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Getting Software Added to Unix Distributions?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the lobbying-for-inclusion dept.

Software 267

suso asks: "I've been working on a set of programs called num-utils that I would eventually like to be considered for inclusion in some of the many free Un*x distributions (on the install CDs, etc). So my question is, how does one put their applications on the track to be included in the main distribution of Red Hat, Debian, SuSE, *BSD, and so on? Is this just something that is up to the maintainers or are there submission forms of some kind?"

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267 comments

GNAA OWNED (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497863)

Ha ha.

ASSCLOWNERY! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497867)

Pay attention!

I'm bringing new word to your vocabularity.

Listen buddy! I've had enough of this ASSCLOWNERY!

Re:ASSCLOWNERY! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497880)

Eh... no.

Here's a new phrase for YOUR vocabulary -

TRYING TOO HARD

Linux is not Unix (4, Funny)

Flounder (42112) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497870)

unless, of course, SCO wins their lawsuit.

Re:Linux is not Unix (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497987)

GNU is also not Unix. :P

Re:Linux is not Unix (0, Flamebait)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497988)

Quite right, and why exactly does the submitter say Un*x? What else goes in there but an i? Nit picking can be annoying but come on, this is Slashdot - we see *nix in every fifth story, is it so much to ask to get it right?

Re:Linux is not Unix (1, Offtopic)

Joey7F (307495) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498037)

Well...if you want to nit pick it would be *n?x
We all know what he is talking about so it is no big deal.

--Joey

Re:Linux is not Unix (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6498131)

Try:
^*n[iu]x
If you're going to nitpick, nitpick properly!!!

Re:Linux is not Unix (4, Informative)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498077)

Un*x is traditional. AT&T can't sue you for trademark infringement if you don't say the whole word.

*nix is much newer (circa mid-90s, rather than the late 80s Un*x started in) and is actually much less accurate. Un*x refers to Unix(tm), I've heard *nix refer to just about anything POSIX. Why don't more people refer to things by the standards they're actually judging Un*x-a-like systems?

Usefulness and Popularity (4, Insightful)

turgid (580780) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497872)

If your programs are genuinely useful and well-written, they will build up a user base over time. Eventually they will become viewed as worth putting in a distribution.

Re:Usefulness and Popularity (1)

anshil (302405) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497940)

Nah if only reality would really work that way .... ....not 95%+ of all desktops were windows.

Write a text editor (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497878)

Write another text editor app, then it will be sure to be included in the distro. Distros dont have enough text editors in them.

Don't be silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497981)

He should write a BreakOut or Tetris clone. If he ensures that it has a version number like 0.3.5 and never, ever, reaches 1.0, then it is sure to be included!

Re:Write a text editor (0)

turgid (580780) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498102)

...Or theme-able, skinnable IRC clients with alpha trasparency. Or Tetris clones...

Simple (4, Insightful)

sporty (27564) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497879)

1. port it to as many systems as possible, even non-targert systems. possibly AIX, old Digital Unix.. you name it.

2. get the werd out. If people know about your package, it could solve a problem somewhere that would get it installed.

3. support it. if you support it, people will keep using it. even if it is initially crappy, you'll get bug fixes and advice.

4. package it. no one more than me.. 'cept for those that hate it more than me, hate doing custom compiles on a system that doesn't have /usr/ports or emerge.

Then you live on w/ your life. If your software is good and fulfills a need, you'll see it get put in.

Then you can go onto 5. Profit. or ????. YMMV

Re:Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497910)


4. package it. no one more than me.. 'cept for those that hate it more than me, hate doing custom compiles on a system that doesn't have /usr/ports or emerge.


Huh?! why is that insightful, I had not idea what the hell he's talking about.

Re:Simple (1)

packeteer (566398) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497959)

The sentence contradicts itself and is layed out wrong but its a good point. Not all valuable posts are well written. The sentence should read like this:

I hate doing custom compiles on a system that doesn't have /usr/ports or emerge.

Re:Simple (4, Funny)

trikberg (621893) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497916)

2. get the werd out. If people know about your package, it could solve a problem somewhere that would get it installed.

Somehow I get a feeling that he has that one covered. :)

Re:Simple (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497971)

"2. get the werd out. If people know about your package, it could solve a problem somewhere that would get it installed."

Well I know that some memeber of the Linux community can be a bit high strung but I would called the weird

Rus

Make noiseb about it (5, Insightful)

makapuf (412290) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497882)

Not to sound flamebait, but you're quite right in doing it : giving it the maximum visibility (for example by posting a link to it on a popular news discussion site) will make a few people notice it exists.

Now, the main question is does it do ogg ?

Re:Make noiseb about it (4, Funny)

DrWhizBang (5333) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497901)

Now, the main question is does it do ogg ?

It doesn't matter about ogg. Once it reads mail, then it is feature complete.

Re:Make noiseb about it (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498108)

*It doesn't matter about ogg. Once it reads mail, then it is feature complete.*

well, it would be handy for calculating all the money they tell that i could have just by working at home!

