Base distro + Requirements definition

<quote who="Mikael Hallendal">

> Me and Bevin is currently designing a package system which will be based
> on Gentoo's Portage but will be much improved compared to it.
> There have been discussions about what to use for base, either Debian or
> Gentoo. Though I believe that we should use this new package system (which
> will hold of the start of packaging a while, shouldn't be too much of a
> problem since there are lot of designing to do before that).
> .debs is a (imho) mess to work with and Gentoo's portage doesn't fulfill
> all of the requirements. By doing the package system together with this
> project also gives us the possibility to make sure that the package system
> / tools can be used in the ways we want.

Ugh. This topic.

Well, my perspective is this: Nothing that exists fits the bill, but nothing
we make will be worth the work.

We all have our favourites... Much as I like GAR, it's inappropriate because
it builds from source. That's not a useful feature for either users or
administrators of desktop operating systems, and will get in the way of
solving the problem. I put Gentoo in the same category.

Much as I like Debian, the packaging tools are a pain. The format is not so
bad, but actually making them is more work than it should be.

I'd like to think RPM is a good start, but I don't think the "stock
standard" Red Hat base system is a good idea. Other systems have done things
more elegantly. That said, the packaging format is simple, and there's a
large enough support base out there to make our job easier.

But, if we actually want to contribute to and take advantage of the work of
others, a non-RH RPM system would be a bad path.

So, for all my internal arguing, I've come back to Debian. Sure, the tools
for packaging are not so great - perhaps we can do something about that in
time - but at the end of the day, there is an awesome infrastructure there,
and I don't think we should be reinventing the wheel. Especially wheels that
Debian has solved so well, and have people working on all the time.

The biggest bang for buck will come from:

  - infrastructural elegance

  - work already done for us, and not having to redo any of it

  - people working on stuff that may not be in our direct interest (fixing
    bugs in X, etc)

  - a give and take upstream community, which we can contribute to and
    benefit from

I'm not convinced that other distributions have the unique balance of
talent, sheer manpower, well-designed infrastructure and basic usability
that Debian does. I think it's our best bet out of a not-necessarily-
brilliant bunch.

> So, I would say that the first step is to decide on target group, then
> make a list of requirements. After that we can start to design the system
> to fulfill those reqs.

I think that the basic, networked corporate desktop is a good start, and
after that, x-terminal and network integration features, and additional
features for a home desktop.

- Jeff

   "Everyone says they like Free Software - not everyone is ready to make   
         the tough choices to make it happen." - Maciej Stachowiak          

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