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Re: SEUL: Suggestion

> > Doesn't RPM do that as well in later versions? (I don't know in what extent
> > this is implemented in current RPM-packages though.)
> Exactly the problem.  RPM has dependencies, but they appear to be used 
> incorrectly in many (read: most) cases.  In some packages (gpm-devel for
> example), dependencies are given in the form of a package (gpm).  In others
> (NetKit-B), dependencies seem to be a list of library files (libpam.so.0,
> etc.).  And very few packages seem to include the obvious one, libc.so.X.
> If we are going to implement a viable form of dependency tracking for our 
> packages, we must decide on one form or another, stick to it, and use it 
> verbosely.  If something compiles and uses libc in any way, we need to track 
> that fact.  Nevermind that libc is a standard thing, it's a standard thing 
> that is still changing (try running Netscape with the wrong libc...).  Thus
> versioning is important as well.

Once upon a time, I created a distribution for my sister. Although no one knows
my sister, my sister IS your target audience. 

What I did was as follows. I had a minimal system, and chrooted all applications.
I found a utility called chrootuid, that allowed a user to run an application
as someone else in a restricted part of the file system. My reasoning to this 
was that each package could have its own versions of everything without 
requiring complex conflict resolutions. 

I came up with several problems.
	1) This distribution was huge. duplicate libraries was the main reason.
		I came up with a solution, but never implimented it. Change
		the code for hard and soft links, to be able to span chrooted
		areas. This would allow you to keep all libraries somewhere out of the
		way, and the chrooted areas would point to the proper version
		using a hard link.

	2) Moving files across chrooted file system is next to impossible, unless
		you become root, in a unrestricted window. The link solution could
		solve this problem. Create a wrapper script, that links your home
		directory under the applications home directory, than launches the
		program. When the program ends, the wrapper script unlinks your directory.

There were some packages that couldn't work with this arrangement (read I couldn't get to work),
 so they ended up in the minimal system. This added other problems that made the distribution
hard to maintain. 

One of the benifits of this system was I could add users that could only see certain applications.

I didn't really use this benifit very much, but I could see a situation, in a multi-user system,
where the finance department has a chrooted file-system to itself, that run the finance apps, and
only the finance people have access to it.

On another note, I am in the process of putting together a dedicated machine, for SEUL.
It is a 386 DX with 8 Megs of Ram, and an 85 Meg Hard-drive. I need to get little things, like cables,
but expect to have the thing up and running by the end of the week (I hope.) 

The following Questions arose to me as I scounged together the equipment.

	1) Is the above a reasonable minimum system. I know that many apps won't run on such a system
		well, but most linux hackers I know are like me, they had an old 386 they didn't want
		to junk, so they started playing with linux on it. Many of our perspective users
		are probably in a similar situation, The above hardware won't run anything Microsoft
		anymore, so people upgrade, but are left with a perfectly good computer gathering dust.

	2) Is this distribution going to be geared to a server market, or a workstation market? 
		I'm not sure if anyone every played with OS/2, but I did once upon a time. As a standalone
		workstation, OS/2 was a pretty good platform, but IBM tried to make OS/2 a server system, and
		that fucked up everything. I suggest we don't get into that situation. I know that linux is
		a better operating system, and it does have networking built in as an integral part, but
		my humble opinion is that servers and workstations are two different animals. Getting them
		to mate is not a good idea.

	3) Should we be using a specific distribution as a model. Redhat, and Debian, have been thrown out
		as possible distributions to copy. We are in the midst of discussing TurboLinux. Is this
		question still open, or do we at least have a short list. I ask this question, because
		I went to sunsite and found a distribution named milinux, that promises to be an acceptable
		minimal system from which to start. Should I bother to download and test it, or has someone
		already done so, and concluded it ain't for us?

I guess that's it for now. My SEUL based goals for this week is to get a computer together, and perhaps try
to put togther what I think is a good starting distribution. If and when I ever get this, is there a FTP
site to send it to, or should I add it sunsite, and hope it ends up in the distribution. 


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