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Bruce Perens on the new Debian Common Core

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the talking-with-the-friends dept.

Debian 21

StromPetroke writes "On August 9th, online Linuxzine Mad Penguin conducted an interview with veteran Open Source advocate Bruce Perens on the DCC (Debian Common Core) Alliance. According to Bruce, the DCC will provide a way to "be able to certify to a Linux distribution, and then there will be multiple support providers who can support that same platform and who differentiate themselves at a higher level up the stack.""

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Sounds great and all ... but ... (0, Redundant)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#13322118)

Software is updated all the time.

What you need are STANDARDS in the software development process. E.g. for any given releast in Vx.y [fixed x] the config/command line parameters should be backwards compatible, etc, etc, etc.

From this you can get a bit better stable moving target.

As it stands people are largely just using "Best judgement" which often works but you occasionally get the "Why the fuck did you do that you psyhco motherfuck!" reaction to having a configuration file move three times within 6 months [hey Gentoo, wake the fuck up]

Look how well standards work for RH, this install [FC3] is ludicrously out of date and most of the tools routinely die on standard html, pdf, etc files.... Think I can easily upgrade it and not CHANGE THE ENTIRE OS AROUND? ... ya right...

So before we set standards based on "what's on the disk" let's set standards based on "what's in the package".


Re:Sounds great and all ... but ... (2, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#13322481)

Woah... Calm down for a second...

Have you ever used Debian or a Debian based distribution? Config files - hell, any type of file - locations are standardized even if it means modifying the source of an app to change the default locations. Package versioning is standardized. Package renames are well handled. You can easily upgrade from version to version and still understand (for the most part) how the OS works and is laid out. Best of all, you can generally expect that your upgrade will actually work because of the well maintained package repository which keeps dependencies in line.

You want standards? Here's some reading for you. It may just turn you into a Debian user: []

Re:Sounds great and all ... but ... (1)

millermj (762822) | more than 9 years ago | (#13322488)

That's part of what the LSB is supposed to be about. Standardizing the ABI, and making sure that the distribution passes a test suite across the board. Even Debian is LSB-compliant. ...and if the LSB doesn't go far enough, I'm hopeful that a combination of the LSB and the DCCA will provide enough of a standard that compatibility and stability are assured.

We also run into the fact that no distribution wants to be held to someone else's standards. It cramps their style and then they choose not to participate in the governing organization (especially if they're big enough that they believe they should be *setting* the standards). Trust me, I've been through this process with some of them.

DCCA is a baby step toward making Debian viable for the non-developers. It's a good step. As for its success and what its true role will end up being in the Debian community, it's early yet and time will tell.

Re:Sounds great and all ... but ... (1)

LordoftheWoods (831099) | more than 9 years ago | (#13327623)

I don't think Debian is LSB-certified. Also, location of configartion files has absolutely nothing to do with the standardization of the platform's ABI, what (as you mention) the LSB is all about. So LSB is not out to solve the aforementioned problem, AFAIK.

Package: lsb
Priority: extra

  The intent of this package is to provide a best current practice way of installing and running LSB packages on Debian GNU/Linux. Its presence does not imply that we believe that Debian fully complies with the Linux Standard Base, and should not be construed as a statement that Debian is LSB-compliant.

Re:Sounds great and all ... but ... (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 9 years ago | (#13328912)

One of the main goals of DCC is to complete Debian's LCC certification. It's very close.


Re:Sounds great and all ... but ... (1)

millermj (762822) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330324)

Interesting. I'd heard information to the contrary regarding LSB compliance. I guess I'd heard from a misinformed resource.

As to the location of configuration files (and libraries), that's part of the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS) which is included in the LSB by reference.

We're certifying Debian Distributions? (2, Interesting)

bmetzler (12546) | more than 9 years ago | (#13322210)

That's interesting. How many Debian Based Distributions are there?

Is this supposed to keep Debain Based Distributions up to date at least with Debian?


Re:We're certifying Debian Distributions? (3, Interesting)

thephotoman (791574) | more than 9 years ago | (#13322888)

Well, using , Debian is the most popular base for distributions. In fact, they [] list 129 distributions at this time that are based on Debian. [] This includes some rather heavy hitting distributions like Knoppix, MEPIS/SimplyMEPIS, and Ubuntu, as well as some nonstandard Debian distros like Xandros and Linspire (both of which make me feel dirty just for even mentioning them in the same breath as Debian).

However, most of those distros are binary compatable with Debian, with the exceptions of Xandros and Linspire, which take a bit of work. Yeah, even Ubuntu is compatable, if you can work out the library dependencies.

Re:We're certifying Debian Distributions? (2, Insightful)

Burz (138833) | more than 9 years ago | (#13323930)

some nonstandard Debian distros like Xandros and Linspire (both of which make me feel dirty just for even mentioning them in the same breath as Debian).

