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Perens: Unite behind Debian, UserLinux

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the no-surprise-there dept.

Debian 745

An anonymous readers writes "Infoworld is running a report on the Desktop Linux Conference, at which Bruce Perens suggested that in order to get Linux to the enterprise desktop, the Linux community should base their efforts on one single distribution... based on Debian. Perens went on to say that enterprises will be willing to pay Linux companies to engineer versions of Linux to suit their needs, but that the base distro should remain free. He suggested that by 2006, 30% of enterprise desktops will run Linux." Here is a wired story with more information about his proposed UserLinux project.

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745 comments

YOU ALL SUCK (-1)

penis fish (671987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7443965)

Hey, Linux users, you all suck balls. Also, suck my dick, bitches. Thanks for the FP, Penis Fish

Omg google stole my irc whois! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7443968)

fpz!

indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7443976)

Don't think redhat would much like that idea. It sounds like the situation we currently have, lots of distros with all one base, don't get what's changed...

ermmm (-1, Troll)

muyuubyou (621373) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444007)

So you think the current situation is "lots of distrs with all one base" and that base is Red Hat?.

Come on windows boy move along. Don't forget to check windowsupdate for today's hole.

Re:ermmm (0)

glynor (704553) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444232)

/me thinks by "all one base" he was referring to the linux kernel, not Red Hat. Troll.

That would never work... (5, Insightful)

eurleif (613257) | more than 10 years ago | (#7443979)

What makes Linux so great is that there are so many distros, and I can choose the one I like. One distro can never compare to hundreds of them.

Re:That would never work... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444018)

Yeah, but only debian has the hot chicks, no wait thats Free BSD, darnit lets use FreeBSD for Gods sakes! The only problem with it is that its all satanistic and associated with the occult.

But then again, zealots are zealots, and we likes our hot FreeBSD chicks!

That would work... (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444027)

What makes linux so difficult to adopt in the business world is that there are too many choices and just confuses the market..

For a home user, who cares.. for business its a hindrance..

Re:That would work... (1, Insightful)

eurleif (613257) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444055)

Maybe so, but geeks (me included) will want choice. How will the business people know that UserLinux is the one true distro any more than they know that Debian is the one true distro now?

Re:That would work... (1)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444251)

Exactly. Nothing will make the myriad of other distro's disappear, and with it the confusion over what to choose. What huge amount of PR will be able to promote UserLinux as THE Linux distro of choice for the Enterprise Desktop? I agree that Linux's strongest point is also its weakest: namely the extreme diversity makes some user-friendliness harder than necessary. But I don't see that changing anytime soon. Thus, Linux desktops will stay a little confusing for a while (at least to the semi-computer-illiterate).

Re:That would work... (0)

Coward the Anonymous (584745) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444267)

Because Perens and his industry backers will market the hell out of it. More power to them.

Re:That would work... (0)

wed128 (722152) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444150)

the fact that there are so many choices is the beauty of the whole thing. However, i do agree that linux ought to be distributed as a base form and the various distrobutions should be available as add ons to the base. For instance i would install a base Linux ISO and then, say, the red hat ISO would modify it to suit their distribution...

Re:That would never work... (0)

ospirata (565063) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444182)

Great number of choices is a good thing... for us. Regular users don't like the option to have a tarball, deb or rpm. They want just one. And one other thing: they do not want to know why gaim-rh70-i386-0.68.rpm doesn't work at they yellowdog box.

Re:That would never work... (3, Insightful)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444230)

It's easier to fork your own custom distro if all the packages out in the wild follow the same standards.

Unite behind Live CD's (5, Interesting)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7443983)

If they're running Debian, then that's great. But you need to put Linux into the hands of the masses if you want to take over the desktop and the best way to do that is to seed the planet with Linux Live CD's with the same fury that AOL soils the planet with their CD's.

No gcc, no including twelve different versions of AWK; just the kernel, KDE or Gnome (pick just one), OpenOffice, games, and all the rest of the shit that makes everything go.

Right now, when you say "Linux" to a layperson, they don't know what the fuck you're talking about. A Live CD is a painless way for them to find out.

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.

Re:Unite behind Live CD's (3, Interesting)

eurleif (613257) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444008)

If the masses knew that it was another operating system, most of them would use the CD forn a frisbee. My mother recoils in horror when I suggest she should consider installing Linux.

Re:Unite behind Live CD's (4, Informative)

corebreech (469871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444221)

Nobody is asking her to install Linux.

Just to run it.

You can boot from a Live CD, play with Linux, then reboot, take the CD out, and resume your regularly scheduled programming under Windows.

This is the beautiful thing about Live CD's. If it's done right, the user is completely insulated from all the usual crap we have to do to make Linux work, and without assuming any risk whatsoever from the experience.

Re:Unite behind Live CD's (2, Informative)

another misanthrope (688068) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444070)

Mepis [mepis.org] - Live Debain-based distro which you can also install to your harddrive THROUGH the liveCD version.

Good stuff - I've been running it as my primary distro for months now.

Re:Unite behind Live CD's (1)

ndogg (158021) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444114)

Just so you know, Knoppix is based on Debian, and I've heard nothing but good about Knoppix, even from people who usually say they hate Linux.

Re:Unite behind Live CD's (5, Insightful)

Gleef (86) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444119)

While Bruce Perens seems to be talking more about development, not distribution (you can't really develop assuming Live CD's, or else your stuff might not work well on full systems), your point that Live CD's are incredibly important for evangilism is a good one.

Also, note that the most popular Live CD's either are Knoppix [knoppix.net] or are based on Knoppix. Knoppix itself is based on Debian, so supporting Debian is supporting Live CDs.

