[Rule] Summary/random thoughts on RULE

M. Fioretti mfioretti at nexaima.net
Fri Aug 24 12:02:34 EEST 2007

Hello everybody

Those which follows are a semi-random list of historical notes and
concepts from the beginning of RULE.

I am _deliberately_ posting this _before_ re-reading in detail and
starting to answer the messages posted this week just to make sure
that we don't forget anything now that we have (thanks Chris!) a
good opportunity to restart the project. My apologies in advance if
anything below has been already remembered, or if it looks unnecessary
because we all still agree on it.

After this message I will start to answer in detail to everything
which was posted here this week (within this weekend, I promise).
Feedback, comments, criticism on everything below is very welcome!

1) RULE stands for "Run Up to date Linux Everywhere". It doesn't
   really matter which Linux. Red Hat and then Fedora, hence
   miniconda/slinky, were chosen and happened only because the
   need arose among RH8 users, but is not written on stone.
   More explicitly, I don't mind if RULE starts providing solutions
   based on other distros (also because the real fat is not in the
   distro). It would be great, actually. The base requirements and
   consideration below still remain valid, however

2) "everywhere" means "even on very limited hardware", but:
         a) lean and mean is excellent also on state of the
            art HW (less security holes, maintenance...)
            In this sense, I want to include in the project
            Rodolfo's docs on a minimal server install

         b) "very limited hw" is a terribly generic term
            It also includes modern appliances (zonbu?) or
            virtual boxes. I met one professor at a Linux Day who
            wanted to use Slinky to install N copies of
            the then latest fedora on one PC for his TCP/IP
            routing optimization studies

3) "up to date" means "actually usable by a sysadmin or SOHO end user
   without real functional limitations", that is:

        no to eye candy, outdated stuff which is full of security
        holes and one cannot patch without lots of time and programming

        yes to (on the desktop, as example) support for HTML4,
        OpenDocument, Gpg email digital signatures, IMAP4...

4) Desktop-wise, the result of a RULE installation (whatever distro it
   is) is
   something which is useful and usable by a non-geek who cannot
   compile (compiling modern sw on 128 MB RAM, 1GB hard disk??? How???)
   even if he or she is willing to tweak configuration files, study
   docs, etc... for study or office work

5) RULE is NOT another distro. We never had the resources, the need or the
   intention. The result of a RULE install etc etc, see #4, is
   something for which a non geek end-user finds (automatic) sw
   updates lots of online docs and an active, newbies-friendly
   online user community ready OUTSIDE of RULE (note that, besides
   older versions of ANY distro, this excludes Debian, from what I've
   experienced...). Apart from not having the resources for support,
   RULE doesn't want to segregate people who cannot afford a new PC
   into a separate online support community, if there is the
   slightest possibility to avoid it. Practically speaking, this
   means that what is running on the result of a RULE installation
   is something which has the same binary packages of the original
   distro it came from

6) The bloat is not in the distro, and that's where we may be more
   useful. The bloat is:

          in X

          in how packaging is done

          in the tendency of FOSS programmers to create huge, very
             powerful architectures for every conceivable purpose
             which eventually mean that you have to have 500 MB
             of disk free to install what looked like a 10 MB little app

          in the attitude that since everybody will surely want
             to keep a Linux desktop always on for months, just to
             show off a longer uptime in his signature, one must
             optimize for that scenario, with ALL the apps running
             And that it doesn't really matter if boot takes just
             the same time as in the 90s (even on new PCs), since
             rebooting is for Windows losers (yeah, like if laptops
             didn't exist...)

          in the unspoken design criterion that everybody has enough
             money to change computer every few years, and that this
             doesn't matter because hw doesn't really pollute

          what else? :-)

       so I think there is a lot of potential in things like kdrive
       or mini-kde, post-install tweaking of standard packages, and
       hope we can restart on them and similar ones.

So I'm fine, generally speaking, with moving to or including install
and optimization (as defined above) tools for other distros in RULE,
really. As long as the general directions remains the one above, what
matters is just to make it easy for people to Run Up to date Linux
Everywhere, right?

About other distros: there is Ubuntu-lite (which sadly seems unactive
more or less like us, these days...) and www.elivecd.org is probably
worth a look.

Gotta work now. Will answer other messages within this weekend.


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