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Fedora and Ubuntu meet in the middle (was Re: [wlug] default distro)

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Craig Box craig@d...
Mon Apr 25 17:24:46 NZST 2005

On Mon, 2005-04-25 at 10:42 +1200, James Clark wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 24, 2005 at 08:56:16PM +1200, Kyle Carter wrote:
> > you will love Ubuntu, trust me.. Ive been a redhat / fedora fan for ages,
> > but moved one of my servers to ubuntu.. 
> Ubuntu - desktop
> Debian - server or desktop
> Debian upgrades very nicely, I've never used Redhat and don't intend to
> until I hear that "dependancy hell" has been resolved.

I'm in the process of creating an automatic Ubuntu "server" install CD
(see for the details, if you're
interested), and am really happy with my choice of distribution so far.
The machines which will be replaced are all Debian Woody machines, which
are packed up to the eyeballs with backports to get useful new

The Ubuntu team do more visible work on the desktop packages, sure, but
if it comes to a choice between either Sarge or Sid (which are moving)
or Hoary (which is stable in one of the Debian senses), Hoary seems to
be the right choice.

The most obvious problem is "what do I do in 6 months?"  Options include
"upgrade to Breezy" (obvious, but hard to roll out to many production
machines etc), "upgrade to every second release" (not a bad idea), or
simply "don't upgrade until security runs out (18 months)".  While I
don't think security applies to the 'universe' component of Ubuntu,
where the big bad Debian repository is, most of the stuff you need is in
main, and as time goes on and more people join the project, more stuff
will end up in main.  

In the extremely unlikely (and really bad) event of Debian also moving
to a 6 month release cycle, we would realistically have the same

As orj has pointed out, there really is no such thing as dependency hell
on Fedora any more.  The big problem I have on my Fedora (MythTV) box is
based on political decisions of the packagers; ATrpms packages lots of
new updated (backported, if you want) packages for FC3, which get
dragged in in order for me to use MythTV. [1]

> Also, please note that Ubuntu != Debian.  You can not insstall Debian
> packages on Ubuntu.  You have to use Ubuntu's package repository.
> Fortunately they appear to have mirrored and rebuilt most (if not all)
> of the Debian universe. 

You can install Debian packages on Ubuntu; what I wouldn't do is add an
apt source, because if for example you added an apt repository that
tracked sid, you'd get all the newer packages from Debian Unstable
pulled on top of Ubuntu Stable, which you don't want to have happen.

You can get around this with apt's pinning mechanism. For example, I
want the w32codecs package from the marillat Debian repository on
Ubuntu.  I don't want anything else from that archive.

In my /etc/apt/preferences file:

Package: *
Pin: release o=Christian Marillat
Pin-Priority: 1

You can see the relative priorities with "apt-cache
policy /packagename/" - locally installed packages are 100, and new
packages on a standard repository are 500.  Therefore, only packages
from marillat that aren't in Ubuntu (eg. the aforementioned w32codecs)
will get installed, as the packages installed locally are at a higher
priority, even though they are at a lower version.

orj is right with respect to the Universe component.  The only things
I've dragged in from outside Ubuntu itself are some very bleeding Mono
stuff to run Beagle, and the win32 codecs. In an amazing show of
coolness, Ubuntu does NTFS _AND_ MPPE encryption for PPTP in its
out-of-the-box kernel, which were often my first two addons for any new
Fedora kernel.


[1] Now you've read this far, yes, I could probably get around that with
apt pinning. :)

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