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Re: SEUL: available software

   From: jghasler@win.bright.net
   Date: 09 Jun 1997 19:48:05 -0500
   Lines: 54

   Jean Francois Martinez writes:
   > 1) an end-user would never survive to dselect,...

   Dselect is going to be replaced.  In any case, I have already suggested
   that we replace it it our own tool.

   > 2) it comes with raw X apps (sorry but for an end user I don't want X
   > apps with black text on white backgrounds)

   I don't understand what you are getting at here.  Do you think our users
   will recoil in horror if not presented with purple text on a green
   background?  The important thing is to get them going, not to choose an
   optimal color scheme (personally, I prefer black on white).  This stuff is
   all user configurable.

Yes.  I recoiled when I saw the black on white emacs provided with
Debian.  And it covered all the screen, so I had to manually resize
it.  Of course the user can configure it with a tool we will provide
him.  But a typical Linux distribution has dozens of apps.  And nobody
told than we will use purple on green: Linux people have good taste
otherwise they would be using Win95.

I do not object to using dpkg, but I think than SEUL must be Debian
based with a few tools added.  We would need to rebuild a lot of
packages because they were not built with end user in mind.  Debian
1.2 came with a minimalistic X desktop and depressive looking X
applications.  If aiming at end users we must provide them with tools
for configuring but we also must provide them with a pleasant working
environment out of the box.  An Athena application with black on white
widgets looks crappy and our end user will believe it is crap.

   > 3) the installation needs answering dozens of questions.  That would
   > confuse an end user.

   We should provide our own install, of course.  Otherwise, what is the

   My proposal: We write our own install.  We write our own front end for dpkg
   (unless Diety turns out to be acceptable).  We write replacements for some
   other Debian tools.  Beyond that, we make a point of remaining completely
   compatible with Debian.  A seul distribution would consist of an install
   floppy and a CDROM nearly identical to a Debian one.  A seul user should be
   able to install or upgrade packages from a Debian CD or ftp site.  We
   should provide a smooth migration path from "simple end user" to ordinary
   Debian user.

I agree.  The only competitor to dpkg is Redhat's RPM and
unfortunately its front end is very bad.  So we would also need to
write our own front end if using RPM.

   > A serious problem is than Debian 1.2 made little use of modules so
   > recompiling the kernel was nearly mandatory with Debian due to the slow
   > kernel startup.

   Why is this a "serious problem"?  This is just a feature of the default
   kernel.  We can use a modular one while remaining compatible.

I was pointing one area where the Debian way of life is not acceptable
for SEUL.  I am a strong supporter of modular kernels and I am not
satisfied with any Linux distribution.  So from the start I proposed
we build our own.

   > Needing to recompile the kernel is a definite NO for a distribution aimed
   > to end users.

   Compiling the kernel is really quite easy, and it wouldn't be hard to make
   it easier.

Easy for you or easy for your sister the accontant?  Modules allow to
make optimal kernels far easier than what we could hope with
recompilings ("Just worked out of the box"), and the tool would be
easier to write.

			Jean Francois Martinez

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