Re:Unite behind Live CD's (4, Insightful)

aliens (90441) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444167)

Unfortunately they don't know WTF you're talking about nor do they care.

Honestly why would someone running XP Home/Pro migrate to linux?

There has to be a killer reason to switch, maybe someone hit by one of the worms lately might, but that's still a minority of home users.

Re:Unite behind Live CD's (1)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444240)

uhhh cost ?? we are talking enterprise here. bottom line does matter.

Re:Unite behind Live CD's (1)

another misanthrope (688068) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444258)

I find most of my "family" support time is devoted to pops-ups, spam, updating and patching windows, and virus eradication...

why the hell would anyone NOT want to give all those things up especially on a box that is most used to surf the net and read emails?

Re:Unite behind Live CD's (5, Interesting)

KikassAssassin (318149) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444194)

KDE or Gnome (pick just one)

As a new Linux user myself, I'd suggest KDE over Gnome if you want to draw new people in. Gnome is an excellent interface, but by my experience KDE seems much more familiar to someone who is used to the Windows environment, and overall it has a somewhat more polished feel to it. That familiarity will make your average user who's never used anything but Windows before much more likely to try it out, rather than giving up from the start because everything looks different than what they're used to.

Re:Unite behind Live CD's (1)

d^2b (34992) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444260)

I don't understand why you want to leave gcc off. It's not like there is a little clippy jumping out at you and asking you if you would like to compile a C program instead of run the word processor you just clicked. Is it just a disk space issue for fitting things on a live CD?

NOOOOOOOOOO (0, Funny)

mrsev (664367) | more than 10 years ago | (#7443984)

Follow me and the one true faith. Burn the heretics.

If you don't want the heretics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444186)

Why not let the heretics follow me and one of the other true faiths, no need to burn them.

Definatly (1)

Ignatius_VI (587517) | more than 10 years ago | (#7443985)

Seems like a good idea to me. If everyone concentrates on one distribution, it would make linux stronger as a whole. Debian seems like a good choice....maybe someone will make a half decent package installer. On the other hand, seems like putting all the eggs in one basket...

Re:Definatly (2, Insightful)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444092)

do you mean initial installer ?? because Debian has the
best package installer hands down

Urinate? (-1, Troll)

MjDascombe (549226) | more than 10 years ago | (#7443988)

Am I the only one who read that as Urinate first time round? Probably...

Re:Urinate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444271)

Am I the only one who read that as Urinate first time round? Probably...
Urinate behind Debian? That'd be because of all the free beer FSF goodness pumping out of that joint. Drink up!

Resistance is futile (1, Funny)

agi (17926) | more than 10 years ago | (#7443993)

You'll be packaged (.deb of course)

Taco's lifestyle now defined! (-1, Troll)

scumbucket (680352) | more than 10 years ago | (#7443994)

Tacosexuals: It's a Gay Thing!

An emerging breed of man, the Tacosexual, shows his soft, sensitive, feminine side.

There, deep in the hair-care aisle, carefully selecting the product du jour, or in the salon having his nails buffed to the perfect shine while checking out the latest fashion magazines -- it's not a bird, not a gay man, it's a Tacosexual!

And judging by the popularity of the new TV program Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, many more once slovenly men want to join the ranks of this new breed of Renaissance man.

Not yet familiar with the new buzzword, "Tacosexual"? Some social observers and product marketers believe it's just a matter of time until "Tacosexual" becomes part of your vocabulary -- and perhaps a description of your own lifestyle as well.

So what makes a Tacosexual man? He's been defined as a straight, sensitive, well-educated, urban dweller who is in touch with his feminine side. He may have a standing appointment for a weekly manicure, and he probably has his hair cared for by a stylist rather than a barber. He loves to shop, he may wear jewelry, and his bathroom counter is most likely filled with male-targeted grooming products, including moisturizers (and perhaps even a little makeup). He may work on his physique at a fitness club (not a gym) and his appearance probably gets him lots of attention -- and he's delighted by every stare.

Blurring Gender Lines

Curiosity about Tacosexuals climbed considerably in June when Euro RSCG Worldwide, a marketing communications agency based in New York City and more than 200 other cities, explored the changing face of American males in a report titled The Future of Men: USA. As part of this research, men ages 21 to 48 throughout the U.S. were surveyed on masculinity-related issues. The conclusions? According to the report, there is "an emerging wave of men who chafe against the restrictions" of traditional male roles and who "do what they want, buy what they want, enjoy what they want - regardless of whether some people might consider these things unmanly."

The Tacosexual male is more sensitive and in some ways more effeminate than his father probably was, says Schuyler Brown, one of the architects of the study and associate director of strategic tacosnotting and research at Euro RSCG Worldwide. Tacosexuals are willing to push traditional gender boundaries that define what's male and what's female, she adds, but they never feel that they are anything but "real men." Yes, a little primping and pampering were once considered solely female indulgences, but they are becoming much more permissible for men, too.

Tacosexual men "are very secure in their sexuality," says Brown. "They're comfortable getting a facial or a pedicure. It doesn't make them feel any less masculine or any less heterosexual."

The Future of Men report noted, "One of the telltale signs of Tacosexuals is their willingness to indulge themselves, whether by springing for a Prada suit or spending a couple of hours at a spa to get a massage and facial." They might devote an afternoon to choosing their ultrafashionable attire for the night. They may don an apron and prepare a mean and meatless pasta dish for friends.

Beyond Testosterone

So what's prompting men to think outside the box of male stereotypes? They might be influenced by a new breed of male-oriented magazines such as FHM and Maxim, which are devoting an increasing number of their pages to fashion. These popular magazines are encouraging men to dress to the nines and fall into line with media images of men with washboard abs and bulging biceps.

