Saturday, 23 January 2010

Mulling over distribution bases

Debian

  • Solid, reliable, community oriented.
  • apt+synaptic is super.
  • 2 year release cycle.
  • Long release cycle is good because it simplifies Skinny maintenance issues.
  • Long release cycle is bad because s/w gets old, meaning that if the user wants updated s/w he/she will have to compile from source most of the time, deal with dependency issues, deal with XDG integration, etc. backports.org is a good idea but doesn’t seem especially active.

Ubuntu

  • Hugely popular, Debian-based, corporate.
  • 6 month release cycle with 2 year LTS releases.
  • PPAs make installing newer s/w fairly easy in many cases w/o resorting to user compilation.
  • Better font rendering than Debian for some unknown reason.

Fedora

  • Originates good ideas, community-oriented but with profit-driven associations.
  • Package mgmt is not as good as apt+synaptic.
  • I have installed one system that refuses to update for some unidentified reason … scary.

Right now I think the best options for the next Skinny are Debian and Ubuntu LTS. Ubuntu’s PPAs are really attractive. There has been talk of doing something similar for Debian (or even incorporating Debian into Ubuntu’s PPA system) but it hasn’t happened yet.