[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: This was posted on Digg.com -- Linux Distribution blog/article

Jeff Licquia <jeff@licquia.org> wrote:
> Right.  But Debian is a package-based distro, with its own
> QA processes that Munich is leveraging.

Yes, I know.  At first, I didn't know where you are coming
from.  But not it seems you only have the viewpoint that "you
don't want to go with anything less tested than Debian."  You
seem to have a very narrow-minded focus, because I can see a
variety of reasons why someone might go less, or even more
(e.g., enterprise).

Then you asserted that a service model on Gentoo can't work. 
Where am I disagreeing with you?!?!?!  Gentoo -- from a
commercial standpoint -- is about delivering
application-specific implementations and services built
around them, not delivering Gentoo consulting services.

> Right.  But I note that you tend to abandon Gentoo fairly
> early in the process.

First off -- not early, quite late.  Instead of screwing
around with all the assumptions/fixed versions of distros,
I'm actually coding.

Secondly -- this _only_ applies when I'm building something
that will be maintained long-term on a desktop by someone
else.  E.g., we're building a development environment for
another run-time.

Lastly, if I'm providing the solution as a customized, 
application-specific implementation, we stay hosted on Gentoo
-- especially if the run-time itself is source and,
typically, Gentoo-based.

For example, I would use Gentoo as a basis for a network
appliance (non-file server), not Debian, Fedora or RHEL,
where I have limited needs for generic services, packages,

> See the examples I gave in my other mail.  Do they test
> those things, especially if those things don't directly
> impact their current use case?

Here's the return thought -- do they *INCLUDE* those things
at all when they don't use them?!?!?!

> My guess is that they don't, and that they only worry about
> those things when problems actually show up.

What problems?  If they don't use them, they don't include

We're not building a desktop or general LAN server here. 
Anyone who uses Gentoo to do so is just missing the point.

> This is a risky strategy to take unless you can rely on
> someone else's testing, because fixing issues that come
> up could require non-trivial changes to the base.

But you'd be stuck doing that if you were using something
_different_ than what the distro includes anyway!  Do you see
my point now?!  ;->

> Right.  My point is that no one, in fact, makes such
> radical changes as to totally negate the previous testing.

Could you drop the absolutes?

Especially since you've basically said that you are focused
on providing services around Debian, as Debian, for Debian.

People who provide services using Gentoo don't provide them
as Gentoo, they provide them as an application-specific
Internet server, a black box solution, etc...

Totally different market and focus entirely!

It's like someone delivering a vertical app versus someone
who provides Delphi programming.  The end-user doesn't pay
for someone to write a program in Delphi, they pay for
someone for a niche vertical application.

I have several colleagues that provide a variety of
non-standard, custom, but exacting Internet services for
specific industries.  Because they build, assemble and
maintain a number of these Internet servers over time, they
maintain their own, custom Gentoo builds, and _only_ emerge
on those internal systems.  They then test and roll out
releases based on those custom implementations.  Using a
distribution like even Debian is a major issue, because many
of their components are not in Debian, or are built very
differently -- and they litterally have to build so much
custom already.

I also have several people I know that stupidly run emerge
directly on their client's production web servers.  They are
using emerge to be lazy, and they are devoid of any respect
for any configuration management.

> Oh!  If you're interpreting my criticism as aimed at Debian
> or Fedora, then no, you're right there.  Both are very
> as customization starting points, and for good reason.

And I *AGREE* for a *MAJORITY* of cases!
Especially when it comes to typical LAN services or desktops.

> I am solely focused on the ports-vs-packages thing.  If
> Gentoo's goal, as you describe it, includes adoption by 
> commercial customizers, then they have largely failed at
> that goal.

Not commercial customizers or people offering commercial
Gentoo services.  You keep assuming that's what I mean.

I'm talking about people offering custom application
services, especially ones with configurations well outside
what you traditionally get with package distros.

> What do you call a "radical mod"?  And how radical does it
> have to be to negate the distro's advantages in integration
> testing?

When you're completely chucking the entire Apache tree.
Or maybe you're putting in another SMTP services stack.
Or how about maintaing your own cross-compilers and

> A distribution for anyone.

There is not this "all size fits all."  There can be "all
size fits 67%" or even "these two sizes fit 96%" or "these
three sizes fit 99.6+%".

One would easily argue that the packages releases of large
and more fixed/SLA-focused ("enterprise") address 96-99.6%. 
But there are still those 0.4-4.0% that aren't.

> I must respectfully disagree here.  Maintaining a distro
> properly is hard work for anyone, for any purpose.

But what if a packages distro is not shipping what you need?

> A lot of people maintain a distro poorly.

I would argue that 98% of distros are!  I would argue that
75-80% of Gentoo users are stupidly running emerge on
end-user, production, Internet-facing servers.  I would argue
that 100% of Linux projects fail because their cost savings
are sold without including configuration management costs
that are _still_ present, regardless of OS.

It's just like NASA and their GNU/VxWorks adoption.  In
addition to cutting software development costs by 90%, they
also cut QA by 90%.  So what do you get?  One team using
Metric and another using British Imperial, and the
microcontroller is just crunching numbers -- totally ignorant
of units -- and the Mars Polar Lander comes in way too

But for those who are maintaining their own release of
software, for their own application-specific products, they
are already doing this.  My first question whenever I tackle
an embedded project is, "Do I have to use MontaVista or can I
get away with Gentoo for source control?"

And when it comes to Internet servers, once I start looking
at having to rebuild significant portions of various Internet
services, it starts to make far more sense to look at Gentoo.
 Not when I'm selling someone a "Linux Internet server," but
when I'm providing them them an application.

> But that's exactly my point:  very few organizations have
> resources or experience to do the job right, and nearly all
> them recognize this.

Over 90% of the companies I've worked at have little to no
Linux expertise and are grossly ignorant.  I agree.

> Replacing the entire Apache stack is trivial, as distro
> customization goes.  In fact, Progeny is building a
> do-it-yourself toolkit for just such a thing.  Nothing
> about replacement of the Apache stack has an impact on
> bootup, service management, utility availability,
> kernel-libc compatibility, hardware detection, driver
> support, library ABI compatibility, etc.  Heck, you can
> even keep LSB certification across the change.

If Progeny has such a do-it-yourself toolkit in development,
then I'd be very interested in exploring it.

As far as hardware detection, I'm *NOT* building an
installer.  As I said before, people don't build custom
Gentoo releases for _others_ to install -- they build it for
their _specific_ uses.  Same deal with drivers.

The whole kernel-libc compatibility is something that I've
only trusted Red Hat too -- they've done a damn fine job of
maintaining it, and providing compat-* packages for older

> And if you're not testing all those other things (or
> relying on someone else's testing of all those other
> you're not doing a good job of maintaining a distro.

And I disagreed with this how?  How many times do I have to
say it, people who do _not_ test ports proper deserve what
they get!

Did you ever think that maybe, just maybe, my article was
partially written for Gentoo users who are ignorant of why
they must maintain proper configuration management?  Many
talk how Debian or Fedora are useless, yet they don't realize
it's the integration testing.

That's _exactly_ why one Gentoo user commented "why are you
so anti-Gentoo?"!

And yet again, you want to assume what I'm saying based on
your viewpoints, not what I'm saying are actually in-line
with your viewpoints.  ;->

Bryan J. Smith                | Sent from Yahoo Mail
mailto:b.j.smith@ieee.org     |  (please excuse any
http://thebs413.blogspot.com/ |   missing headers)

To unsubscribe, send email to majordomo@luci.org with
"unsubscribe luci-discuss" in the body.