More on Package Management, and thoughts on Why This Project is Important

Until complete, not alot of people are going to see why this project is important I don’t think.

The aim is an LSB 5 and FHS 3-compliant (and certified) distribution.  If done in the next 2 years, it will be the only distribution ever to make that leap.

That means application and driver compatibility.  Scientific and engineering environments will be able to use and compile software from other distributions, and will have the full API and ABI compatibility that should have been present everywhere else.  We’ll immediately be outperforming Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, Slackware, Red Hat, and Fedora, in the areas that matter most for a versatile operating system.

It also means we’ll have a distribution that never has the user referring to internal, distribution-specific documentation to find arbitrary locations in the filesystem.

There’s a bigger picture than that, though, and it involves, in my impression, the assurance of a future for Linux in general:

  • Debian has dropped LSB:
  • Uninfluenced, Ubuntu will follow suit and my conversations with the core maintainers have confirmed this.
  • Slackware was never compliant and has become irrelevant outside of use as an instructional tool.
  • Red Hat gets what I’m going to say and may even beat me to it, but no one is going to copy what Red Hat is doing for that to actually matter.
  • Fedora is not and will never try to be LSB compliant due to its philosophical impediments.

Well, to really get the big picture, you’ve got to know why the compatibility that LSB brings is a good thing.  With an open standard for binary compatibility you’ll be able to break walls between distributions and prevent a ather interesting problem of discord between perspective and reality as it pertains to “Linux Specialization” and organizational competence with a distribution that is not applicable to other distributions because the toolchains and binaries are so spread out from each other.  It’s a return back to the old way of thinking of “well we are a centos shop”.  “Shops” needed to die with WYSE terminals, and everywhere it has, innovation, money, and new capability have replaced the concept.

Unimpeded, we’ll see the same standards spread that caused FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD to become completely different from each other to the point that they became unique specializations and modes of administration.  Particularly in the FHS area.

Note:  The *BSD server distro options have been all but reduced to novelty server concepts despite however much nostalgia they bring to even myself.  Yes, people use them– you may even have a freeBSD server yourself — but it’s for the same reason we all want a commodore64 system in the basement and not the same reason we pick an RPM-based distro in our solutions.

Those days are over and stand a real chance of coming back — where you read “Linux” on a resume and have to ask if the “Linux” you are talking about is the “Linux” they are talking about, or when you hear that a product runs on “Linux” you have to ask what distribution the binary packages are for.  It’s not just applicable to binary blobs either, this will apply to open source when drivers, applications, and frameworks that are meant to be universal become, in fact, not universal due to ever-increasing variance in development and system runtime environments.

So, really, the madness and expense of the idea lies in not supporting LSB — not in supporting it — that is, if you’re playing the long game in the Linux time-line (e.g. if you don’t want Linux to mean any of a cornucopia of purely corporate products outside of more nostalgic and dead operating system variants in a hall of fame between BSD and Plan9).

So where does SURRO Linux fit in to this, you might ask?

  • There are currently 0 Distributions certified for LSB 5 and FHS 3.

A flagship distro, even a simple one, will fill a market gap that was part of the open standards wave, for good reason, and remind the big players why they’re even in this game– or that they need to play the compatibility game if they even want a game to play in a decade from now.