Proposal: Ubuntu Metadistribution

Gueven Bay guevenbay at
Sat Apr 21 06:13:13 UTC 2007

> Your description roughly matches the way that Ubuntu is already structured.

Yes, it matches the way Ubuntu is structured. But - as you know - Ubuntu is GNU/Linux
today. The first new proposal of me was to get other free operating systems under Ubuntu's

> That is, I don't see any work to be done on the core OS in order to enable
> the development of the derivatives you describe.  

You are very right. For the core Ubuntu as it is today you don't have any work to be done.
The only work to be done if Ubuntu Metadistribution is going to be reality is to include 
the other OSes step for step into the Ubuntu structure (repository, live cds and so on). 

> There is already a
> derivative of Ubuntu using the OpenSolaris kernel, for example.

Thank you very much for bringing this distribution into discussion. 
As cool as Nexenta - the Ubuntu OpenSolaris mix disro - is it has in my eyes one flaw:
It mixes two worlds - the world of (Open)Solaris and GNU/Linux- on a very low level : It uses the kernel
of on OS (Solaris) and uses the (low level) libraries and userland of another (GNU/Linux). 
This mix is not good. 
For one: The low level libs of GNU and also the userland is today developed with Linux in mind.
But - staying in this example - (Open)Solaris has its own proven and tested libs and userland which the
users of this operating system like and know. The mix on this level is - today at least - not good. 
For two: Users who want to use (Open)Solaris want the full (Open)Solaris "experience" (I hope you can see
what I want to say here.) There are many who don't like the GNu userland for example.
(For three: -As the Ubuntu folks come from Debian they would understand this - The mixing of libs and userland
Nexenta does is not clean as the license questions are stil not solved today.)

> So what is it that you are proposing specifically?

What I want is to combine the worlds of several free operating systems with the "philosophy" of Ubuntu:
ease of use, shiny new releases every eye blink , cool community, "business awareness"  but - with the combination 
of several operating systems under Ubuntu - the _full_ choice the free software world gives.

Let me specify this - with the things I wrote above in mind- in the example of Ubuntu/OpenSolaris:

The original OpenSolaris with its libs and docus and userland (in the OpenSolaris world these are called consolidations) 
+ The packages to get all the functionality of a Ubuntu Release (CD/DVD) from the Blastwave repository (this is
a repo which gives the Solaris user an "apt-get like structure". 
+ The Ubuntu specific programs and packages ported to OpenSolaris (for example the installer, the update notifier but 
also the Gnome adaptations of Ubuntu).
Please have in mind here that the OpenSolaris world stays as it is and it is known to the user (with some very little adaptations).

This all combined in the Ubuntu repositories , with the apropriate user mailing lists and forums, tested for half year release
as Ubuntu/GNU/Linux is tested and released every six months.

("Port" this example to the other proposed operating systems FreeBSD, NetBSD).

The end user gets a web-site,
 where he clicks and chooses the operating system he wants to test/learn/use,
where he clicks and chooses the desktop environment and "experience" he wants under the chosen OS (Gnome,KDE,XFCE)
where he clicks and chooses the kind of release he wants to download (CD/DVD, mybe USB sticks in the future).
So in the end every one would get :
the __full__ choice  the world of free software gives the user
but with the community support structure of Ubuntu today.

I hope that my example made it clear what I proposed.

Thank you for your questions.
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