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SEUL: About Independence, LaetOs, RedHat and Debian

> First of all, a little presentation...
> I'm the main coordinator of the LŠtOS project (<http://www.laetos.org> ;
> it's in english).
> > I am with two friends working on an end user distribution based on
> > Slackware. Since I am the one responsible for the inclusion of the
> > 'right' software I was surfing the net and came across your efforts.
> > Since we just started (atleast to my opinion) we haven't invested too
> > much yet in software development, although we are working on a graphical
> > install interface.
> We are some code, esppecially de materail deetection, that begin to work
> decently, a grapical installation program and a XF86Config generator.
> > Okay, so now the reason for this mail. What I find very difficult to
> > cope with is all the different distributions around that seem to
> > disagree more then should be. After all we want is to promote Linux,
> > don't we?
> I totally agree with this, but several project is a guaranty to have the
> choice.
> > Well since I see popping up some efforts now to bring Linux to the
> > desktop and even to the user who just want to work, I think we should
> > end the different distribution problems. When we want to build a system
> > that is end-user friendly we should provide them with easyness and
> > clearness, not with troubles and fighting people over which system is
> > best.
> Yes, I think we should join our forces, but can we and do we ?
> > So my question is is there a way for us all to join one common project
> > to bring Linux at the desktop? United, as one open solution?
> Sure there is, but we must discuss about it.
> > If you are all willing to get one version out and thus give up each
> > single effort, then take the following questions allong with your
> > answer:
> > Do we decide to base the distro on a previous one or do we decide to
> > start from scratch?
> I think we sould use an existing distro, like....... debian ! ;-)
> > I think we have to use RPM as the standard package format as defined by
> > LSB, objections?
> Yes, me (sorry).
> We think really Debian is the best base, for several reasons :
> 	- Debian has a really light base (not like SuSE or RedHat), very
> modular ; that allows easy modifications.
> 	- The .deb package format is very powerfull (downgrade,
> interactive pre/post-install script/program, excellent dependances'
> management, etc.)
> 	- APT is the new package manager (it replaces the awfull dselect)
> and it's very usefull : auto-upgrade of the whole distro ('apt-get
> dist-upgrade' download all packages needed and upgrade the whole system)
> will or of package (for example 'apt-get install gimp' download all
> packages needed and install them) from a list of packages' sources (via
> http, ftp, directory, cdrom, etc...), graphic management with gnome-apt,
> and much more. It is very usefull for us (upgrade via FTP, HTTP, CDROM).
> 	- Debian is very stable : when it's released, no "base
> system"'s upgrade us needed, non "big" bugs are found.
> 	- Debian is very close to the standart (FHS 2, for example)
> 	- Debian is really *Free*.
> 	- I think it's bad to use the work of a commercial firm (like
>  RedHat or SuSE) to "concurrence" them.

> 	- Debian will be very happy and will help us if we use its
> distro.
> 	- Some Debian developers, which generally are excellent, will
> certainly help us and/or join them.
> What do you think about all that ?

I have seen this when I was in Seul.  People telling how great Debian
is and how free it is and how the Debian 7th Cavalry will come to our
rescue if only we decide to become Debian satellites.  Well first of
all cavalry never came for Seul.  Only a single cavalryman, their
colonel willing to plunder the fallen.  But this is not the point.
Roger or Donovan will tell you what happenned.  It was not pretty.

Why I decided to break on the RedHat-Debian issue?  In case you think
I am in awe about RedHat the answer is no and still less at that time
when so many things were broken in RedHat.

What is the problem with Debian?  They are Betamax.  In many areas
when you use a technology nobody else uses you face an uphill battle
despite having the superior technology.  It was the steam motor for
cars in the twentys (used fuel to produce steam, it was better than
internal combustion motors but people didn't bought it because no
garagist was able to repair it and garagists didn't learn because
people were not using it).  It was Betamax (no video-clubs, so no
people using it, so no video-clubs).  It was Unix against Windows
(people using Windows because there was more software and programmers
writing for Windows beacause there were more people).

Debian isolated itself of the rest of the Linux community and it also
managed to be released so late other people had taken the high ground.
If they had been smart they would had released a much smaller Debian
two years earlier instead of waiting and waiting in order to issue a
distrib with _six_ web servers in it.  In the meantime, we, the users
were left struggling with Slackware.  Another point is as soon an
interesting feature would have been ready _I_ would have gone to other
distribs and told them: "Debian is not ready but this feature can help
you to convert people from Windows to Linux".  If they had done this
by now every distrib would be using DPKG we would have gone farther in
the road to world liberation.