Re:Make noiseb about it (2, Insightful)

sukottoX (601412) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497942)

i wouldn't be surprised to find your utilities included in the next version of some big distro after this nice self-slashdotting. this probably was the most effective way to get your programs noticed!

Good idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497883)

I've just made a great wallpaper for my windoze XP desktop and I thought I might have it distributed by Microsnuff when they release the next service pack.....

It's a beauty with a small cat and at donkey smooking crack.... Great ehh?

Re:Good idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497948)

Troll? This guy's right on the money.

If your tools are any good and used/demanded by a lot of people they'll get included. Otherwise, like some other guy said: package them yourself and include them in distros which allow it (Debian?).

Don't think that you've made the latest and greatest tool that everyone and their neighbour should include in their distros. Let them decide whether it's worth it.

Looking at your tools, I'd rather start up CLISP [sourceforge.net] but that's just me.

OPEN SOURCE IS RACIST! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497885)

Exactly why are there NO people of color in the Slashdot/Linux/open source communities? Why are blacks excluded. Why does Rob Malda aka CmdrTaco associate with ZERO minorities. Why the blatent racism? Please name even ONE black involved with Open Source. It is impossible because there are none. Liberals hypocrits like TORVALDS MALDA COWBOY NEAL STALLMAN etc are quick to praise minorities but would never actually associate with one. They are frightened of them and believe them to be a criminal element, crossing the street if one ever approched them. I am sick and tired of pale, obese, socially inept, smelly and sexless white boys contolling everything. Please stop the blatent Racism and allow a token black to participate. Thank you!

THIS IS THE TROLL U WERE LOOKING FOR (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497907)

OPEN SOURCE? MORE LIKE OPENLY RACIST

The Open Source movement, otherwise known as 'Free Software', has been a topic of considerable debate on the Internet's most controversial site. The majority of this debate has centered around the technical merits of the software, with the esteemed editors argueing against adopting Linux by employing the full depth of their considerable intellects, and the other side hurling death threats and similar invective. This has allowed many who would not otherwise receive quality information about Open Source software to be made aware of many of its ramifications, but one issue has been left alone: The overt racism that is deeply embedded in the movement.

Allow me to explain.

Alan Cox; Richard Stallman; Bruce Perens; Wichert Akkerman; Miguel DeIcaza.

What do you see in this list of names? Are there any African-Americans on it? Absolutely not, none of those names sound like one a self-respecting black person would have! No Maurice, no Luther, no Lil' Kim. There are many other lists such as this, you can see one here. Flip through each page, do you see anything other than white faces? Of course you don't, because Open Source and its adherents are ardent racists and they absolutely forbid access to the sacred 'kernel' by any person of color.

Lets look at another list, this time a compendium of the companies using Linux. Are there any black owned companies on that list? Nooooooo. How about these companies? They all have something to do with Open Source software, any of them owned by an African-American? No again. Here is an extensive collection of photographs from a LUG (Linux User Gathering) meeting, more can be viewed at that link. What is odd about these pictures, and every other photograph I have ever seen of a LUG meeting, is that there is not one single black person to be seen, and probably none for miles.

More racist overtones can be found by examining the language of Open Source. They often refer to 'white hat' hackers. These 'white hats' scurry about the Internet doing good, but illegal, acts for their fellow man. In stark contrast we find the 'black hat' hackers. They destroy the good works of others by breaking into systems, stealing data, and generally causing havoc. These two terms reflect the mindset of most Linux developers. White means good, black means bad. Anywhere there is black, there is uncontrollable destruction and lawlessness. Looking further we see black lists that inform other users of 'bad' hardware, Samba, an obvious play on the much hated Little Black Sambo book, Mandrake, which I won't explain except to say that the French are notorious racists. This type is linguistic discrimination is widespread throughout the Open Source culture, lampooned by many of its more popular sites.

It is also a fact that all Unix 'distros' contain a plethora of racist commands with not so hidden symbolism.

It can hardly be coincidence that the prime operating system of choice of the 'open source supremacists' - Linux, features commands which are poorly disguised racist acronyms. For example: 'awk' (All White Klan) , 'sed' (shoot nEgroes dead), 'ln' (lynch negroes), 'rpm' (raical purity mandatory), 'bash' (bring a slave home), 'ps' (persecute sambo), 'mount' (murder or unseat nubians today), 'fsck' (favored supreme Christian klan). I could go on and on about the latent racist symbolism in Linux, but I fear it would take weeks to enumerate every incidence.

Is there a single unix command out there that does not have some hidden racist connotation ? Suffice it to say that the racism pervades Linux like a particularly bad smell. Can you imagine the effect of running such a racist operating system on the impressionable mind ? I don't have to remind you that transmitting subliminal messages is banned in the USA, and yet here we have an operating system that appears to be one enormous submliminal ad for the Klan!

