically, I've discovered that people are _terminally_ afraid of using
testing or unstable, and not because of security holes (these people
surf the net with AmigaOS on a daily basis. AmigaOS doesn't have a
concept of memory protection. You do the math). But because of the
names. They think they have to run stable on their workstations because
otherwise things will crash all the time. Ironically, we've had a lot of
IRQ problems with the VIA southbridge, leading to lockups (in 2.4.19,
2.4.21 hasn't hard-locked as much). So we have an unstable kernel and
people insist on running stable programs, but need to update libc and X.
Nice combination ;-).
So, what's my point? I think there should be more focus on the
difference between servers and workstations. If you're running a
workstation that's sharing ADSL with WinME and AmigaOS, your LEAST
concern is a security hole somewhere. So for this group, testing should
be preferred. Also, XFree86 should get higher priority, it's been stuck
at 4.2.1 in Debian for ages now, and there's VERY good reasons for
upgrading to 4.3.0 if you buy new hardware. The problem is that when one
distribution is named "stable", people who are new to Debian think the
others must suck badly. If the naming was changed so you had something
to the effect of "server", "workstation" and "devel", people would get
the idea. Am I making sense here?
Other distributions we've been playing with:
SuSE: outdated by about a million years, much like Woody. Unuseable on
half our users machines due to old XFree etc.
Yellow Dog: 3.0 doesn't have an installation system that supports us,
but there's been a lot of work by the people at MAI (who designed the
hardware). This means we have people who run the current release of
Yellow Dog, which is about on par with Sarge when it comes to software.
Of course, Sarge has since then moved on, but you get the idea.
So some people go for other distributions instead of upgrading Debian,
because they DO NOT WANT TO RUN non-stable systems, and they think that
since Yellow Dog 3.0 is released, while Sarge is "testing" (since Woody
is "stable" this implies a lack of stability). All in all, they end up
with the EXCACT same software as if they had gone for Sarge, but it
doesn't SEEM like that because of the names.
Sorry for the rant, but I feel Debian has some way to go before our
marketing skills are on par with the other distributions.
Owner of AmigaOne since May 2002
AmigaOne dev list FAQ (when I say F, I mean F):
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