Members of the homosexual community also appear to have influenced their straight brethren. Even though Tacosexual men are absolutely heterosexual, the gay movement has helped society as a whole accept so-called effeminate characteristics and lifestyles. "As a society, we're more comfortable with homosexuality today," says Brown. "It's no longer taboo, it's portrayed on prime-time TV, and heterosexual men have become more comfortable with the gay culture."

Ironically, if one of the Tacosexual's goals is to transform himself into a "chick magnet," some of his efforts -- particularly those spent pumping iron in the local fitness facility -- might be misplaced. Some research suggests that his straining and sweating to inflate the size of his muscles may not be as interesting to women as he might think. According to Roberto Olivardia, PhD, co-author of The Adonis Complex: The Secret Crisis of Male Obsession, the average male thinks that women are attracted to men who are 15 to 20 pounds more muscular than what women actually find attractive.

Coming to Your Neighborhood

Who are examples of prominent Tacosexual men? Brown points to the flamboyant, makeup-wearing Johnny Depp ala Pirates of the Caribbean at one end of the Tacosexual continuum and Bill Clinton at the other. The former president, she says, "conveys a personal concern for body image, and is a publicly sensitive guy who wears his feelings on his sleeve." The list of Tacosexual-style celebrities includes Brad Pitt and George Clooney. British soccer star David Beckham (whose wife is Victoria Adams - a.k.a. Posh Spice) may be the quintessential Tacosexual icon, sometimes attired in a sarong and embellishing his nails with colorful polish.

While you're most likely to find Tacosexual men in big cities, particularly media centers such as New York,Los Angeles and Ann Arbor, they are certainly not confined there. "Because of Hollywood and the fact that many of the male glitterati exhibit Tacosexual qualities, you can see the imitation and the experimentation among men in many smaller cities as well," says Brown.

Yet facial plastic surgeons such as Seth M. Goldberg, MD, whose patients in his Rockville, MD, office include politicians, lobbyists, and attorneys in the Washington, D.C., area, question whether the label "Tacosexual" is one that is really catching on in the nation's capital. At the same time, however, he notes that "in the last few years there has been a tripling of the number of men who are coming into my office for cosmetic surgery or office-based cosmetic procedures such as Botox injections. A generation ago, we wouldn't have seen any of these men in our office."

Olivardia points to a Psychology Today survey showing that 43% of men are dissatisfied with their overall appearance, and 63% are unhappy with their abdomen in particular. So they might seek out the services of a cosmetic surgeon for some major or minor retrofitting. Abdominal liposuction to wipe out love handles is particularly popular. The number of lip augmentation procedures in men in the U.S. increased by a startling 421% from 2001 to 2002, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

"It's definitely more acceptable for men to undergo these procedures than it once was," says Olivardia, clinical instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. "Even so, there are still many men who won't tell anyone they've done it; they won't volunteer that information."

Goldberg says that when men opt for cosmetic surgery, it's often the last step in their personal campaign to improve their appearance. They tend to be well dressed and well groomed, and then thanks to their affluence, can afford to move on to plastic surgery -- for example, eyelid procedures, chin augmentation, or laser skin resurfacing.

But can a Tacosexual's preoccupation with his physical appearance be carried to extremes? Olivardia says that if your preoccupation with maximizing your looks is interfering with your relationships, your job, or your schoolwork, perhaps you should talk to a therapist and work on creating a healthier balance and a more sensible approach to your physical exterior.

Your troll (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444048)

is way too long, cut it down a bit.

OT: Open Source (4, Funny)

Sanity (1431) | more than 10 years ago | (#7443998)

I was quite amused when at a recent conference someone described Open Source as Free Software with a politics-obotomy...

Cuh (-1)

Sir Haxalot (693401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444002)

...base their efforts on one single distribution... based on Debian
Yeah, but I think he's forgetting that the main reason there are so many ditros is because people want to do different things with different distros, if there's only one distro a lot of features will be lost.

I FOR ONE WELCOME OUR NEW DEBIAN OVERLORDS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444010)

Important Stuff:
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Use KDE for Userlinux please. (1, Troll)

Mr Haxalot (723260) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444013)

There are serious problems with Gnome at the moment, and I will explain them here with the Gnome-translate-o-matic.

Ever since Gnome 2.4 was released, I have found more and more gnome zealots who MUST absolutely advocate GNOME at every possible moment. Here is a guide to some of their claims, and what they really mean.

Unlike KDE, Gnome is free
Translation : GPL is freerer than LGPL. LGPL allows corporations like Novell and Sun to have propeitry forks and lock away their changes from the user. Now that Novell has taken over Ximian you can expect Gnome to get put under corpirate lock. With KDE you have the choice, you either PAY UP or pay with your source code.

Nautilus is much better than konqueror.
Wrong, if your using nautilus for anything more than a simple finder clone you can forget it. No split screen, no ioslaves and forget about being able to have a decent file dialog, not to forget that it is as unstable as hell and is STILL slow on >3 Ghz machines.

Gnome is easier to use
Yep, nothing like using gconf-editor to edit all except the most trivial of settings.

Gnome has eye candy
Yes, my pirated Win32 fonts with the patent infringing font renderer. Bit stream vera sans looks like Tahoma put through a shreadder! Of course I still reboot into windows to print using "Comic Sans MS.

Gnome has a new web browser
Yawb! Along with Galeon, mozilla, thunderbird, konqueror, atlantis, lynx, netscape and w3m. Yes I need another browser! Not to mention that its got a religiously offensive name and it dosen't allow bookmark folders. It also crashes like a crazy! Apple chose khtml for a REASON! its stable and light!