One of the few selling points of Open Source software is that it is available in many different languages. Browsing through the list I see that absolutely none are offered in Swahili, nor Ebonics. Obviously this is done to prevent black people from having access to the kernel. If it weren't for the fact that racism is so blatantly evil I would be impressed by the efforts these Open Sourcers have invested in keeping their little hobby lilly white. It even appears that they hate the Japanese, as some of these self proclaimed hackers defaced a web site with anti-Japanese slogans. Hell, these people even go all the way to Africa (South Africa mind you, better known as White Africa) and the pictures prove that they don't even get close to a black person.

Of course, presenting overwhelming evidence such as this is a bit unfair without some attempt to determine why these Open Sourcers are so racist. Much of the evidence I have collected indicates that their views are so deeply held that they are seldom questioned by the new recruits. This, coupled with the robot-like groupthink that dominates the culture allows the racist mindset to continue to permeate the ranks. Indeed, the Open Source version of a Klan rally, OSDN (known to the world as Open Source Developer's Network, known to insiders as Open Source Denies Negroes) nearly stands up and shouts its racist views on its demographics page. It doesn't mention the black man one single time. Obviously, anyone involved with Open Source doesn't need to be told that the demographic is entirely white, it is a given.

I have a sneaking suspicion as to why their beliefs are so closely held: they are all terrible athletes.

Really. Much like the tragedy at Columbine High School, where two geeks went on a rampage to get back at 'jocks', these adult geeks still bear the emotional scars inflicted upon them due to their lack of athletic ability during their teen years. As African-Americans are well known for their athletic skills, they are an obvious target for the Open Source geeks. As we all know, sports builds character, thus it follows that the lack of sports destroys character. These geeks, locked away in their rooms, munching on stale pizza and Fritos, engage in no character building activities. Further, they interact only with computers and never develop the level of social skill that allows normal people to handle relationships with persons of color.

Contrasted with the closed source, non-geeky software house Microsoft, Open Source has a long, long way to go.

Re:THIS IS THE TROLL U WERE LOOKING FOR (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497943)

Troll or no troll, I have to admit that this is one of the funniest things I've ever read on this tight ass web site. ;)

Re:THIS IS THE TROLL U WERE LOOKING FOR (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497967)

Damn you got modded down for the same sense of humor as our loveable Berkeley Breathed.

PARENT = RIPOFF (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6498064)

LINUX - THE RACIST OS?

It is time for us, the people of color to take a stand! As a black woman I am angered, shocked and saddened to see the Open Source community in general - and Linux users specifically - continuing to perpetuate racism. I know that many of you may not consider yourselves party to any racist beliefs, but by using Linux you are condoning and assisting an OS that oppresses minorities.

Companies such as Microsoft and Apple have made great strides in making technology available to the African-American community. It saddens me to see that Linux has not taken similar steps. While the two companies mentioned above donate time and resources to impoverished schools - and I'd like to take an aside to thank Microsoft for their offer to donate even more to schools to settle some lawsuits - I've yet to hear of a Redhat or a Mandrake that will make its software freely available to our children. By keeping their product out of the hands of those who need it most, these companies are depriving us of our chance to shine!

Additionally when one looks closely at the userbase of Linux, one will see that its made up almost entirely of wealthy white men. Nowhere are my fellow African-American's depicted, and women are almost as rare. I do not believe this to be an accident, not in this day and age. Not with a product that counts as one of its biggest programs something unfortunately named "Samba." I think we all remember this mean-spirited fairy tell that the white devil would tell its children. I would remind Linux of what became of the "Sambas" chain of restaurants when they would not end their racist name.

Further examples can be seen in Apache. This name steals this Native American tribe of their identity. To take a proud race of people and demean them by naming a third-rate web browser after them is criminal.

This blatant racism must be brought to a halt! Such a cancer cannot be allowed to fester within the Open Source community! I encourage my fellow proud, black Brothers and Sisters to boycott this racist OS. There are other alternatives that will not keep us in chains.

Happy Kwannza!

Feedback forms (4, Informative)

Novus (182265) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497887)

For starters, you could try looking for feedback forms on the distributions' web sites, such as these forms for SuSE [www.suse.de]. Forms like these are often intended to bring suggestions to the attention of the distribution developers.

Step-wise procedure... (4, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497889)

1. Write software.
2. Take out a coyright in your name.
3. Apply GPL notices to code.
4. Publish code via ftp.
5. Send code to Source Forge and Freshmeat.

Very difficult?

-

Re:Step-wise procedure... (1)

godal (674406) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497968)

ehrm, if you are planning to go into the bsd's you should stay clear of GPL. Another thing people don't mention is to get it added to the ports tree of bsd's, get it into apt-get and so on.

Re:Step-wise procedure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6498071)

Just like how the BSD people steer clear of the GNU Compiler Collection?

Copyright (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498041)

You don't "take out" a copyright. Anything you produce, by definition, has a copyright attached. Whether or not that is compatible with other licensing schemes is a different ball game.

Re:Step-wise procedure... (0)

Aeonsfx (675982) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498111)

> 3. Apply GPL notices to code.

