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Re: Debian, rpm and corporate world (was: Can rpm packages from other linux distribution be used on Debian?)

On Mon, 17 May 2004, Dominique Dumont wrote:

> Sure. Be if one can easily install rpm packages on a Debian system,
> this would be a good message sent to the corporate world.

I don't think so.  The kind of corporate type who even know there is such
a difference will understand why .debs are better.  The ones who don't
will never get the message.

> Currently there is big chicken and egg problem with Debian in the
> corporate world. Corporate guys want to be able to install software
> from ISV (like Oracle).

Oracle is a bad example.  Corporate DBAs pick whatever platform Oracle
supports.  Oracle will never support Debian not because there's no one
there who knows how to make a .deb but because it is to chaotic for their
tech support model.

> ISVs only provide their proprietary software as rpm because not many
> corporation ask for Debian. Corporation do not ask for Debian because
> most ISVs don't provide Debian packages.

Corporations do not ask for Debian because it is not on Oracles (or other
ISVs) supported platform list.  The operating system is just a commodity.
It's the apps that drive the platform not the other way around.  So  the
trick is to convince the ISVs that apps are worth porting to Debian.  Once
they are convinced, they'll work out how to make .debs fast enough.

> IMHO, the only way to break this circle is to provide a way to install
> rpm that doesn't look like a hack.

I disagree.  IMO the number one thing we can do to drum up ISV support is
to hurry up and release sarge.  Woody is so out of date it's a
maintainence nightmare.  For example the latest stable versions of SUSE
and Fedora are using perl 5.8.x.  Woody still has 5.6.  There are enough
minor differences between the two to significantly complicate QA work.
And lets not even talk about things like g++ or NPTL.

Two, customers (as opposed to random zealots on mailing lists) need to be
really vocal about wanting genuine Debian support.  Everytime you get a
survey, write about wanting Debian support.  Everytime you meet a sales
rep, ask him "so hows the Debian support coming?" When ISVs sense genuine
demand, they will figure out how to fill it.

Three, we need to increase the amount of documentation for developers and
users.  The more Debian is a known quantity, the easier it will be for
ISVs to work with it and around it.

So to sum up, don't worry about package format.  It's really not important
at all.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar@debian.org>
La Salle Debain - http://www.braincells.com/debian/

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