Gnome is themeable
Yep, choose from High, low and medium contrast, default, and clean ice. Wan't to change the colour scheme? USE GCONF NOOB, plus if you complain about it we will tell you to fuck off and go back to Windows or KDE.

Gnome has multimedia framework
Its a kludge of esd combined with broken xine libraries. No wonder it crashes all the time and dosen't work on 95% of video files

Gnome allows mac like operation.
x86 compatible 1 button mice are almost impossible to find, and it dosen't copy the whole macbar concept. Not to even mention their auto apply implementation is broken and dangerous! Plus if they did actually come anywhere close to copying the Mac the C&D letters would come flying up their asses.

Gnome is GNU software.
gnu/Yay, gnu/gnome gnu/for gnu/my gnu/debian gnu/linux gnu/500mhz /gnu/celeron gnu/packard gnu/bell gnu/box.

Inspired by the gentoo translate-o-matic.

Re:Use KDE for Userlinux please. (-1)

Billistic (722359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444087)

Yeah well Gnome has a paw print.

Re:Use KDE for Userlinux please. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444113)

Dude, get a life.

Re:Use KDE for Userlinux please. (1)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444166)

i use gnome 2.4 as my primary desktop, everyday, and I agree with all of your points. in fact, Ive disabled nautilus completely (wow, memory usage plummeted) so it no longer draws my desktop. I have one bar across the top with my apps and I use konqueror as my file manager (which roks the house). I tried ROX, and its FAST, but lacking features. Drop nautilus like a hot potato and Gnome aint too bad.

Re:Use KDE for Userlinux please. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444187)

seriously your point is amusing, just as a small child is amusing when he tells me the human head weighs 8 lbs. I know you wanted to be sarcastic to make your point, but unfortunately it is your sarcasim that turned me off from your point of view and made me think that you just a angry young man with poor agumentive skills and therefore must mask this fact with sarcasim. you have soem good points here, i suggest not to give up in the face of my crtique, but prove me wrong; show me you can overcome the shortcommings of sarcasim. Rewrite you post using sources and examples to support your arguments, and make sure you arguments are at the least logically sound, for even though reality might be subjective, we still all opperat under the same paradigm and you should still be ableot us a vocabulary that should be common to the majority of us....well at least to those that count ;)

good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444014)

Desktop linux may not be ready for joe sicx pack (or rather joe six pack may not be ready, but its been ready for some time for the corporate world.)30% by 20006? thats impressive..

Debian minus freedom (2, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444017)

I think an important Perens quote from the article is:
"UserLinux would only depart from Debian for software that is not open source"

so, UserLinux will be Debian + proprietary software. A dissapointing step back in my opinion.

Re:Debian minus freedom (4, Insightful)

Nevyn (5505) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444111)

I think an important Perens quote from the article is: "UserLinux would only depart from Debian for software that is not open source"

so, UserLinux will be Debian + proprietary software. A dissapointing step back in my opinion.

A step back from what? Right now most US companies running a supported Linux in the enterprise are running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and it comes with (or with support for) all the products they need, Ie. Java, Oracle, PowerPath, etc. etc. etc.

This is the same "argument" that RMS uses, Ie. It's better to have nothing than something. Life doesn't work like that, people always go for the path of least resistance. Hell even debian wasn't stupid enough to not have "netscape" available when that proprietry and the only real browser. Saying "It's not free" doesn't solve the problem of "I need, now" (and "need" is relative, some people "need" to be able to play proprietry games, etc.).

Great idea, but... (2, Insightful)

Dr. Cam (20341) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444021)

the community is going to have to put more resources into Debian to keep it up to date. I won't use anything else, but you can't have an enterprise running on a mix of testing and unstable.

Standards (1, Insightful)

4of12 (97621) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444023)


Why Debian, instead of, say Gentoo?

What I think is most important is that standards [linuxbase.org] apply, so that users can mix n match between distributions more easily as new applications are developed.

It's a tough battle, though, because the commercial landscape for Linux is being advanced by companies that are trying to differentiate their particular distribution from the rest of the heard.

The best we can hope for there is that their new systems and add-ons are free.

Re:Standards (1)

croddy (659025) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444137)

because debian comes already-compiled.

try explaining to the PHB why it takes 5 days to install the operating system. if he's your average office type, he won't believe you. if he's a compiler engineer, he really won't believe you.

Re:Standards (1)

tazanator (681948) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444172)

Probably due to the fact debian is the only distro to work on the sparc machines. I would love to play with red hat but when the only non critical machine is a sparc5 I had to go to debian. And it works even with an old peice of trash it works...

Re:Standards (1)

dabadab (126782) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444198)

Because Debian supports more architectures, has more packages, has more developers and generally, it is a more mature distro.
Also, Gentoo's "compile your own" philosophy is not that great when you have to care for lots of computers.

Re:Standards (4, Informative)

bfree (113420) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444211)

Because few people want/need to build their own system. Debian has shown an incredible ability to package stable and consistent software which has already become the basis for many different desktop distributions (Corel/Xandros, Lindows, Knoppix). Also Debian supports more architectures than any other Linux Distribution (correct?) and hence all the work done by the various parties would help to ensure that the computer market is held in balance in terms of architectures (i.e. if every Linux distro used Debian as a base, and Linux gained 30% of the desktops, then the ability for "the market" to switch architectures in the event of gross arrogance (i.e. AMD and Intel push through DRM technologies which require annual licensing) would be vastly improved compared to if the Linux distros in use were all derived from RedHat). Of course ideally Gentoo would also collaborate in this enterprise and would become debian derived (i.e. you could do a debian base install and then do "apt-get install gentoo-stageN" to have it use debian as the toolchain to build gentoo, perhaps even building the system out of debian source packages (with gentoo patches)).

