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Re: SEUL: RFC: Base SEUL on Debian?

Reply-to: omega@seul.org <!!!>

On Fri, 16 Jan 1998, Rick Jones wrote:

> I'm curious why you aren't just starting from scratch?
We aren't starting from scratch because I do not want to wait 2yrs to
release SEUL.  Debian exists, is stable, is well-supported by the
community, and intends to move in mostly the same direction as SEUL.

> My point here is, to my knowledge, the reason there were so many
> problems using source intended for say slackware with say Red Hat, was
> the path's were not the same.  Other than being ELF or a.out.  So now
> that the file system is fairly standardized what, other than reading the
> package file formats, is the problem here concerning compatability?
The problem is that they still are not the same.  Note the contrib/ fiasco
on ftp.redhat.com.  I don't think it's fixed yet.  When rh5 was released,
there was a rush to get packages in contrib/ rebuilt for 5.0.  But one
thing was forgotten: 4.2 users.  I wanted to install tcl/tk 8.0 for some
development work, but *after* downloading it found that I couldn't,
because it was built for a glibc (rh50) system.  Nowhere now can I find
rh42 compatible RPMs.

Granted, a core will not elliminate these problems, but they will be much
less of an issue.  contrib/ RPM's would be built for a certain group of
versions of the core, and would then work on any and all distributions
based on one of those core versions.

> I heard that Linuxconf and COAS are talking of combining somehow.  You
> might want to check into that.
Hmm.  That might be good.

> I know you have been talking with Bruce about this, I don't know who
> else, but Bruce is no longer in charge of the Debian project.
I know, but he's coordinating between Debian and many of the other
projects, which is his role as head of the SPI.

> I don't
> see why Debian, or any other dis', would use SEUL as a core since it
> would no longer be a distribution in it's self.
You're not understanding the idea of a core.  Debian/SEUL/eLinux/others
would design the core, and be built around it.  This core is nothing more
than the bare minimum necessary to define a system for versioning and
compatibility purposes.  Layers (such as a mail layer, or X layer) could
be done in a similar fashion.  The point is not to usurp what other
distribs have been doing, but to provide to them a core to make them
compatible with each other.  Because the scope of the core is limited,
each distrib still is distinct.

> This tells me
> there needs to be a standard in versioning and filesystem trees, not a
> new Linux dis' that everyone should follow.  Like they would.
Exactly.  If you wish, the core would be the "reference implementation" of
the standard, just as glibc will be the reference implementation for
86open's efforts.  You don't *have* to use it, but I'd hate to build my
own just because.  If you want to be compliant, use the core and save
yourself lots of work.

> The only way a commercial dis' is going to follow your lead is if they
> become the odd man out that can't run commercial software packages.
Exactly.  Commercial distribs (i.e. RedHat) won't switch unless there is a
clear reason why it's better.  If the major free and upcoming distribs
(Debian, SEUL, e-Linux, etc.) form a core standard, and get vendors to
port to it, RedHat is left with little choice but to switch, just to
maintain their ability to hold customers.

> So don't follow, lead!

     Erik Walthinsen <omega@seul.org> - SEUL Project system architect
       /  \                SEUL: Simple End-User Linux -
      |    | M E G A            Creating a Linux distribution
      _\  /_                         for the home or office user