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    Commercial Debian Distros Revisited
    Contributed by Anonymous on Saturday, November 10 @ 05:36:54 GMT

    Debian
    I work on a linux server for a company that uses Red Hat now. Red Hat is great. To install. After that, I personally prefer Debian. I would like to pitch the use of Debian to them, but they seem to be a bit conservative. Obviously, they use open source, but they still act like a company. I don't think they need it as I embrace the Debian/GNU philosophy, but others might. Can we stop the Red Hatization?

    DanielS: I honestly don't see how this would be much different to any of the other failed efforts, but it's still a nice idea.

    Commercial Debian Distros have failed in the past, but here's my new pitch. We will take no financial risks. We will really be corporation, but we will do so in name only so there's a big corporation behind this. I therefore propose a boring, serious name. We can wrap up Debian distros and sell them as 'similar to Red Hat'.

    All the work would be burning cds. Hardly anyone would buy them. But we'd have a commercial name for pitching this to the business side in corporations. If we do make a lot of money, then we can plow a lot of that back into developers pockets, esp the Debian package managers, but I plan to take a loss on this.

    Can anyone advise me on how to get started in incorporating? If there's a commerical distro alive that is 100% compatable with woody as far as apt-get goes then I'm sold.

    Thanks for the time.

     
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  • "Commercial Debian Distros Revisited" | Login/Create Account | 8 comments
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    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    Re: Commercial Debian Distros Revisited (Score: 2, Informative)
    by che on Saturday, November 10 @ 12:41:39 GMT
    (User Info)

    Redhat. Yes. I know the feeling.

    When I started in the company I worked for we had sco's, sun's, aix's, redhat's and a very old slackware distro.

    I was asked to only install redhat on new machines and when replacing linux machines. I said: "no way!".

    The compromise was only Redhat for internal servers, Debian for servers that could be reached from the outside world (apt-get update and apt-get upgrade ...). They could ive with that and realized how secure Debian was ans frankly they were very happy with this deal.

    Now our firewalls, our gateways (internal server remember), our webservers and our mailserver run Debian. I installed a few Redhat and they simply sucked. More and more servers were Debianized.

    Now we only have 1 Redhat 7.2 production machine, and one testing machine (dual boot redhat 6.2/7.0). Why, because our customers are kind of forced to use Redhat when choosing Linux instead of sun or aix. They are not forced by us, but the Progress database is badly enough only Redhat certified ...

    C.

    [ Reply ]


    A flaw (Score: 2, Insighful)
    by twilight32 on Saturday, November 10 @ 19:54:40 GMT
    (User Info)

    Perception is everything. If you create a corporation that really is only a shell company for Debian packagers, releases no real product aside from Woody, and exists in name only (for all intents and purposes) you expose yourself to substantial problems when someone 'buys' Woody from you and has difficulties.

    Example: Company X buys CommDeb/Woody from your firm. Even though you have EULAs that are explicit about the GPL and breakage, etc., Company X can't get the distro to install and promptly sues you in court for damages. They may win, they may not. Point is, you still have to go through the hassle of hiring lawyers to defend you. All commercial profits from creating the corp go down the toilet; more importantly, your time is diverted to this hassle and the Debian reputation may be dragged down with it.

    Corollary point: What happens when Woody changes? Although I don't use Debian regularly enough now, I am planning to shift to it over the next six months. (Disclaimer: I use mandrake currently -- no catcalls please -- as I liked the ease-of-use factor. Instability and buggyness are pushing me away) I decided on this after hearing many people claim that the real interest / stability / spark lies in regular tracking of Woody as opposed to Potato. Thing is, people understand that Woody does morph over time. Are you really willing to have ISO images around that will change on a frequent basis?

    Alternate suggestion: Work to improve the CD Image scripts / unofficial Woody CD images instead, so that people have the option (Yes, I see the Woody/Sid ISO link at left on this page...). The cdimage webpages are Debian's secret weapon IMO, because they distribute server loads, and enable decentralised implementation of the Debian meme -- 'you can assemble it yourself, you can get all the info, and here are the tools to do so'. I don't know if this is possible or desirable given that Debian Policy is relatively rigid on this point (my understanding, I probably am wrong) but being able to install Woody directly from a rsync'd CD *instead of* doing it the current way would be a tremendous advantage in terms of time spent. Again, just an opinion/suggestion.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: A flaw (Score: 1)
    by Haddixx on Saturday, November 10 @ 21:07:10 GMT
    (User Info)

    I don't know about anyone else, but because I have a high speed connection I find it much easier to just download the woody boot floppies and do a network install. That way I only download the packages want/need, no extras.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Commercial Debian Distros Revisited (Score: 1)
    by Grimlock on Sunday, November 11 @ 06:01:34 GMT
    (User Info)

    Personally I view Red Hat's practices equivalent to Microsoft's evil marketing practices... except on a lesser scale. I do not see the reasoning in pricing a server distro @ $279 (CAN), based on a free OS (kernel).

