Sun Apr 4 15:18:13 NZST 2004
Oliver Jones wrote:
> I think the problem is probably contributed to by a few things. One
> thing that sticks out is the size of Debian. Isn't the next release
> coming on something like 13 CDs? That is just too damn large. I like
> the structure of Fedora more. Having a "Core" which keeps moving
> forward at a good pace and is quite small and have "Extras" that plug
> into the Core with little hassle. Hell even FC could be smaller. It
> could drop all the desktop/X packages and have a Fedora Desktop set
> etc. That way you have sections of the whole OS advance at the pace
> that best suits that section. For example Gnome and KDE have different
> release schedules so why force the users of a distro to upgrade their
> desktop in lock step to the rest of the OS. Split the two out into
> separate releases/package sets and allow users to track them with
> yum/apt or whatever.
> Of course its pointless discussing this in too much detail as we don't
> have much (read any) influence over distro packaging unless we get
> involved with those efforts.
However on the flipside, with Debian I know that almost any software I
have ever heard of is in Debian. I can "apt-get install whatever" and a
few minutes later it's installed.
When I ran Redhat, I was constantly irriated by having to find packages
and installing them manually. Debian was great because I no longer hand
to go and find all the stuff I needed, and keep it up to date with
respect to security fixes.
People say that Linux has a "dependancy hell" of trying to find the
dependancies/versions for software that you want to install. These
people must be running slackware or fedora where you don't have the huge
package base to install from. In Debian if I needed to install the
Redland RDF Parser, apt-get would install it, and all of it's
dependancies, and then if a security flaw is found, it will be updated.
Under Redhat (and now Fedora), anything extra I have to find and
Debian is the only distribution that spans multiple architectures with
almost every conceivable piece of software. There are almost no
distributions that deal with non x86.
With my systems administrator hat on, Debian stable is precisely what I
want. It's stable and doesn't change. I'm not going tomorrow discover
that the machines I administer now run Exim 4 instead of Exim 3 and I
have to relearn everything, and then the day after that everything is
now compiled with a new version of g++, and that I now have to recompile
any local software with the new compiler to talk to the new versions of
the libraries. All the systems I run are all pretty much identical. A
DEC Alpha, x86-32, x86-64, Sun Sparc, they are all identical with slight
hardware changes. I can push out a config to all of these machines and
be reasonably confident that it will work on all of them.
With my programmers hat on, Debian stable is precisely what I don't
want. It's long out of date. So I run Debian unstable. It's pretty
close to up to date. Once a week I do a dist-upgrade to see what the
latest goodies are. Debian unstable (once I had fully upgraded) has
never caused me any hassle. The upgrade from stable was pretty painful,
but I suspect that was more my fault than anyone elses.
I once saw the command that Debian should rename their "versions" from:
Stable -> Enterprise
Testing -> Desktop
Unstable -> Developer
to better reflect the kinds of people that each type is targetted
towards. I personally think this is very true, and quite nicely sums up
how debian works. Changing the way debian works by making it release
more often destroys the Administrators who want things to Not Change.
While it is excrutiatingly frustrating having to deal with machines that
are 2 years out of date, it's less frustrating that by the time you've
got used to the last set of changes, has changed again.
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