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Re: Multi-distro home directories

As usual, Jeff's posts take some time to digest.

> In other words, you have two incompatible goals here.  You want to demo
> the default system, but you also want to change the system from the
> default in order to meet another goal.

I think so. Sort of. The changes are non-visible ones to support the 
multi-distro system. i.e. common e2fsprogs support, common cryptofs support. 
And then there's the stuff I have to do for my TV card (Matrox Marvel G400 TV) 
and DVD playback support - but I have to do that for all of the distros.

> As for patches: most of the distro vendors, frankly, aren't going to
> care.

Well, that sounds to me like the corporate not-invented-here disease is
getting a toehold in the Open Source community. IMHO, that's a shame.
Why wouldn't RH want to use SuSE's modules for various cryptofs modules,
or MDK use RH's disk label support? I see twinges of creeping "intellectual 
property"-itis in some of this.

[hypothetical debate]
PHB: "Yeah, we know it's GPL'd, but it wouldn't be "our" trademarked product
     if we "borrowed" lots of code from another distro, even if it is better 
     code, now would it?"

RMS: But isn't that the whole point of the GPL? To propagate good code? 

I think that we're seeing this because the shareholders want their company 
to keep making money the old way, and don't really understand the economies 
of Open Source. Not every shareholder is in it because they believe in what
Linus and company are doing. And maybe casting OS companies as capitalist 
corporate "intellectual property" pimps wasn't such a good thing for the OS 
movement at the end of the day. Who wants to be the next SCO? For SCO,
this is clearly the major shareholder's "exit strategy". Let's hope there
are no more "defections" in public companies with Open Source fundamentals.

> Take Red Hat, for instance.  Why would they put time and effort into
> making their distro more compatible with SuSE and Mandrake so that
> people can build "comparison stations" that allow people to evaluate the
> distros on the merits?  They're the market leader; it makes no sense for
> them.

Yeah. Why _would_ a company make it easier to compare their product to 
competitors? :=)

Friends don't let friends compare products on their merits.

This is good stuff, Jeff:
> Control the X session.  Provide .xsession, .xinitrc, and their
> equivalents on every distro.  In the .xsession, detect the distribution,
> and set the session based on the distro.  If the distro's session
> doesn't exist yet, create a new session.  Support a very limited number
> of distros you can verify to start.

I'm thinking it would be pretty twisted to boot SuSE and launch a RH session.
And if the GUI is all you care about, and multiple X sessions are a no-brainer,
why not go whole hog and not multi-boot at all, but bring up multiple UML (User
Mode Linux) hosts simultaneously.

I wonder how much the performance of a virtual cluster would suck.... <g>



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