Nah, omit the GPL. Its viral. How about say... the BSD or MIT licenses?

debian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497890)

in debian it's pretty easy, you just have to find someone willing to package it, including you

Publish first to website. (5, Interesting)

marcovje (205102) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497893)


Two ways:

How we did it (fpc, a pascal compiler)
- First the app was published on our site only, and gained momentum and peer review. This stage took several years.
- for the distributions where ordinary users can submit packages (*BSD ports and Debian) somebody
will do a port in time. You could do that yourself of course and speed up the process.
- After a time the commercial ones pick it up if it is really good. You can lobby for that too, but maintainers might also contact you if you have critical mass.
I found SUSE always the most responsive. RedHat is the only major that doesn't include it, and has been promising it for the next major version since 6.x times.

About SUSE there is a nice anecdote. I mailed our contact that a new version was out, and got a reply back that the final ISO had already been made. Two days later I got a mail back that they had to update a critical bug, and also updated our package to the newer version (which was a fixes only release btw)

The second way is to try to submit your packages to the FSF, so not just GPL it, but really get in bed with the FSF
FSF stuff more readily gets into distro's than third party projects. Of course again, they will only be really interested if your work is phenomenal.

Re:Publish first to website. (3, Interesting)

hanwen (8589) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497917)


The second way is to try to submit your packages to the FSF, so not just GPL it, but really get in bed with the FSF. FSF stuff more readily gets into distro's than third party projects. Of course again, they will only be really interested if your work is phenomenal.


That is not true. The GNU project (the FSF doesn't do this directly, the FSF is the foundation that sponsors GNU) will take on any software, as long as it is free, conforms to the GNU coding standards, and is not yet covered by other GNU packages.


Savannah (the GNU equivalent of Sourceforge) also carries a lot of near-dead projects.

Re:Publish first to website. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6498097)

> conforms to the GNU coding standards

Doesn't GPL say something about distributing the source in it's preferred form?

I doub't everyone likes the GNU coding style.

Re:Publish first to website. (4, Funny)

BetterThanCaesar (625636) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498118)

Savannah (the GNU equivalent of Sourceforge) also carries a lot of near-dead projects.

Savannah, where GNUs go to die...?

Re:Publish first to website. (1)

marcovje (205102) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498148)


It wasn't meant as a FSF/GNU criticism, but there is a difference with the "independant" way.

You need some form of adaptation needed, (e.g. coding standards) and I can also imagine competing with a GNU project that partially overlaps can make things different.

In our case, our code base was in TurboPascal/Delphi. I don't know if the codebase adheres to the GNU standards though.

Re:Publish first to website. (1)

chrysalis (50680) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497976)

I also found SuSE very responsive and helpful.

For Pure-FTPd, they subscribed to the mailing-list, reported bugs, proposed patches and they helped us to build RPMs, even for other distros.

The same thing applies to the Polish Linux Distribution.

learn awk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497894)

After taking a quick glance at the package I didn't see anythink I couldn't do with a quick awk statement or two.

Popularity would be My Guess (1)

nucrash (549705) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497895)

I am sure some if you talk to some UNIX/gnu linux distros, they would tinker with it. Mandrake would be a good company to ask to include programs. Distros like Redhat and such wait until the application is more coming of age.

You could also jump on serveral mailing lists and such. Perhaps, post you thoughts in a public forum to be rediculed.

I'm not that innocent (1)

mikeymckay (138669) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497898)

Hmm - I wonder if asking people about how to get noticed will actually end up getting me noticed...

Too bad this now won't work for everybody - so yeah how does one do this?

Reputation + Packaging (3, Insightful)

rf0 (159958) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497899)

Half of it is about reputation and having a good following. The other thing that helps is to supply packages for each distro. i.e rpm for redhat, deb for debian. For others like FreeBSD which have the ports tree see if you can get your files commited

HTh

Rus

GNU? (3, Informative)

metalmaniac1759 (600176) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497900)

I think Gnu should help. Try submitting on their site. If you code according to their guidelines, and if your software is useful enough they will include it in some package (something like what binutils is).
Your program will then automatically get into *all* distros :)

Nandz.

Re:GNU? (1)

anshil (302405) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497960)

Nah this is all but Informative, GNU itself only supports software that fits in their strategy...

If you make software under the GPL, do not expect direct help from the FSF, it's first not their obligation to do so, second you will only get disappointed.

They have of course savannah, to help you distribute, but do not expect to become a FSF owned package, these are rahter limited.

Is your app a virus by any chance? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497902)

If so it will add itself eventually.

Get eyeballs.. (3, Informative)

Graelin (309958) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497905)

The distro maintainers make these decisions based on popularity and dependency. Why include software nobody ever uses?

The larger distributions will not carry your tool until it's become widely adopted by the Linux community - be thankful, otherwise RedHat 9 would require a DVD or two, instead of (just!) 3 CDs...

These utilities you have here, while useful, will probably not see much user adoption. However they would be very useful in shell scripting. If a more mainstream user application requires your utilities to function, the distro will be forced into including your stuff - as a dependency.

