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Re: Multi-distro home directories

On Sun, 2003-06-15 at 12:52, mike808@users.sourceforge.net wrote:
> As usual, Jeff's posts take some time to digest.

I'm still trying to figure out if that's a compliment or not. :-)

> > 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.

Visibility to users is a good criterion for determining what changes to
make.  Beware of the user tools, though; you might be able to get RH to
recognize SuSE cryptofs mounts, but will RH's user tool be able to
handle it?

> 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? 
> [FIN]
> 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.

Sometimes, but not always.  The old maxim, "Never ascribe to malice what
can be explained by incompetence" applies here.

Making a distro takes a degree of tunnel vision.  You have to be very
goal-oriented, and ruthless at cutting out any task that doesn't get you
to your goal.  Otherwise, you'll drown in the morass of "important
tasks".  The reason a lot of distro vendors would shrug off your patches
isn't malicious: it's just that they have too much to do already.

Also, there's the question of improvement.  Some people might think that
Red Hat's kudzu is the be-all and end-all of hardware configuration.  I
don't, which is why I and several others here at Progeny have written
discover (http://hackers.progeny.com/discover).  Are we reinventing the
wheel for profit?  I don't think so.  I think discover can do things
kudzu can't, and I think it is capable of doing even more yet.

Of course, projects like discover tend to make your job here more
difficult, which I don't like.  But if we're going to stifle creativity
because diversity makes other worthwhile tasks harder, then we might as
well go back to letting Bill Gates tell us where we're going to go

> 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.

It shouldn't be too hard to avoid.  And, with the right software, it
shouldn't be too hard to enable, especially if everyone's on mostly the
same page with regard to desktop versions.

> 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.

Well, there's something to be said for this.  That's generally my
strategy for the few times I want to play with non-Debian distros at
home.  Of course, it doesn't help that Debian's the only distro to
provide tools to make installation into a UML easy.
Jeff Licquia <jeff@licquia.org>

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