[Nottingham] Response on awareness day

Matthew Sackman matthew at sackman.co.uk
Thu Nov 3 22:57:21 GMT 2005

On Thu, Nov 03, 2005 at 08:58:59PM +0000, Graeme Fowler wrote:
> On Thu, 2005-11-03 at 20:28 +0000, Matthew Sackman wrote:
> > That doesn't make complete sense tbh - most good distributions offer a
> > fairly effective upgrade mechanism which should take care of that, and
> > let's face it, you have to do that with Windows anyway within 0.3s if
> > you want to have any chance of not being hacked...
> Updates (as distinct to upgrades) yes, but I think what Andy's getting
> at is the preponderence of actual releases of distributions.

Ok, so I probably meant upgrades. I'm not sure I treat updates as
distinct from upgrades except for security updates.

> However - Mandr*, SuSE, RedHat, Yellowdog, Lin(dows|spire), hell even
> LinuxPPC.org as was - all suffer from "release panic" IMO and shovel (or
> have shovelled) complete new distributions out between them at a truly
> amazing rate. If I were a complete newbie now, I'd be terrified at the
> number of distributions ("the great thing about standards being that
> there's so many of them to choose from") and the number of releases of
> them. How to compare DongleLinux 1.2 to BangleLinux 5, against a
> background of umpteen 9.x and Core 4 and Potato releases; it must be
> just about bloody impossible.

Absolutely it truely is really hard. That's one reason why at the
install fests I've run I've tried to massively limit the number of
available distros available, ideally to 1, Debian.

> Any unit shifter (in terms of hardware) has a pretty hard time IMO
> specifying which distro they want to install, as their lead time
> probably eclipses the devel/test/release cycle of your average distro by
> a factor of two. Imagine turning to a specific distro and committing to
> purchase (or simply provide) and install (say) 10k units in 2006 Q1,
> only to find that mid Q1 they rev up and turn another one out. Who wants
> your hardware then?
> It's a minefield ;-)

Certainly is, but consider, for example putting, say, Debian stable on
there but setting the sources.list to testing. If the machine is used
with no internet then you have a good stable machine. If the machine can
find the internet then it will get a largely up to date system which is
also largely stable. And surely given Debian's release schedule, lead
times on hardware shouldn't affect that strategy.

But yes, it's hard...
Matthew Sackman

BOFH excuse #354:
Chewing gum on /dev/sd3c

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