Make your own binary packages (2, Informative)

Cee (22717) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497906)

I think you should make your own binary packages, or get someone else to do it for you (for the distros/architectures you don't have access to). I've seen you already have rpm's on your site, so that's a good start.
This way you (or someone you know) can be an inofficial maintainer for your package. When your software becomes popular enough, it may eventually be included with the major distributions.
So my advice is basically: patience =)

dc, man (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497911)

man dc

Have you considered developing for windows? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497926)

You can get a much larger customer base, and hence considerably more exposure if its vaguely useful. You can even charge a small $5 shareware registration fee (and maybe even get $5 if someone likes the software enough).

Once Linux users start realising that they need such a tool, simply release a GPLed version for Linux.

Re:Have you considered developing for windows? (1)

Ace Rimmer (179561) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497956)

Have you followed the link in the article? I have no idea who would want to pay $5 for a set of tools capable generating a specified interval, summing up a sequence of numbers or taking random of those...
Though, it may be useful to have those for shell scripting.

This was ask.slashdot.org. Who would expect a Spanish inqusition?

Re:Have you considered developing for windows? (1)

fruey (563914) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498133)

To be fair, it's a bit more complex than that, although its being written in Perl is not ideal for hardcore command liners

o search for numbers that are factors of 1024 and multiples of 12 or numbers that are factors of 2333 and multiples of 9


numgrep /f1024m12,f2333m9/ data.txt

So, it's like a commandline based spreadsheet, because it can also do adding of columns and rows in text files. I think somehow awk could already handle a lot of the stuff it does do though.

Re:Have you considered developing for windows? (1)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497984)

For many classes of applications (development tools, libraries, scripting systems...), a $5 $hareware version makes no sense. Such software is expected to be available indefinitely (guaranteed by OSS), and a community is always a plus. You don't get that with shareware.

Watch them closely (1)

Random Walk (252043) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497932)

If your application is popular enough, or does something that is in high demand, they (insert any distribution) will include it. Of course they won't tell you (actually, FreeBSD occasionally stands out from the crowd and tells you if your app is in their ports system), and they will also not tell you about the bugs they have found, and the patches they use to fix these bugs.

do some serious work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497933)

Sorry to say this, but from what I have seen this set of tools can be written in less than a day.
It seems to me that the first step towards inclusion in the major distros is having a more creative
product...

Re:do some serious work (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497952)

Sorry to say this, but from what I have seen this set of tools can be written in less than a day.

But if he's put the work in, and got it dead on right, then he might as well save *you* that day, huh? If it's small and useful who cares how complex it really is?

Re:do some serious work (0, Flamebait)

godal (674406) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498039)

Hi! I have written a set of programs called dum-utils. Here are the basic functionality: average: A program that will print out a random number between 0 and the sum of all input. bound: Will bind two number together, e.g. if you bound 6 and 3 then 6 will effectively be a 3 in all subsequent calculations and vice versa. interval: Will give you the time from you started using this tool, until you stopped using them, (the shorter the time, the smarter your are!) dumgrep: Will grep input or files for dumb names like "Brian", "Stevo". dumprocess: Looks for other dumb programs like "ed" and so on. dumsum: The sum of all dumb people on the planet, will contact ftp server of distro and get download count. randum: Generate a random dumb sentence like "Why do people eat food when there are stones?". range: The range a dumb person needs to be at to get shot with a rifle, currently about 400 meters. round: Draws round circles all over the screen. The utils are written in Befunge-93 and will be available shortly.

Re:do some serious work (1)

TooTechy (191509) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498065)

You forgot to put an href in for Befunge-93. This is a language which needs exploring if it can do all these unique things. Given the complexity it has to run on a PDP-11? ;-)

Simply send it to SCO (5, Funny)

Advocadus Diaboli (323784) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497937)

They will take care of it and will find evidences that your code is already illegally included in all major distributions, the kernel and the rest of the world. And they will offer a license for using it.

Money talks but here's some free advice... (3, Informative)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497949)

$100,000 buys you 10 minutes of face-to-face time with Dubya and I bet a similar "donation" would get you some time with the guys at Red Hat, SuSe, etc.

But, of course, that's not what you wanted to hear. I'd check out their FAQs, ask questions in their relevant forums, usenet groups, etc. I'd imagine that each distribution has its own criteria for inclusion so your approach to one vendor might have to be completely different to your approach with another.

Whatever you do, bear in mind two (slightly paradoxical) things:

1. They probably get asked to include lots of software, some good, some bad and some downright ugly.

I know of one major magazine that was sent an application for inclusion on its cover disk that calculated sales taxes for you - by taking the figure you gave it and multiplying by the relevant amount. That's the chaff. You need to be the wheat. So make sure that your software is truly worth inclusion (Does anybody already have a similar offering in their distribution? How does yours differentiate itself? How is it superior?) before you start investing serious time and effort into promoting it.

Also, remember that there will be great pressure, both internal and external, for vendors to keep their distributions free of bloat. Even if your software is unique, does it really offer something that a significant proportion of the target audience will want and use? You could develop the best doll's house design software for Linux ever but if nobody wants to design doll's houses on their Linux machines then you're screwed.