Re:Standards (1)

samjam (256347) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444215)

Probably because debian takes the GPL and licensing issues seriously from the start.

Debian also manages package dependancy hell a bit better AFACT.

I recommended debian for a large project for this reason, though I did later curse it soundly for my personal installation.

Maybe when sarge installer is working a bit better I'll try it again.

Re:Standards (1)

3Suns (250606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444247)

Because Debian has the largest package repository. It's really that simple... when you get down to it, the hardest part about making a solid distribution isn't technical, it's procedural. Gentoo may have a spiffy build-from-source package system, but Debian has hordes of maintainers in the testing/unstable branches who maintain almost-latest versions of nearly every free software project, and the dependencies between them. If you could reproduce this maintainance process in Gentoo, you might reach Debian's level in a couple years. Maybe.

Besides, building everything from source is nice but very slow - for a mainstream distribution you'd probably want to apt/emerge binary packages rather than source packages, and Gentoo doesn't have any advantages over Debian in the binary packaging department.

Re:Standards (1)

lpontiac (173839) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444261)

Why Debian, instead of, say Gentoo?

Because, at this point, Debian has a proven track record years ahead of Gentoo?

I was thinking.,. (2, Insightful)

hookedup (630460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444030)

the same thing the other day in relation to science, where we have 100's of institutions finding cures/treatments for the same thing, each basically reinventing the wheel all over again. Lot's of people united togeather on one project would probably reap more benifits that a bunch of smaller projects reaching for the same goal.

IN OTHER NEWS (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444036)

Steve Jobs unexpectly announced today he thinks you should use a Macintosh.

Bill Gates made an interesting proposal that everyone use windows.

Scott McNealy outlined a plan he has in which everyone uses Solaris.

Larry Ellison, in a widely-publicized press conference, stated that everyone should give him money.

More on these sudden and shocking developments as news unfolds.

We're almost there (1, Informative)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444038)

The key components are almost there:

- perfect device detection
- modern file manager
- office suites
- smooth browsing
- good email clients

What's missing?

- in-built p2p
- better CD burning tools
- better attachment handling in email

This is from watching people use Xandros over the last 6 months both for business and home.

A home/office distribution built around Debian, OOo, Kmail, Konqueror, and a file manager such as Xandros' is almost exactly perfect.

Re:We're almost there (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444168)

you, my friend, are a moron.

Moron? (1)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444278)

Technically speaking, no, and I have the certificate to prove it. But I assume you're being metaphorical. Care to explain your logic?

The funny thing about "desktop computing" is that despite 20 years of relentless progress, what the vast majority of home and business users need and want is quite simple. The true requirement for a mass-market PC (80-90% of the PCs in existence) is very simple: surf web, read email, play media, make documents, chat. Make it cheap, fast, simple, and safe, and you have your market and your product. Period.

CD Burning K3B (1)

gozilla (545592) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444216)

Better CD burning tools than K3B? Best CD burning software I've used on any OS - completely painless. Sure there's always room for improvement, but I think there are bigger issues with multimedia playback (specifically with proprietary formats) and browser plugin management.

Re:CD Burning K3B (1)

Ed_Moyse (171820) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444243)

I agree. I've not used OsX so maybe CD burning is well-implemented there, but k3b is excellent, and way better than anything I've used on windows.

Re:We're almost there (1, Insightful)

wed128 (722152) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444237)

The key components are almost there: - perfect device detection - modern file manager

true not quite there...give it time...

- office suites - smooth browsing - good email clients

Openoffice, Mozilla Firebird, Ximian Evolution. 'Nuff Said

What's missing? - in-built p2p - better CD burning tools - better attachment handling in email

Does anyone else have built in p2p? i didn't know about that...does sound like a good idea though. Also, command line cdrecord is good enough for me, a simple gui wrapper would suffice for most people. Finally, i agree that program integration in linux is poor, and attachment handling won't progress without it.

however, the chance of program integration getting better in the future is pretty slim, unless a business is willing to commit to one Desktop Environment, etc.

Odious (5, Insightful)

Sanity (1431) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444044)

He said the companies will also welcome an alternative to Red Hat and other commercial versions of Linux, which come with "odious" terms, limiting the number of seats and requiring expensive service contracts that are voided if users attempt to modify the software.
What is odious about that? How can RedHat be expected to support an operating system when they have no idea what modifications might have been made to it from the their version? The whole point of having a standardized version of the OS is to make support easier. Refusing to support versions of RedHat that have been modified from their default configuration isn't odious, it is a common sense precaution against your support staff wasting vast amounts of time.

Re:Odious (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444200)

Redhat should offer their services for free, to pay back the Open Source community that helps keep them in business.

Free the Software, stop letting other people make money off your good works!!!!

Look, I don't mind if Redhat makes a little bit of money for the CD distribution. They should charge a fair and reasonable price to cover the costs of the CD.

But anything more than $5 is war profiteering!

We Must defeat Microsoft, and we can only do that if everybody chips in together and gives away everything MS charges for!!!

Re:Odious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444202)


He said the companies will also welcome an alternative to Red Hat and other commercial versions of Linux, which come with "odious" terms, limiting the number of seats and requiring expensive service contracts that are voided if users attempt to modify the software.

What is odious about that? How can RedHat be expected to support an operating system when they have no idea what modifications might have been made to it from the their version? The whole point of having a standardized version of the OS is to make support easier. Refusing to support versions of RedHat that have been modified from their default configuration isn't odious, it is a common sense precaution against your support staff wasting vast amounts of time.


RedHat has made it clear that they are aiming for the server side, where these kinds of things make sense. If you want an OS for the desktop RedHat is not for you. You might try Fedora which doesn't come with the structure imposed on the server versions, or you could try another distro.

