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State of the distribution

At this point we cannot deploy a complete distrib due to lack of disk
space.  What we have is an upgrade kit allowing to go from RedHat 5.1
to Independence  It allows testing, proof of concept, CD
building but nothing more.

What does Independence has Redhat does not have?

1) ADEQUATE NETWORKING: People accessing the Internet with modems have
   ever been treated as second class citizens in most distribs.
   Consider the fact that RedHat installation only provides for LANS,
   that in the manual the chapter about PPP configuration

For a home user networking is not just a nice thing.  It can be his
 only source for help.  Provding him with adequate tools for mail,
 news and IRC can make the diifference betwween success and failure.
 While curses based software can be necessary for emergencies (in case
 X does not work) for day to day use it will give a bad impression to
 people used to GUIs.  In addition we must not assume the user lives
 in a country where phone is cheap: connections must be made short.
 We get this by providing offline readers for mail and news and a
 cache ftp and http server (wwwoffle) who is in our opininion superior
 to squid for home use and simpler to set up.  Small companies could
 want servers intead of offline readers but for them software like
 sendmail or INN is an overkill.  That is the reason we provided qmail,
 leafnode and Newscache.  I am not too happy about providing qmail and
 I think in replacing it by Zmailer in future releases.  As a news
 server leafnode is simple but far too rigid so we have to provide
 NewsCache in addition.  This is still an area I am unhappy (that
 makes us three news servers if we count INN) I hope we will find one
 combining Leafnode and NewsCache qualities: could that be Leech?

 Shortcomings: We still don't have a half decent X-based Ftp client, we
 still have not integrated PPP into the install, we still have not
 integrated notifying the servers when PPP is up in order they ship
 traffic: the cron based mail and news traffic does not work in
 dial-up sites.  Of course we don't have our own manual.  :-(

2) GUIs: We have a plug and play KDE integrated to the distribution.
   If you uninstall KDE (it is pretty heavy) you find the classic
   FVWM/Afterstep user interface you had in RedHat 5.1.  In addition
   we have Enlightenment although it is not really integrated (E
   cannot be made the default WM due to its weight).  In addition
   installing fonts, font servers and toolkits needing resources like
   neXtAw is transparent in Independence.

   Shortcomings: The plug and play system is far too rigid.  Only way
   to switch between KDE and Gnome is unistall one of them.  That
   precluded putting both in the distrib.  In addition the Gnome we
   have in the site is old (will try to replace it by the version
   shipped today.  I want we keep neutrality on GNOME versus KDE and
   in addition I am disapointed by the fact X+KDE is nealy 32 Megs.  I
   hoped KDE would thin for 1.0 due to removal of debugging code and
   inted of this it fattened still more.  Matt Ehrlich saying
   yesterday in linux-center that KDE is lean must have been joking.
   We haven't solved the problem of bad fonts making xdvi, gv and xpdf
   providing nearly unreadable ouput.

3) "REAL LIFE SOFTWARE": Normal people are not mad hackers whose life
   centers around their C compiler.  They have non computer-related
   hobbies, pay taxes, have moms or children.  They need different
   software.  We tried to include a sample of sotware for real life: a
   small and attractive database for managing collections or a wine
   cellar, an UI for elmectronic cameras, software for Astrology,
   personal finance, WYSYWYG word processing.  Unfortunately we don't
   have a half decent Spreadsheet we can put on CD (there is WingZ in
   the NoCD section).

   Shortcomings:  We need more of it.

4) ARTISTIC SOFTWARE: Here is the software for fascinating people
   specially those with artistic tastes.

   We include a "Maximal" Gimp.  One compiled with every option turned
    on.  We have a (bad) RPM of experimental plugins.  I wanted to
    modernize and improve it but this week I learned a new GIMP is
    imminent so I am waiting. We also have a Modeller (moonlight), and
    a ray tracer (povray).  I have heard of other modellers we could
    use but could not review them.  We also have some sound
    composition and playing software.

    Shortcomings: There is a site for 3D software for Linux and one for
    sound.  They have material but I cannot explore them and still less
    try what they have.

6)  GAMES:  What other use for a computer?

Mirrormagic (small facintaing Amiga game), xkobo, FlightGear (Flight
simulator) but we need more of them.


-Doc.  The best software in world is useless if the user is using
 other software.  If we don't document then people will use the user
 hostile but traditional sofware they heard about in nesgroups.

-More Doc: It is diificult to find what you need in the general Linux
 doc.  Also at times people use other systems because they don't know
 Linux has software for the job.  That is why I want to put Woven
 Goods in the dsitrib.  It is more attractive than classic doc and it
 also includes a database of available software.

-Another attitude to the doc: RTFM is a brain damaged concept.  It si
 based on the paradigma of the person having had Unix and system
 administration before being shot in anger by the system.  But for
 spreading Linux we must think in people who have to manage _all_ the
 box from minute one: they don't know where is the doc or how to look
 at it, perhaps deadlines to meet and they have real problems to
 solve.  In addition people whose interest in life is not computers.
 When there is a FAQ intead of flaming the poor newbies we should
 realize that in fact there is a FEP (Frequently Encountered Problem).
 That means a problem to be solved or at the very least having the
 info popping under the user nose.  Many persons ask why X works bad
 when the X config software could have flatly told them: "Your card is
 not supported.  This server is old.  Look for an upgrade".

-A manual: The RedHat one is not comprehensive enough and in addition
 sometimes it is completely unadequate (see above for the PPP example).

-A better install: The importance of installation is far too
 exagerated.  Real problems begin after that.  However I would like:
 the user being assisted for partitionning, sofware selction according
 to use (home, server, hacker), PPP networking

-Different user interfaces for different users.

-Translations: Outside English speaking countries, most people are
 not fluent in English.


			Jean Francois Martinez

Project Independence: Linux for the Masses