2. If you really do have a product worthy of inclusion then persevere.

Once you find the distributions' relevant contacts, harrass and hassle them about it until you get some sort of feedback. If they say 'yes' that's great, but if they say 'no' ask why it's a not a go.

But remember, although it might be their jobs to deal with new submissions, it isn't their jobs to deal with crap. Don't be offensive, advesarial or overly aggressive and don't become a stalker (leaving two voicemails a day is a no-no) or the only answer you'll ever get is 'no'.

Good luck.

lame software (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497951)

num-utils wont make it.. .why? because it sucks.

Use SCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497958)

Give it to sco. They will insert it and then claim ownership wether it is theirs or not.

On Perl and command-line utilities (5, Interesting)

juahonen (544369) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497965)

Your mathematical utilities would be more useful if you had programmed them in C. Your choice of language will limit their adoption. Basically because using Perl scripts is not as fast as calling compiled C programs. This fact alone will make people reductant of using your utils in their code.

Because FreeBSD doesn't ship Perl as standard part of their distribution anymore, it'll be likely that your utils will not get included in any BSD software because it would pull in Perl. It may be a reason for Linux distributions too for not using your num-utils. Debian may be the only distribution which relies on Perl.

Re:On Perl and command-line utilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6497990)

Most distibutions are moving towards python. Redhat severn uses it for its installer, and gentoo uses it everywhere. Python is simply more flexible and easier to use, and if it wasn't so anal about tabs/spaces then it's adoption would speed up even more.

Debian will get left behind if it keeps with obsolete packages (and yes, even sid and sarge use old stuff) we can't let that horrible distro stiffle open source innovation.

Re:On Perl and command-line utilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6498013)

I don't particularly want either Perl or Python to be mandatory for a distro, it's a lot of work ontop of a base install to replace all perl/py with shell script.

If these utils belong anywhere it's as a CPAN package.

Re:On Perl and command-line utilities (2, Insightful)

BJH (11355) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498002)

The other thing is that several of the utilities (or at least 90% of their functionality) can be implemented in 1-2 lines of sh or awk.

Really, if you're shooting to be included in a distribution, make it for something worthwhile.

Re:On Perl and command-line utilities (3, Interesting)

73939133 (676561) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498078)

Your mathematical utilities would be more useful if you had programmed them in C. Your choice of language will limit their adoption. Basically because using Perl scripts is not as fast as calling compiled C programs.

I have actually written a lot of this kind of code, working with huge datasets, and you are simply wrong. The performance of these kinds of utilities is dominated by I/O, not CPU. Furthermore, even the CPU-intensive parts of these utilities (conversions, etc.) are implemented in highly optimized C code inside Perl.

Because FreeBSD doesn't ship Perl as standard part of their distribution anymore, it'll be likely that your utils will not get included in any BSD software because it would pull in Perl.

I think Perl is a pretty awful language, but not including it in FreeBSD strikes me as a stupid decision. Perl is useful and works well across many systems. It's also not particularly big. If FreeBSD doesn't include Perl in the standard install, then FreeBSD has a problem, not people who write scripts in Perl.

What is BSD doing instead? Implementing all utilities in C? Gee, that's bright: let's create lots of unnecessary work for ourselves, increase maintenance hassles, make it really difficult to use good algorithms, make sure that there are plenty of opportunities for pointer bugs. That's negative progress: operating systems need less C programming, not more.

Re:On Perl and command-line utilities (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498167)

I agree. I was astonished how quick a dictionary processor was in Perl, compared to a C++STL implementation, and a C implementation. I thought that it wasn't working, because it came back so quickly. The C implementation took about five seconds, the C++ took about 25. The Perl version took 2 minutes to write, C++ took two hours, C took two days.

Re:On Perl and command-line utilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6498206)

Operating systems need less C programming, not more.

They don't need any bloat either, you say Perl, I say PHP, Python & lua. Good luck loading a different script host for every command you freak!

Re:On Perl and command-line utilities (2, Interesting)

sumirati (639201) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498156)

Because FreeBSD doesn't ship Perl as standard part of their distribution anymore, it'll be likely that your utils will not get included in any BSD software because it would pull in Perl. It may be a reason for Linux distributions too for not using your num-utils. Debian may be the only distribution which relies on Perl.

Yes, Perl is no longer a part of the base FreeBSD installation (as long as for 5.x). It is a port instead - like UUCP and some others. And Perl is ALWAYS installed by DEFAULT! [freebsd.org]

Please, check your facts before posting ...
... ah, but this IS slashdot, or?

What about bc ? (1)

i-neo (176120) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497978)

I've read what your tools are about, however I don't feel like it's something people MUST have unlike bc [gnu.org].
I guess bc is less handy, but it does a great job and has always been enough for command line computations.

Debian (5, Informative)

nvainio (135908) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497982)

If you want your program to be included in Debian, you may package it yourself. Debian New Maintainer's Guide [debian.org] is a good place to start at.

Or, you could file an RFP (Request For Package). See instructions [debian.org].

Re:Debian (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498210)

> If you want your program to be included in Debian,
> you may package it yourself.

That won't get it included in Debian. Only Debian developers can add packages to the distribution.