In case you think RedHat adopted a license as constraining and
dangerous for them as GPL because they are good hearted then you are
naive.  It was this move who allowed them to become _the_ standard and
to make RPM _the_ standard.  And now they reap the benefits of being
the standard: computers with Linux preinstalled come with RedHat
because RedHat and compatible is 85% of user share.  Software comes
with installations tailored for RedHat and compiled against the
libraries ipresent in RedHat because RedHat and compatible represents
85% of user share, books describe RedHat because RedHat and
compatibles is 85% of user share and soon manufacturers will be
putting CDs with drivers in the box containing the hardware.  People
using Debian and compatbles like LaetOS will have to compile the
source while people using RedHat and compatible will get drivers who
will install themseleves, just because RedHat and compatible is 85% of
user share.  And yes this will be a Linux world centered around RedHat
but before you begin believing FUD about RedHat being next Microsoft I
remember you RedHat is GPLed and that means everyone can install it
for free and everyone can use RedHat to make a distrib who will
compete them and perhaps break their back.  And because they used GPL
and not cheat-licenses like BSD they cannot take their distrib back
and make it proprietary.

Now Debian could be the way to go when you want to make a perfect
distrib but what we want to do is not a perfect distrib but an end
user distrib.  What is an end user?  A guy who goes to end user stores
and is holding the hand of his child while he stretches the other to
grasp a Linux distrib in a nice box with nice paper doc.  He will not
download a distrib.  He will not go to tiny sinister stores who are
selling Linux distribs along with ingredients for black magic.  In
addition he will choose the distrib who is compatible _out_of_the_box_
with the software who will help his child to learn reading.  If you
are not in the right store (FNAC for french people) then you are
useless.  If you are in the right store but you are in a diamond CD
box with no paper doc then he will not even look at you so you will be
useless.  If you have the nice box but you cannot claim you are
compatible with the distrib who works with the other box containing
software for his child then you are useless.  If you make a distrib
easier than RedHat but you are an useless distrib and the guy thinks
RH is too hard for him then he will take Windows 2005.  So let's
launch this gauntlet: any Parisian guy of LaetOs can have a rendez
vous with me and we will visit the three FNACs in Paris and he will
show me the shiny Debian boxes or books about Debian.

So I based on RedHat because by doing this I get for Indy and Indy
users the benefits in easiness of use RedHat is reaping because it and
its clones are 85% user share: books, software (Postgres lacks
essential features for using it for business, so you use DB2 for Linux
and you find it is designed to be plug and play for RedHat), drivers.
Also there is a good chance some small computer manufacturer will
preinstall Indy instead of RedHat if Indy is superior but is compatible
with RedHat.  He will not choose a thing who will have users
struggling with the problems of being minority.  Laet people have
projected to write a book describing Laet and have this book be best
in world.  Problem is the publisher will look at it and tell "You
describe a thing nobody uses and incompatible with mainstream, so no
sales.  No thanks"

Finally there is the question of what use you are for Linux users and
Linux itself.  I based on RedHat because that means 85% (intead of 5%)
of people could use part of Indy to improve the way their distrib
handles their problems.  (I very often think RedHat was designed by
people who live in planet mars).  Plus some features usable for Suse
users and you reach 90%.  I based on RedHat because in case Indy
doesn't get its nice box then its ideas can be incorporated easily
into RedHat, Mandrake, TurboLinux and in the distribs who are close to
them and happen to be the ones who are fighting in the front against
Windows (and this will benefit 85% of users).  I am willing to help
everyone be Debian or Laet but I had something in mind when I gave
Independence that silly name: to make clear I don't accept Indy
becoming vassal of anybody.  That I wanted to have decisions about
Indy being taken basing on what would help Linux users and the Linux
cause, not on what would help such or such distrib.

And about Debian being free and not for profit there is a distrib who
is as free as Debian as not profit as Debian and in addition aims at
helping people right now.  It is called Independence.

Now Laet people have posted messages who have been forwardeed to Indy
list.  It would be fair if they forwarded this message to their list.

I want to end this thread.  I will answer mails of Indy people willing
to convince me (democracy :-) but not from Laet people willing to
convert me

			Jean Francois Martinez

Project Independence: Linux for the Masses