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DistroWatch: Libranet 2.7--Debian Made Easy

Dec 13, 2002, 17:30 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ladislav Bodnar)

[ Thanks to Ladislav Bodnar for this link. ]

One of the greatest strengths--and also one of the greatest weaknesses--of GNU/Linux is the way that numerous developers have taken the OS and molded it the way they like it. Occasionally this produces a 'fork'--two (or more) camps of devout users, both vehemently insisting that their way of doing things is best. The most prominent example of this is probably the great GUI debate (Is KDE or Gnome better?). Another equally important divide exists over the seemingly mundane issue of package management. The two biggest contenders are the Red Hat package manager (RPM, as it is popularly known) and Debian's Advanced Package Tool (APT, or apt-get) system.

"Until late 2002, it seemed as if the debate was all but over--RPM was winning by a landslide. All the major Linux distros--including but not limited to Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE, Caldera, and Conectiva--were RPM based. Furthermore, the LSB (Linux Standard Base) project endorsed RPM. To add insult to injury, the big-three Debian-based commercial distros failed in the marketplace--Stormix, Corel and Progeny.

"Debian users had their loyalty tested when Linux kernel 2.4 was released in January, 2000. Within four months of the release, all the major RPM-based distros produced sets of nicely packaged CDs based on the new kernel. But for Debian users, the process of migrating to the new kernel took more than two years. During this interval, Debian was falling seriously behind the other well-known distros in terms of features..."

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