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RE: Was the release of Debian 2.0 put on Linux Announce?

On Tue, 4 Aug 1998, Young, Ed wrote:

> I may be out to lunch on the following but I believe we're zeroing in on
> something anyway. That's what lists are all about, right? 

Yup :-)

> One thing I've gotten out of the thread is that RH and SUSE, (etc) are not
> adhering to standards but have the market share. Therefore comercial apps
> provide distributions of their software for those Linux distributions. Since
> Debian does not follow RH or SUSE, it does not follow the "standard" set by
> those dists, and therefore there's something of a deviation between us and
> them. 

Ok so far.

> My questions are: 
> How is debian different w/r/t RH/SUSE? 

Debian follows the FSSTD and FHS more closely. Also, debian is close to
Sun in its init structure ... it has no rc.d

> Is this difference fundamental (filestructure diffs? ) or simpley different
> packaging schemes. (maybe not "simply")

Debian has things like pre-depends that Red Hat lacks the last time I
looked. Also, Debian tends to "do the right thing" more often with regard
to such things that should got into /etc or /usr/X11R6/lib where Red Hat
and other still put them in /usr/lib. Debian is actually the correct way
but sometimes seems unwilling to compromise over the short term for the
sake of compatability over the long term. In other words, I get the
impression that Debian has no mechanism for communications with the other
distributions to coordinate migration to the FHS on an orderly schedule.
It appears that Debian is rather strident in its adoption of these
standards even where it makes itself incompatable with the applications
developers who can not change course as quickly.

There needs to be some communications on a sort of "diplomatic level", if
you will, where Debian might exert influence to hasten adoption of some
parts of standards by other distrubtions while delaying the adoption of
other things for the sake of compatibility and ease of use. There is
almost a certain arrogance by Debian that is ignored by the applications
developers because the Debian market is such a small percentage of the
total share.

> Like the Netscape package installer, can't other commercial apps be
> installed on a debian system? 

Most certainly. The trouble is that someone must take the time to
construct the adapter. With packages in other formats, they might have
things hard-wired in them looking for things in certain locations (
/usr/lib/uucp rather than /etc/uucp for example ) and cause trouble at run
time. In some cases, the binary is not directlty portable. The source
package must be recompiled to work on Debian with modifications in the
Makefiles to point things at the right locations. If the source depends on
certain versions of libraries, another issue is raised.

Debian is, quite frankly, too small to dictate to the rest of the linux
community how things should be done. On the other hand, it is too good for
the other distributions to ignore.I think they all secretly desire to be
as well integrated as Debian and in that respect they have to listen when
Debian makes suggestions.

My perception is that Debian has become less involved in the Linux
community since Bruce left and that there is an apparent weakness that the
other distros are currently taking advantage of in that they feel they can
ignore Debian. If Debian decides to grab hold of the LSB issue as
tenaciously as they have my ass in this matter, they can go a long way to
influencing a common ground for developers over ALL distributions but that
will involve some small compromises on the part of Debain in return for
small compromises from the other distros.

Mybe the key is not so much opening a dialong with the other distros as it
is also opening dialogs with the vendors such as Applix, Corel, Informix,
Oracle, etc.  to ensure that they are aware that Debian is actually what
the other distributions will look like in the future and to make a debian
port now will save them work later on. This will also work to "pull" the
other distributions in line with the standards faster if their vendors are
already moving in that direction.

George Bonser

Microsoft! Which end of the stick do you want today?

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