I've heard this off-hand comment before.

In what way are they non-standard or "dirty"?

Re:We're certifying Debian Distributions? (1)

thephotoman (791574) | more than 9 years ago | (#13324324)

Well, they don't use the same apt mirror sites, and they charge for access to said mirrors. The former makes them nonstandard (of course, Ubuntu is the same way--they use their own mirrors too), and they are dirty in that they charge money for software that can be had for free by a simple download.

Re:We're certifying Debian Distributions? (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 9 years ago | (#13325140)

Xandros does not charge for access either to the core repository or the 'Debian Unsupported' one. Also, nothing prevents you from adding a standard Debian mirror to sources.apt.

Xandros 3 has been synchronized with Sarge, minimizing installation problems. Prior versions were 'nonstandard' in this respect however.

Re:We're certifying Debian Distributions? (1)

Narchie Troll (581273) | more than 9 years ago | (#13333154)

Linspire produces non-free software, which is directly counter to the Debian project's goals. I don't know about Xandros.

@_@ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13322246)

/dcc get CmdrTaco "Hardcore Gay Porn Collection.tar"

Bruce, baby, Bruce... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13322292)

It's time that people open their eyes and realize that Bruce Parens is nothing more than a self absorbed head line grabbing nutter with opinions that have as little value as the sense they make. He's nothing more than a blathering histrionic like this guy RMS who spends most of his time fantasizing about Fidel Castro and picking fleas out of his beard. Paren's time is past, he is now just a passé footnote to history. Time to move on.

Re:Bruce, baby, Bruce... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13324618)

Actually, he does have a serious conflict of interest with respect to the OSRM insurance programs and his opinions on patent pools and non-GPL licenses.

I pretty much always take what he says with a spoonful of salt.

A step in the right direction (2, Insightful)

DrMowinckel (899236) | more than 9 years ago | (#13322621)

To me, this is clearly a step in the right direction. I have long been seing the rising number of debian-forks to be a problem for compability and a spreading of resources. In a DCCA world the high number of distributions would be an advantage, since each compliant distro can cater to a specific subset of users, while the community at large will still be able to cooperate cross-distro.

The fact that Ubuntu (the distro currently on my desktop) is not a member of the DCCA does not bother me very much. The whole initiative of invoking standards is the important idea. If the standard is made, I am sure Ubuntu and other non-DCCA debian forks/branches will follow suit.

Re:A step in the right direction (2, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 9 years ago | (#13328902)

Debian derivatives, taken together, have 3 times the market share of SuSe/Novell. Why not get them working together more effectively?

I'm working today on getting more Open Source into Department of Defense, and won't be able to participate any more in this thread. But I will read it all later, and you can always email me ( No phone calls today, but as always my number's on my web site.


Re:A step in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13339027)

"Why not get them working together more effectively?"

Because noone gives a damn about "combined market share". Xandros, to name one, can't care less about its combined market share; all it want to know about, as any other company would do, is about its *own* market share. Do you really think Apple is having an orgasm because Apple+Microsoft combined market share is over 95% of the OS market?

I'm not sure I agree (2, Interesting)

veganopolis (630667) | more than 9 years ago | (#13324057)

with the way that some of these distros work. One of the things that really bugs me about the BSD variants is that they are "so stable", "so secure" that they are too out of date. And this is what happened with debian for me.

Not too long ago I was a Debian devotee. I wouldn't touch another distro. But my problem is that I am pretty busy, and if a problem occures, and you don't have the time to fix it, new problems just pop up and pretty soon cleaning up the mess seems too far out of reach.

These guys are talented and devoted to their distro, and they should be. But for a developer like me, who needs a machine running day and night and isn't willing to rejoin the darkside, debian got to be too much work for me to maintain as my desktop system. But for my existing server installations, I wouldn't change a thing. Debian is easy to maintain for standard things: web, print, ... server. So I would recommend it to anyone for those things. Anyway, this isn't a flame post, but my 2 cents. Thanks.

UnitedLinux redux? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 9 years ago | (#13327122)

Hmmm, this smells like UnitedLinux [] with a newer website. This time around it's the current second-fiddle linux distros, instead of the old ones.

The only marked difference seems to be that unitedlinux mentions 'servers'. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad idea, but for some reason UnitedLinux fizzled, with the last PR 2 years ago. So what's different this time?

Re:UnitedLinux redux? (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 9 years ago | (#13328880)

One of the problem with UnitedLinux was that SCO was one of the major participants :-) . There was also the LCC, the ashes out of which this effort has sprung. But if you are counting, there are several other efforts begun by yours truly (or "helped-start" by the politically-correct edited interview) to get some of the same things done: Linux Standard Base, Progeny (for which I hired Ian), UserLinux. LCC includes a good deal of the planning of UserLinux, but I haven't given up on UserLinux yet (although everyone else has).

It still needs doing.


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