7 comments on “WTF is Unity Linux? A self faq-interview thing

  1. I see Unity Linux as the Debian of RPM based distributions. The same way that Debian does much of the heaving lifting, with some help from its offspring distributions, Unity Linux can collaboratively solve much of the development for its branch distributions through collaborative effort. The branch distributions can, then, differentiate their particular distribution from the others, without duplication of effort because they all help in that effort. Therefore, community distros can easily work with much fewer resources because the bulk of the work is done with shared resources. I honestly believe its a novel idea!

    Unity Linux is just getting its roots in the ground, at the moment. Fedora, OpenSuse, and to a lesser degree, Mandriva have been the major development forces behind RPM based distros for some time, but they duplicate a lot of effort. Also, they have multiple solutions to the very same problems - in particular, package management. Could you see a day when they all begin to standardize and get behind a singular project that cuts out a lot of duplication? Could you see a day when you can see vast improvements in RPM based Linux distros because the powerhouses that are OpenSuse and Fedora join in a collaborative effort such as Unity Linux and make major leaps in usability, stability, and revolutionize Linux? Yes, at this point, it's not going to happen, but with some momentum and common sense, it just might.

    The real problem with Linux, currently, is that we have one distribution that's not everyone's cup of tea that's running away from the pack. On top of that, there will certainly be a big squeeze coming down the pipe from Google in the form of Chrome OS. For RPM based distros to prosper and move ahead, I think that something is gonna have to give. Somehow, some way...they are gonna have to combine forces in the future. I'm not saying that Unity Linux itself is the solution, but the idea behind it certainly seems worth looking into.

    • Very good points on the underlying collaboration philosophy. Combining resources and having a main place to solve common problems, where only the uniqueness of a branch is worked on, is a core part of why Unity Linux exists.

  2. Nice post, but I would like to correct one thing, the idea that Unity is not heavily dependent on Mandriva, or that there is no possibility of installing Mandriva packages in a Unity-based install. Actually we have done imports of quite a number of Mandriva packages at this point with virtually no changes, and more with only very minimal changes.

    So it's entirely possible that you could e.g. add a Mandriva repo channel to your smart channels in Unity and install from there, although it's not really recommended since we may make future changes which could end up causing conflicts.

    • I didn't realize Mandrake would be that compatible! I thought we had different gcc versions etc that would make life hell for people just casually using their packages.

      So i guess the closeness means that a lot of the heavy lifting for packaging has been done for many applications then.

      • Yes it's true, but I want to reiterate we don't recommend installing from Mandriva repos, it could definitely break your install. But it might be OK to e.g. pick out some mdv rpms and do a test install, I would recommend removing them afterward and requesting the package be built for Unity if that works.

        One of our main reasons for adhering closely to the Mandriva base is of course to remove some of the workload, we can do (and have done) mass imports from Mandriva and just tweak a few things instead of starting from scratch.

        The other main reason which is starting to come to fruition now, is to contribute back upstream the changes we make to some packages, so this should become more of a two-way street as we progress and as we bring more Unity devs into the contributor account status with Mandriva (we have one at least as of this writing).

        Note that the compatibility is more geared toward the base level, not so much toward the level of a DE for example... Our KDE4 guy is pretty much loosely basing from the mdv packages but pulling in patches from several other sources as well, and adding his own personal touches as needed (pls correct me if this is not right you-know-who-are, lol).

        It bears mentioning at this point that we do also work closely with members of the dev teams for rpm5 and smart, and probably a few more which I'm not remembering right now...

  3. It seems we have re-emerged with similar goals as before, so most of this is still valid. It would be nice to see you around.

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