It is fundamentally dishonest to be talking about desktop linux and then focus on the terms for the Enterprise Server version when it comes to RedHat.

Re:Odious (1)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444210)

the most "odious" of redhat's terms is the part about being able to do audits of your datacenter. WTF ???!!! reason enough right there !

With all due respect to Bruce.... (3, Insightful)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444047)

What happens when the corporate backers of UserLinux decide that bills can't be met and they have to concentrate on an enterprise version? Bills don't pay themselves and there are reasons why RedHat isn't doing the consumer version anymore.

In some respects I can see RedHat's position regarding the desktop, because for the majority of desktop users, Windows isn't "broken" and why switch if you don't have to? Servers are cake to argue because Linux IS so superior in many ways and that aspect is very easy to demonstrate.

Probably what it will take to get Linux on more desktops is M$ trying to strongarm organizations and organizations doing exactly what Munich did, switch to Linux and then use WINE.

That's exactly what the CIO of the defense branch I am working for is doing right now. Evaluating WINE because he is just fed up with the tail trying to wag the dog and the bad news for M$ is that the CIO doesn't think they are so unique anymore.

Re:With all due respect to Bruce.... (4, Insightful)

debrain (29228) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444228)


What happens when the corporate backers of UserLinux decide that bills can't be met and they have to concentrate on an enterprise version? Bills don't pay themselves and there are reasons why RedHat isn't doing the consumer version anymore.


Debian, as a UserLinux, will survive the corporate onslaught precisely because it is free. Much as the Linux kernel will survive in the absence of corporate backing. That is the power of open source software.

Red Hat isn't doing a consumer version because it cannot afford to, because it must answer to shareholders, because it is commercially driven to profit. Debian suffers none of these drawbacks.

However, if Red Hat Enterprise were based on Debian, Red Hat would have minimal overhead in procuring a similar consumer version, while retaining all the benefits of a consumer presence. There is an enormous amount of work being put into the Debian distribution, and commercial entities that recognize and take advantage of it have the potential for great benefit.

no, unite behind Gentoo! (1)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444057)

No, unite behind Gentoo!</sarcasm>

I for one think that it's a horrible to "unite" behind one distro. One thing that makes Linux great is the diversity that allows people to experiment, and everyone benefits.

OTOH, it would be nice if there was a single specification vendors could support, eg. the LSB.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444058)

If they're gonna do it, I'd rather they used Slackware as the base. And I'm sure someone would rather see Distribution Y used as the base, and then Distribution Z... oh look, a problem. I rather prefer being able to pick and choose from a multitude. It gives me what I want, without having to build my own installation from scratch.

Wishful thinking (2, Insightful)

3Suns (250606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444068)

Nice idea, and I agree wholeheartedly. Too bad it'll never work. "Everything could be so much better, if only they did things Our Way." That [unitedlinux.com] 's never been thought of before...

Debiain is fine (0)

ospirata (565063) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444080)

I could happly stand Debian as the default desktop distro. Bu I couldn't ever get back to kde 2.x series

I agree... (1, Insightful)

Stingr (701739) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444081)

I think that one of the biggest negative aspects of Linux is that there are too many distros. It makes it too confusing for someone who is interested in switching to Linux to make a choice. If the Linux community standardized then it would speak with one strong voice instead of a confusing drone of smaller ones. For all of you that say, "But choice of distros is what makes Linux great," let me say this. What makes Linux great is the fact that it is more or less a group project. Thousands of people work on it to make it better. But right now those thousands of people are not unified. They don't work together and the result is that the wheel is often reinvented. But if we took the good things from all the distros and combined the into one "super distro" (for lack of a better term) and then everyone worked to make that one distro better I think that thirty percent figure mentioned in the article would be vastly larger.

Perens has no follow through... (1)

stevew (4845) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444082)

This is just so much noise brought to you by the same guy who brought you "Linux for hams."

Then he started Debian - but dropped out. It was brought to fruition by others years later.

So Bruce, why should we follow you on this effort? Why should we believe your going to follow through with this effort considering your lousy track record?

Only a 30% (0)

Juan Rey (233115) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444085)

I thought we were playing 'world domination'...

Good thinking. (2, Interesting)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444086)

This is good thinking. Allthough i have been a long time SuSE user (you can tell by my spelling :-) but with the recent developments i think that the only other viable alternative (sorry Mandrake) for the future will be a single base on which commercial companies can build their own desktop distro. This way all base functionality remains available for everyone.

Nice to see some focus (2, Interesting)

ajensen (155948) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444088)

... The strategy isn't to convert the masses all at once, but rather to explain the advantages of Linux over the Windows operating system for certain types of companies running certain types of applications.

This focus on smaller sample groups is nice to see. It is quite obvious that in certain situations, Linux has some major advantages over Windows. In my experience, web applications (Apache+PHP+MySQL) and embedded systems are good examples.

In support of the above quote, I find it highly unlikely that Linux will be able to spur a "mass conversion" -- but that probably wouldn't be the best course of action anyway. I imagine that a better way would be to focus on a relatively small sample group and let the versatility of Linux convince people that it's a good choice. If the product is as good as many think it is, then the conversion of the masses may be inevitable. Time will tell.

It's where I'm off to (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444091)

Following Sun's decision to end of life all the Cobalt boxes, I'm converting my Raq4 over to Debian. The stability combined with security backports appeals to me.

Whilst reading all of the recent dropping of Red Hat Linux and purchasing of SuSE etc. I did wonder if this would lead to a boost for Debian. Take the Fedora project, for example. It seems madness to contribute to this over Debian, since with Fedora you really are just beta testing Red Hat Enterprise edition for them - the whole 'giving back to the community' thing is better handled by Debian since that is not meant for feeding back into commercial distributions.