> Or, you could file an RFP (Request For Package).

Yes.

I don't think it's really all that hard... (4, Informative)

onomatomania (598947) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497989)

The people that tend to do packaging are not likely to be influenced by you pestering their Inboxes, or filling out forms, or posting to forums, etc. Instead, ensure that your program meets the following requirements, and you should have no problems.

- It should fulfill a genuine need. If you're aiming for wide distribution you can't expect to achieve it with a something that's only relevent to a few people or in a few circumstances. You should also have some sort of document that shows how someone would save time or accomplish new things with this tool.

- It should be small yet robust, minimalistic yet powerful. I don't think anyone would consider adding a tool to a default install that is either too large for the features it offers, or two pedestrian in the type of features that it offers.

- It should be packaged well. Ideally it should compile and install in the proper locations out-of-the-box on a variety of systems. Make sure that it uses well-known methods, such as autotools (i.e. "./configure --prefix=/usr/local") or some other well-know "make; make install" type of setup.

- It should be well documented. At the very least you should have full manpages that your install script puts in the right place. Also consider man2html output on a web site, an possibly texinfo for the purists. You can't expect to get away with "just run --help and figure it out" or "look in the README."

- It should be licensed sanely, and should have reasonable dependencies. No one like a bizarro license, and no one likes a tool that takes sixteen different libraries of particular versions to compile.

- It looks like you're trying to get these tools standardized so that they could be relied upon for scripting... this will always be very hard to accomplish, but you might look into getting them merged with some popular packages, i.e. 'fileutils'. If there's a particular program that they are well-suited to being used with (like awk or something) then see about getting them added, perhaps in a "contrib" dir, to a project like that.

Frankly, though, your post was a little worrysome... in the sense that it almost seems like you're trying to get everyone to use these tools because they're there, not for some intrinsic reason. That just won't work, they have to do something really well or make it much easier to do some other task, etc.... You can get the word out and announce to various interested parties, but you will never be able to force anyone to do anything. In other words, view the situation as one of wanting to make the best programs you can, and if they receive universal support that's icing on the cake.

e-mail (3, Funny)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497992)

Make sure it can check your e-mail. No software is complete until it can check your e-mail.

Sorry, but (1)

jabbadabbadoo (599681) | more than 10 years ago | (#6497999)

There are numerous free Unix/Linux packages that do what yours do and much more. It takes a few of minutes downloading these for the relatively few people that are interested in such utilities.

Sorry, but I can't see why would a limited package like "num-utils" would be of any interest.

Perhaps a single utility (1)

TooTechy (191509) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498023)

Perhaps these multiple utilities combined into one with options to alter the behavior, like the way that busybox behaves, might be easier to use. Users will forget the names of these multiple tools.

A lot of tech users would generate these utilities as required with a couple of lines of awk. Appealing to these folks will be difficult. Each of these can seemingly be repilcated without too much trouble.

As was written previously above, correct man pages (nroff -man) (see the man macros) will be essential.

Ask for help developing, and for ideas as to what might be included in the tools. You are the controller but you have to provide what other people want

my $.02

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6498024)

Why is it such a big deal to you that your software gets included in a distribution? Is that the only reason you're writing them? If it is then I suggest you stop now, because you're only going to end up being disapointed. Seriously, you may think that your num-utils are the bees knees, and that everyone would want a copy, but uh, they won't. Your tools are simply not that useful, and can be done hundreds of other ways (As many others have pointed out already).

If you're actually writing num-utils because you have a specific need for them, and you could not find any other way of doing what you needed, then that is fair enough. If thats the case though, why should you care; they do what you need, right?

GNU Development Model (1, Funny)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498025)

1) Code
2) Mention on /. you've written some C code to do what 2 lines of shell could do
3) ????
4) Profit?!

Meanwhile for Windows developers... (5, Funny)

Flashpoint X (598246) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498035)

Thankfully in the Windows world I don't have to concern myself about getting included in "official" distributions... I prefer to distribute my software via self-propagating emails. ;)

Re:Meanwhile for Windows developers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6498141)

Linux developpers can also distribute via email. He wants it to be included in distros so users have it with no need to download it. Thankfully, in the Linux world, if I developed something worthy of inclusion on the install disk, it's my program that will get there, not Microsoft's "quick-copy-that-app" version not compatible with yours. ;)

Step 1: Write something useful... (2, Informative)

jrwilk01 (88081) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498050)

If your app is useful to a large number of people, don't worry, it'll be included. The more people it appeals to, the faster it'll be adopted.

Just let nature take its course. If no one wants to include your package, there is no point in having it included for the sake of vanity.

If you are fairly confident of its usefulness, include a debian directory, and a rpm spec file in your source. That'll make it easy for people to package.

Build Mindshare (2, Informative)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498063)

Some distribution, I'm thinking of gentoo, have a user submission feature for new packages.

Just submit a new ebuild as a bug report. (No, that IS actually the proper way.) After a few weeks in the mill, your package will be out and about and happily rsynced in with every gentoo user. Gentoo are working on porting portage, their source distribution mechanism, to MacOSx and Window (running CygWin).