    They re-package the thing and call it all they're own. (true, it's under GPL and can be downloaded....) However, they certainly are not compliant on the filing structure.

    Debian and Debian based distro's adhere to the original standards of "Linux"

    RPM's also bite the big one.... At least DPKG has a front-end, which we all know and love, apt-get. Apt makes life so much easier. RPM's still have too much dependancy crap.

    anyway, that's my opinion. (hope I did not offend too greatly here....)

    I would go for Libranet distro all the way for desktop installs, and pure debian for server side installs.

    Grimlock

    (smartest dinobot of all...)

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Commercial Debian Distros Revisited (Score: 1, Insighful)
    by Anonymous on Sunday, November 11 @ 16:12:38 GMT

    IMHO, RHAT charges their prices because 1) they package third party software with their core distro, 2) the higher priced versions come with better/longer/more tech-support. These are just guesses from reading the boxes in Staples because the last RHAT distro I bought was 6.x from LSL.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Commercial Debian Distros Revisited (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Sunday, November 11 @ 17:42:04 GMT

    I see progeny is listed among the 'failed efforts', does it mean they don't support Debian anymore?

    I think a commercial Debian distro is not needed at this time. The reason such efforts have failed, e.g. Corel, is that it is damn hard to add value to Debian, no one seems to have been able to make a new distro based on Debian which is alot better than Deb itself.

    Compare this to the RedHat situation; RedHat is so poor that there is plenty of room for e.g. Mandrake to make improvements, and so there is a niche to fill.

    What is needed for Debian is a company that gives support and services on Debian installations. Not another Debian-based distro.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Commercial Debian Distros Revisited (Score: 2, Interesting)
    by cef on Monday, November 12 @ 05:07:31 GMT
    (User Info)

    The main problem I tend to have getting Debian out into an organisation is not due to commercial representation. It's automation of the install like RH (Kickstart) can do, and doing so off CD Media. It's not as bad/hard as it looks to do, but finding the details can be a pain (even finding the details for RH/Kickstart was a pain for a while, it was horribly under-documented). Also the installer questions can be a right pain (I want an install that is quiet, and in fact, so do many corporates). When you have to install hundreds of machines across a corporation, it's really necessary, and while installer tools are nice (like VA's System Imager) it'd be much nicer to easily have this functionality in the system from the get-go.

    Unfortunately many want this install to "not be image orientated" (eg: direct backup of a working system, and some scripts to install), and "not be network orientated" (eg: reliant on a network). Some customers want a CD based install that is totally automated that where possible doesn't ask the user anything, so in the case of a major crash, they can just get a user at the site to put in the CD, and reinstall the thing over the phone with the user. Bad move in my opinion, but they can do this easy with RH/Kickstart script.

    *sigh* Damn users! They always spoil everything

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Commercial Debian Distros Revisited (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Sunday, November 18 @ 18:20:50 GMT

    # apt-cache show fai

    Package: fai

    Priority: extra

    Section: admin

    Installed-Size: 1292

    Maintainer: Thomas Lange

    Architecture: all

    Version: 2.2.3

    Depends: perl5, nfs-server, netboot

    Recommends: fai-kernels, bootp | dhcp, tftpd, rsh-server, wget

    Suggests: ssh

    Filename: pool/main/f/fai/fai_2.2.3_all.deb

    Size: 367840

    MD5sum: 6e3e24237a8cdaefffb815bb0dc499dd

    Description: fully automatic installation

    FAI is a non interactive system to install a Debian Linux operating

    system on a PC cluster. You can take one or more virgin PCs, turn on

    the power and after a few minutes Linux is installed, configured and

    running on the whole cluster, without any interaction necessary.

    Homepage: http://www.informatik.uni-koeln.de/fai

    [ Reply ]


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