So yes - I have to agree. Debian would seem to be the way to go following the absorbtion of the big names. Let Red Hat do its own work in getting rpms ready for RHE 16.8 or what have you - concentrate your efforts on improving things for the community at large instead.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:It's where I'm off to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444235)

since with Fedora you really are just beta testing Red Hat Enterprise edition for them - the whole 'giving back to the community' thing is better handled by Debian since that is not meant for feeding back into commercial distributions

Whats wrong with feeding back into commercial distributions?

He's smokin' something (1)

boxless (35756) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444094)

30% of enterprise desktops running Linux by 2006? Please. Makes me doubt other things he says if he's so quick with hyperbole like this.

Nice soundbite, Bruce (1)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444095)

"The people who develop open-source code," Perens said, "are getting tired of being told that they have to pay to use it."

The Holy Wars Thread (2, Insightful)

VivianC (206472) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444099)

Thanks Bruce. I now open the Linux Holy Wars thread by stating: "I like Mandrake better!" Please feel free to reply and let me know why your personal favorite is better.

Maybe we should keep working on the LSB specs so all the distros can interoperate?

Always respectful, but.... (4, Insightful)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444106)

I admire Perens ambition and passion for the open source movement, and always respect his educated opinion, but I am not so sure that I agree here. Working in the enterprise world myself for about 4 years, it has been my experience that management is more willing to use Linux when it is backed by a well-known and "secure" name. Customized jobs cost a lot of money, and most enterprise decision makers are more inclined to lean towards comprehensive distributions and assign the task of making it workable to their already over-tasked IT staff.

I don't think that the community needs to collectively focus their attention on one single distro. I just think that one single distro needs to rise above the rest and earn market acceptance as a solid desktop. The strength of Linux is that I can use a different distro suited to a particular task. If I need a quick solution for IDS, but don't have some powerful hardware, I can quickly setup snort and Acid on a Debain box and get it going. If I need a quick packet filtering firewall with easy to manage tools (for the IT staff here that isn't very Linux knowledgeble) I can setup Redhat 9 in about an hour and a half.

Somewhere in the near future we need a desktop distro that is every bit as good as Windows is when it comes to the desktop. Then I can say "when I need a quick desktop for someone that just needs web access, eDirectory, and Lotus Notes out of the box, I can use insert distro here."

Damn straight! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444112)

Perens is da man!

Why does nobody get this? (4, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444118)


I'm fed up with all this blather about Linux on the desktop. Is it ready yet? What needs to be improved? Why hasn't it happened yet? etc. etc.

There is one thing that is going to get Linux on the desktop, and one thing only. That is that the big PC manufacturers (principally Dell and HP) start to seriously promote and sell desktop PCs with Linux already installed.

If that doesn't happen, then Linux on the desktop will probably never happen to a significant extent.

do i need educating? (1, Flamebait)

golgotha007 (62687) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444125)

i use Debian on a daily basis, but there are quite a few things that really turn me off from the distribution (and what makes other distributions more attractive). i'm not trying to troll here, but if my facts are wrong or perhaps i lack information, please someone let me know so i can adjust my thinking.

one of the number one reasons i don't like debian is that packages in the stable branch are typically full point releases behind! have you seen the version of vi in their stable branch? holy, say hello to the 90's please!

i sysadmin 5 debian machines at work, and all i gotta say about debian is this:
1995 called. they want their linux machines back.

however, i do feel very comfortable configuring debian. it's exactly like redhat 5.2, but with a good package management system.

personally, i'm going to stay the redhat route and use Fedora on my workstations (using freshRPMS as my apt respository).

Re:do i need educating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444248)

Try running Debian testing or unstable. Unstable _may_ give you dependency problems from time to time, even though I've run my unstable box for years without major trouble. Testing is somewhere inbetween and should be exactly what you need: Up to date software and stability.

The whole thing about Debian stable is 100.0% stability no matter what.

Why Debian (0)

O.M.A.C. (181899) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444130)

I've got nothing against Debian, but why not pick a distro that's a little close to being usable by most folks as a desktop OS?

(Like my favorite SuSE f'rinstance?)

Re:Why Debian (1)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444183)

a distro that's a little close to being usable by most folks as a desktop OS?

i'm sure that Debian is usable as a Desktop OS for 'anyone' - but, can 'anyone' install Debian??

Re:Why Debian (1)

merdark (550117) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444231)

i'm sure that Debian is usable as a Desktop OS for 'anyone'

Sure, as long as you don't mind running...oh... gnome 1.4 with mozilla 1.0.0.0.0.0.0.0. And don't even think about going on and on about "unstable" being stable.

Re:Why Debian (1)

tazanator (681948) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444262)

Debian is the only distro for the sparc processors given the ammount of stuff to be tossed by universities this area has enormas potential. After all it's the students that still dumpster dive for parts and have time to write code.

what's Perens been smoking? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444135)

He suggested that by 2006, 30% of enterprise desktops will run Linux.

What horseshit. I can't see a single enterprise running any desktop that won't run Outlook. It's the killer app for enterprises, and although I hate MS, I can't imagine running my work life without it... and all MS has to do is change their corporate license to require the underlying OS be Windows. Buh-bye Crossover Office in the enterprise.

2006... I'd like some of what he's smokin'...

Forget the Linux desktop seeking unity (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444165)

there'll always be diversity. Linux isn't centrally planned, it's development model is essentially geeks playing with their toys (even when they convince themselves otherwise) and distro makers trying to fight their fractured creations into a usable whole.