Of course, instant gratification is not a hallmark of the portage system.

You are competing with everybody else's widget in portage. So just make sure you get in cahoots with the folks who write the install docs, and have your software be made the subject of a few ZDnet articles. Writing a HOWTO based around your product is also a good idea.

Un*x? (-1, Offtopic)

swtaarrs (640506) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498094)

Un*x? That's a new one. So what type of Un*x is RedHat? Debian? SuSE? Last time I checked, you couldn't form Linux from Un*x.

awk (1)

73939133 (676561) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498095)

While I'm all for writing more command line utilities in general (as opposed to the kind of cumbersome GUI stuff everybody does), these particular kinds of command line tools are usually done using awk. For example, to sum up a column of numbers, write:
$ awk '{s+=$1}END{print s}' < file

How it worked for me .. (5, Informative)

stevey (64018) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498104)

Once upon a time I wanted an MP3 streaming server, none of the ones I looked at did what I wanted. So I did the standard thing and designed my own.

After releasing my first version to freshmeat [freshmeat.net] I had about five subscribers to the project.

These subscribers gave me patches, feedback, and encouragement.

Doing a websearch [google.com] for the project name I discovered by accident that the the package made it into Gentoo [gentoo.org], and similarly Netbsd without any feedback or involvement from myself!

The next step was my becoming a Debian Developer [debian.org] so that I could upload it there - and not worry about other people doing a bad job without me. (Not a real concern; I had wanted to join Debian for some time anyway).

Now life is good - I've no idea if it's in RedHat because I've not touched it for years, but SuSE include it the *BSD's and Gentoo cover it, and Debian gets the latest versions all the time.

Freshmeat lists 120+ subscribers to the project, and it's probably on the verge of becoming an official GNU package sometime soon.

If you use it and like it buy something nice? [amazon.co.uk] </ObPlug>

Package consolidation in distros. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6498110)

Right now there is a large effort underway to simplify the architecture in distributions, with redundant programs being removed. This is because one the biggest problems with the desktop is that the user is overwhelmed with programs that all do the same thing. Many distibutions don't come with emacs anymore because its to complex for its purpose (read: edit files). So its mostly either VI(M) or pico/nano that comes installed.

Even gnome/kde are starting to merge some of their core libraries/standards. For example there are plans to stip arts/esd out and replace it with alsa when linux kernel 2.6 comes out.

So if you wan't your tools included, you got make sure it is a) unique b) dosen't suck c) Good documentation d) Uses the standard architechture.

Get them to CPAN first (1)

shoppa (464619) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498182)

Seeing as how the tools are in Perl... you might try rearranging them until they're acceptable to CPAN first.

This probably involves making them more module-like and less command-line like. This may be a fundamental change for you and your tools. (It looks like most/many of them would be single lines in Perl... hard to call that a "module").

Version? (2, Insightful)

pjdepasq (214609) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498192)

Dude, you're only at version 0.3. Don't you agree that it's a little early to be talking about adoption by the distributions?

CPAN (1)

dossen (306388) | more than 10 years ago | (#6498227)

Since your package is written in perl, it might be a good idea to check out CPAN [cpan.org].

Check if they have anything that looks like your package (there might well be some math packages already (also remember to check what is shipped with perl). If there is, you might consider joining forces with whoever maintains the package that comes closest to yours. Move the logic of your programs into the modules you have found and make your programs as simple as possible, using the features of the combined modules. Then include tests, documentation and anything else you think would be relevant and contact the module maintainer with a patch or a new version. If (s)he accepts the contribution, the result should be a better and more useful package than either of you had before.

If you think you have found the perfect package to join forces with, but the maintainer does not want to hear your arguments, consider closely what you are offering. It might be that (s)he is right to turn you down, or there might be something you need to fix to fit into the package. If you get nowhere - and you are absolutely sure you have found the perfect home for your code, you might be able to make a fork (e.g. if the package you want to fork is GPL). Stop and think once more, whether this is the right course of action! You should have a good argument ready if you fork a known package, and you will need to do it better than the competition.

If you didn't find anything like your package, you might still get it into CPAN. But if you want it to be as useful as possible, you should still consider making it a module (or several) and using that module from your programs/scripts. Also again make sure that tests and documentation is good and plentiful. Then read the FAQ [cpan.org] about getting your package on CPAN.

You might also look into the source based distros, the BSDs and debian. They might be more up to including your package than the commersial distros, especially if you make it easy (use the GPL license, provide packages/ebuilds/spells/Makefiles and what ever else is needed for a proper package in their systems).

As countless others have no doubt pointed out, you may also want to look into making C implementations of your programs, get them on freshmeat, sourceforge, savannah and what not. All this is good advice. And most of all, make sure you expand and improve the programs, support your users and generally do your best to find your niche in the software landscape. That way you might be able to avoid getting labeled as "just another quick script submitted to freshmeat" (not that I have researched your package enough to make that judgement). Then inclusion in the distros is simply a matter of being useful to enough people (and making it as easy as possible to include your package).

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