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Re: SEUL: What's the diff to SEUL ?


On Thu, 15 Jan 1998, Loren S Osborn wrote:

> When I mentioned "shortsighted" I was refering to my father (one heck of
> a EE by the way) who (for lack of time, if nothing else) judges the
> quality of an OS by the quality and ease of use of it's interface.
> He want's to sit down and use it, but be able to fix it if he has to...
> without spending alot of time...

The computer is, for me, a tool.  It is most efficient when I am able to
obtain the most utillity for the least administrative overhead. Having
used Slackware, Red Hat, two flavors of Caldera, and Debian, I have
decided to put Debian on all unattended servers.  I use Solaris on my
desktop for other reasons having more to do with my professional
occupation than anything else.

Linux is not simply a hobby OS for me, it provides vital services for
other people using my machines.  I must keep them up to date, security
holes plugged and respond to requests for additional features quickly and
I do not want to waste a lot of my time fiddling with things if I can
avoid it.

Having said all that, there are two very important features of Debian that
cut down on administrative time and frustration.  The first is dselect.
Yes, it is difficult for a newbie but once you master it, it is worth its
weight in gold.  I can run dselect once per month, update the list of
available packages and auto upgrade the system over FTP.

The important thing about dselect when adding a new package is that it
warns me about dependancies and conflicts AT SELECTION TIME. This saves me
from having to download a package, attempt to install it, find out that it
depends on something, grab THAT package, try to install it, find out it
conflicts with something else ... etc.  

Dselect shows me instantly, as soon as I select a package for
installation, what the ramifications are, if any. This saves me
CONSIDERABLE time and frustration.  

If your hobby is administration, you are probably satisfied with a system
that requres a lot of it. I do sysadmin for money and am pretty tired of
it when it comes to fooling with my home system.

The second feature that is most important is integration.  If someone has
a small system somewhere in Africa and wants to set up a news and mail
server using smail, cnews, uucp for transport and nntpd for reading
locally, Debian's packages all mesh perfectly together.  The different
packages are all configured to work together.  cnews knows exactly where
to look for uucp's stuff, same with smail, nntpd knows exactly where to
look for cnews' stuff.  You just select the packages, they install and you
are in a working configuration "out of the box". Same thing with bind.
Just install it and answer the questions and in 45 seconds you have a 
working cacheing nameserver.

Debian is the best integrated suite of Linux packages that I have ever
seen. Period.

The interface to dpkg (dselect) is being worked on and is the only weak
point in the distribution than is not easilly fixed with policy.

Having a well integrated and PREDICTABLE behavior is paramount to third
party developers.  Having a stress free administrative interface is
paramount to the user.

George Bonser
Nobody in Particular