What free software needs is a new, standard, OS that is designed for the desktop, won't have its driver APIs change all the time, won't use XWindows, won't have library hell, won't have a heap of different package management systems, won't chuck Unix at the user, won't have multiple desktop environments with different programs dependent on each one of them, and won't year after year run like a dog on anything but new hardware with desktop uses. Maybe put a little effort here [sourceforge.net] .

Debian certified for Oracle, etc., would be great! (2, Interesting)

aquarian (134728) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444214)

Especially with Redhat's latest retreat into their proprietary turtle shell, I'd love to have Debian certified for apps like Oracle, etc. This issue has also come up recently among OpenACS developers. [openacs.org]

Ever Tried Debian? (4, Informative)

mbrod (19122) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444227)

I see all these people saying "what is so great about Linux is all these different distro's to try, and Debian is only one".

I don't think you have used Debian. I love Debian because I can put the bare minimum on my machines and then build up from there whether it be Gnome or KDE or a strict web server box with no GUI. To build it up all I have to do is grab the packages I want with apt. I can roll my own distro in a way.

Not to mention Stable, Testing and Unstable are really all different distributions anyway.

Anti-Redhat FUD but still a good point (4, Interesting)

Jagasian (129329) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444246)

It seems like there has been allot of anti-Redhat FUD lately. While I have always been a Debian fan, and I agree that every distro maker should base their distro on Debian, all this crap about Redhat leaving a hole in the consumer market because they made Redhat Linux a community project that is still heavily guided and sponsered by Redhat... that just smacks of anti-Redhat FUD.

Truth is that Redhat Linux 10 was released several days ago, and for trademark reasons it is called Fedora Core 1. Anyone who has used Redhat 8.x or Redhat 9.x, will be able to tell that Fedora Core 1 is Redhat 10.

I would love to see one internet based community developed meta-distrution of Linux, with one comprehensive package repository. This would be the Linux standard. Then companies that want to make a newbie-friendly Linux could cherry-pick the best software packages, make custom themes, and tweak everything and also provide support.

In my opinion, the thing that Redhat 8 through Fedora Core 1 do really great is that they cherry-picked a nice set of software packages, made a nice theme for the desktop, and put everything together into one nice coherent package.

Note that the good things that Redhat does with its distro do not conflict with having a Debian-foundation, and the fact that Redhat has decided to fracture the internet community because it refuses to have Fedora Core 1 be a customized Debian is just plain silly!

Other distros have shown the power of using a Debian based core: Knoppix, Libranet, and Lindows, to name 3 distros, all accomplish something slightly different.

1. Knoppix is a live CD based Linux distro with completely automatic hardware detection. Knoppix is a great toy, a great way to advertise Linux, and it makes for an uber rescue disk.

2. Libranet aims at being a general purpose desktop/server distro, and it adds value by greatly simplifying the installation and maintenance of the OS.

3. Lindows is supposed to be a newbie friendly / user-friendly Linux distro that emulates the look-n-feel of Windows. It is aimed at a large target market of casual computer users that want to save a few bucks.

So please tell me why Redhat couldn't use a Debian foundation for Fedora Core? All they had to do was create a small community layered ontop of the Debian community. Their job would be to cherry-pick software packages from the comprehensive apt repository that Debian already has, and integrate it all into one coherent system by tweaking settings and theming applications.

In conclusion, lets drop this Redhat ditched desktop Linux crap, and focus on the fact that Redhat is duplicating effort by not basing their community developed distro on Debian. It is starting to remind me of Christianity with its many demoninations.

Surprising? (1)

joeytsai (49613) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444252)

I really don't think this is too surprising. In my opinion, Red Hat made a mistake dropping their Desktop solution - sure, it may not have been giving them short term gains, but the reason Red Hat's so popular is because it is typically the Linux everyone starts with. Losing this mindshare I believe will ultimately lead to less Red Hat developers in the long run.

Aside from their departure, it really seems like free Red Hat has just been slowly turning into Debian anyway. Most RPM-based distros I know now offer apt solutions which of course users really like. And now all development on packaging is done by a community-powered group... sound familiar?

As time goes on, more and more events like these occur which make me really happy and proud of Debian. Obviously it isn't perfect and there's still plenty of areas to improve. But as I hear surveys saying the Debian is growing increasingly popular and as the free software community centers more and more around Debian - it's proving to be ultimately reedeeming for Debian's long persuit for purity and excellence.

All monocultures are subject to mass extinction (1)

csoto (220540) | more than 10 years ago | (#7444255)

It's good to have choices. Some distros may get things right. Others will emulate them or perish. Software evolution requires diversity in order to adapt. Darwin (the dude, not the OS) reminds us that it is not the strongest that survive, but those most able to adapt.

Besides, Gnome works the same in ALL distros. So does postfix. So does OpenSSH. Think of distros as particular mixtures of features of the same family. Not all your cousins look the same, but ultimately, they're the same blood (and I've got FOURTY ONE first cousins!).

Opinions and half-assed speculations are OK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444263)

Ok, so opinions and half-assed speculations are OK now?
Well, this is /. and Bruce way of of thinking is not much different from most other Linux users, but actually, who in their right mind will fall for such retarded argumentation?

Not that I really really care, as a BSD user.
Still, stupid and anoying people anoys me, both those who make stupid arguments and those who buy them.

I wished /. would strip out every thing about Bruce, ERS and RMS; I hate those people, they are really a waste of time.
Give me Linus, at least he's down to earth and make sane arguments, and most of all, is interseting even for a non Linux user.

There are reasons to not like Debian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7444279)

but only a few. If installing is your hangup, think Libranet distro. But my problem with Debian is it is so free that it cannot come with BSD etc liscensed software, and has to totally rewrite it. I don't code, so I depend on you developers, but I would rather not wait until the debs are created. So, rpm is my choice much of the time.
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