[Rule] Whither RULE?

M. Fioretti mfioretti at nexaima.net
Mon Aug 27 20:00:33 EEST 2007

This is a reply which I posted friday but, as far as I can tell, didn't make it to the list (probably my fault, I'm experimenting a lot with email configuration these days). Did you receive it? Sorry if it's a duplicate.

On Thu, August 23, 2007 1:27 pm, C David Rigby wrote:
> I've also been plagued for months on end with recurrent illness.

I'm sad to hear this and I hope you're recovering well. Should I
come around Padova before you leave (not likely, alas...) I'll let
you know!

> Redhat's focus is on commercial systems, desktop and server. The result
> is that Fedora is continuing to demand greater and more modern hardware
> resources than our target platform. Tracking Fedora, we can only fall
> further and further behind

You are probably right

> For our target platform, numerous low-resource distros exist and are
> actively maintained, though some are more developed than others. Examples
> include http://damnsmalllinux.org/ and http://fluxbuntu.org/. Also, For
> what it's worth, http://www.netbsd.org/

See my comments on guaranteeing as much as possible plenty of specific
documentation and an active online support community with a friendly
attitude towards non-geek newbies: do DSL or any *BSD fit?

One of the key points of RULE was that people with enough skills and tough
skin to do everything by themselves or endure "RTFM" and such don't
need RULE at all, they just do by themselves whatever it takes to
install their already favourite distro and don't need help. RULE was
meant to make it easier for non-geeks to keep alive their donated/
obsolete machines with FOSS.

> We were also pretty excited at one point about the idea of recycled
> computers being useful in developing countries.

I agree with your points that developing countries are getting more
aware of the downsides. Let's just remember that even in our own
"first world" countries there are plenty of schools, charities and
families which can't afford new hardware, so we have millions
of potential users even without looking at developing countries.
> As well, I've got this old IBM PC 365 Should I use it?

I agree with your "No" answer too. RULE is not some "Ancient Hardware
Cult". It's a very practical thing. And maybe we should stop
saying "old" and say "limited" which also includes brand new network
appliances and such.

> Finally I ask a question:
> Franz, are you continuing development of slinky at this point?

I asked Franz to put all those pages on the RULE website, but I'm
still waiting...

> Ways forward (and I am open to other suggestions):
>    1. Regardless of the future of slinky, RULE as clearing house for
>    information on using FOSS operating systems on older hardware still
>     makes a lot of sense.

Absolutely yes! This was one of the original goals too.
With respect to the future of slinky/Fedora... If they have to be
forgotten, and you do give valid reasons for doing that, we should
really try to keep giving some "install-and-use" solution for non
geeks, if at all possible. It's the "helping non-geeks thing" again.
Linux gurus already know how to find the information they need to
resurrect their own 486 PC, without waiting for us to collect it
all in one place.

Taking over ubuntu-lite? The more I see it, the more it seems
the easiest way to go, if we abandon slinky.

>    2. Relax our goals. We can continue to develop slinky for Fedora, but
>    we should abandon the goal of supporting any hardware that does not at
>    least meet the CPU minimums of Fedora.

No problem at all. See above: this has never been a cult fixed on some
unchangeable, mistical number, like "32MB or RAM" or "i386 cpus till we
die". We said the same thing when RH stopped supporting i386, btw.

>    3. Change our goals for slinky. Make it truly an alternate installer
>    to Anaconda that has as it's goal an installation of Fedora that is
>    even more minimal than the standard minimal Fedora installation.

Isn't this what slinky already is (up to FC5, at least)? Why do you
say it would be a change of goals?

>    4. Focus on a different distribution. I think Richard is right on the
>    money with his remarks on Debian. For example, Debian still supports
>    i386,

and also supports a way to run their main support list that would make
many newbies leave FOSS for good after one day. Don't get me wrong, if
somebody wants to publish software and docs for a minimal Debian
install at rule-project.org, I'm absolutely fine with that (see the
clearinghouse point above). But promoting that as a doable solution
for non-geeky-non-FOSS-hardcore-advocates.... no, I don't think we'd
do a service to that audience...

> I suppose it could be argued that Debian's attention to low-end systems
> means that it does not really need much trimming, but if we relax
> Debian's policy requirements

the more we talk, the more we are talking of Ubuntu-lite, or so it
seems to me...

I will upload the historical content on the website and enable the
book module asap. Ditto for forums or blogs (even if I don't know how
much it will be useful. If people haven't time to write here or in a
standard Drupal page...) and three tiers of users. Comments are
already available to registered users as you can possibly tolerate.
contribution will be greatly diminished.

> I am also willing to take a look at updating slinky for Fedora 7 if Franz
> is unable to continue.

Well, why not try?


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