Proposal: Ubuntu Metadistribution

Matt Zimmerman mdz at
Fri Apr 27 16:25:51 UTC 2007

On Thu, Apr 26, 2007 at 01:27:52PM +0200, Gueven Bay wrote:
> No, this not an abstract thing. And no, there are not "many free operating systems based on Ubuntu" (SIC! 
> because Ubuntu is basing on an operating system) : There is only one at this moment: Linux (or better GNU/Linux).
> With my proposal Ubuntu would get 3 other free operating systems under its project umbrella : FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenSolaris.

I think we have a difference in terminology here.  My terms, for purposes of
this discussion:

Linux - a free operating system kernel

Ubuntu - a complete operating system based on Linux

Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Guadalinex, MEPIS, Linspire, Nexenta, etc. -

   complete operating systems based on Ubuntu (derivatives), with
   various components added, removed or replaced (including the kernel)

> > If you wanted to create an OpenSolaris-based Ubuntu, I don't see a reason to
> > use anything other than an APT repository, in order to make use of all of
> > the existing package management tools in Ubuntu.   I don't know much about
> > Blastwave, but from your descriptions it sounds like it is not compatible
> > with APT.
> 1) Because introducing new package managers into the proposed operating systems would unnecessary work.

Why do you think so?  People have been using dpkg and apt on Solaris systems
for years; this works just fine.

> 2) Because the developers of these package managers make already wonderful work. The package managers are tested,
> stable and "functionally complete"

That is all the more reason to use them in derivatives, instead of something
like Blastwave.

An Ubuntu derivative which doesn't use the same package management tools
would be much less true to the spirit of the system.

> 3) Because the users these operating systems have today know already their package managers and they are ready to give help
> for new users.

They also know their shell and other UNIX utilities, their X server, their
desktop...however, these things are not Ubuntu.

> So there is no need to "translate" the base systems of *BSD and OpSol to a dpkg structure. 
> Just make the package managers and the archives more easily usable (just as Ubuntu did with Debian 'til today).

Ubuntu inherited its package management infrastructure from Debian, and
uses most of the same tools.  They are entirely compatible in terms of the
packaging interface.

> > Here you are proposing something more concrete.  Are you asking for space in
> > the Ubuntu repositories to work on this?  Would you then create such a
> > distribution?
> I already asked for permission to start a 3rd party project thread in the
> ubuntuforums.
> My thinking was that if I get this permission then this thread would
> become the starting point for the metadistribution.
> But if it is even possible that I get space on the Ubuntu repos then I
> could begin with the "practical" work right away.  So, the answer to your
> questions are : Yes and Yes ;-)

If you are asking for resources, then you would need to propose your idea to
the Community Council, who would need to be convinced that the project would
become a reality.  I think that would be premature at this stage, however.

In order to use the Ubuntu trademark in your project, you would need to
obtain permission first.  My suggestion to you would be to follow a
procedure something like this:

1. Refine your idea so that it can be explained in clear technical terms to

2. Create a proof of concept or prototype, using a name of your own
invention, which others can try

3. Apply for an official team and trademark status

 - mdz

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