Where to take Shift


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Whiffle

I almost added this to my last post but its a different subject, the base distro. This is entirely opinion, but here's the main points I think about the pros/cons of Ubuntu and Arch linux. And by basing shift on one of these, I think shift would inherit many of these traits. I also tried to list some things that I think could be added or improved upon for each one, something that maybe Shift people are interested in doing.

Ubuntu:

Pros:

  1. Huge library of software. If its not in apt, you probably don't need it.
  2. Very large user base, lots of people are learning/starting on ubuntu, easy transition for new users
  3. automatic configuration tools are nice and usually correct.

Cons:

  1. Ubuntu is quirky - Maybe its just me, but I've had alot of strange little issues crop up with ubuntu during the time I've used it. Most recently, I did a fresh install of Gutsy on my laptop. It worked great! But, as updates started coming in, things started getting very strange. On my laptop wireless stopped working correctly (even though it did after the clean install)(and its a well supported chipset, ipw2200), it stopped sleeping correctly (which is weird because it worked great under feisty, and right after a clean install). On my desktop, its been pretty good, although I have some weird problems with openoffice, such as icons not installing when oo is installed, and when you click on a menu bar button, all the icons dissapear from the toolbars. I don't think its OO's fault, although it could be, but the same version works fine under slackware.
  2. Ubuntu seems to be getting rather heavy- Let me put i this way, KDE on slackware runs as fast or faster than xubuntu, both on this computer. Even after tweaking ubuntu and before tweaking slackware. I havn't figured out exactly why ubuntu feels slower, maybe its a kernel issue, but it doesn't feel nearly as snappy.
  3. Theres a billion other new distros based on Ubuntu - If you're trying to stand out at all, being another ubuntu distro isn't going to do much to help that.
  4. Ubuntu updates can be a disaster - I'll never forget this summer. I was about to leave for work in new mexico, where i would have no solid internet all summer. I had an install of Ubuntu Feisty on my laptop, and I ran a simple apt-get update && apt-get upgrade on it. I reboot it, and what do I have, grub error 22. Not good. I didn't want to have that worry so I put arch on it and that worked great all summer for me. My point is that Ubuntu being as big as it is, tends to miss some of the details when it comes to updating, and it doesn't differentiate from little upgrades, ang big upgrades that could leave you in a bind. Also, from my personal experience, dist-upgrading is a real hit-or-miss game. I did a dist-upgrade on both laptop and desktop when Gutsy came out and neither of them were able to finish on their own. Further more, on the desktop Compiz didn't work at all. I reinstalled a fresh one on both and the desktop has been mostly fine.

Things Shift could possibly do for ubuntu:

  1. Maybe improve speed? Provide optimized packages? Redo some of the underlying, backroom type stuff for more speed?
  2. More eye candy?
  3. More admin tools?

Arch:

Pros:

  1. quite fast, has a very light philosophy, which is good. It means to me that further addons (like compiz) won't slow things down as much.
  2. stable (I guess most linux's are)
  3. pacman seems to be a good package manager

Cons

  1. relatively small package library
  2. Not a whole lot of auto configuration tools
  3. smaller user base

Things Shift could bring to Arch:

  1. More autoconfiguration tools
  2. Add packages
  3. eye candy ( i didn't see compiz in the official arch package list)

So I think it comes down, again, to what do people (as in the people working on it), want to do with shift? Are they interested in starting with a well established distro and adding to that, or do they want to work on adding features (possibly reinventing the wheel), on a distro that could use some. I dunno, I'm more for the second one, but then again I don't even think twice about re-compiling my kernel. I enjoy that kind of stuff.

Another 2 cents, again.

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Daylene
I almost added this to my last post but its a different subject, the base distro. This is entirely opinion, but here's the main points I think about the pros/cons of Ubuntu and Arch linux. And by basing shift on one of these, I think shift would inherit many of these traits. I also tried to list some things that I think could be added or improved upon for each one, something that maybe Shift people are interested in doing.

Ubuntu:

Pros:

  1. Huge library of software. If its not in apt, you probably don't need it.
  2. Very large user base, lots of people are learning/starting on ubuntu, easy transition for new users
  3. automatic configuration tools are nice and usually correct.

Cons:

  1. Ubuntu is quirky - Maybe its just me, but I've had alot of strange little issues crop up with ubuntu during the time I've used it. Most recently, I did a fresh install of Gutsy on my laptop. It worked great! But, as updates started coming in, things started getting very strange. On my laptop wireless stopped working correctly (even though it did after the clean install)(and its a well supported chipset, ipw2200), it stopped sleeping correctly (which is weird because it worked great under feisty, and right after a clean install). On my desktop, its been pretty good, although I have some weird problems with openoffice, such as icons not installing when oo is installed, and when you click on a menu bar button, all the icons dissapear from the toolbars. I don't think its OO's fault, although it could be, but the same version works fine under slackware.
  2. Ubuntu seems to be getting rather heavy- Let me put i this way, KDE on slackware runs as fast or faster than xubuntu, both on this computer. Even after tweaking ubuntu and before tweaking slackware. I havn't figured out exactly why ubuntu feels slower, maybe its a kernel issue, but it doesn't feel nearly as snappy.
  3. Theres a billion other new distros based on Ubuntu - If you're trying to stand out at all, being another ubuntu distro isn't going to do much to help that.
  4. Ubuntu updates can be a disaster - I'll never forget this summer. I was about to leave for work in new mexico, where i would have no solid internet all summer. I had an install of Ubuntu Feisty on my laptop, and I ran a simple apt-get update && apt-get upgrade on it. I reboot it, and what do I have, grub error 22. Not good. I didn't want to have that worry so I put arch on it and that worked great all summer for me. My point is that Ubuntu being as big as it is, tends to miss some of the details when it comes to updating, and it doesn't differentiate from little upgrades, ang big upgrades that could leave you in a bind. Also, from my personal experience, dist-upgrading is a real hit-or-miss game. I did a dist-upgrade on both laptop and desktop when Gutsy came out and neither of them were able to finish on their own. Further more, on the desktop Compiz didn't work at all. I reinstalled a fresh one on both and the desktop has been mostly fine.

Things Shift could possibly do for ubuntu:

  1. Maybe improve speed? Provide optimized packages? Redo some of the underlying, backroom type stuff for more speed?
  2. More eye candy?
  3. More admin tools?

Arch:

Pros:

  1. quite fast, has a very light philosophy, which is good. It means to me that further addons (like compiz) won't slow things down as much.
  2. stable (I guess most linux's are)
  3. pacman seems to be a good package manager

Cons

  1. relatively small package library
  2. Not a whole lot of auto configuration tools
  3. smaller user base

Things Shift could bring to Arch:

  1. More autoconfiguration tools
  2. Add packages
  3. eye candy ( i didn't see compiz in the official arch package list)

So I think it comes down, again, to what do people (as in the people working on it), want to do with shift? Are they interested in starting with a well established distro and adding to that, or do they want to work on adding features (possibly reinventing the wheel), on a distro that could use some. I dunno, I'm more for the second one, but then again I don't even think twice about re-compiling my kernel. I enjoy that kind of stuff.

Another 2 cents, again.

I agree with you on some of the cons of Ubuntu (upgrading is sometimes a pain), but the pros far outweigh the cons. Ubuntu has a lot more out of the box hardware support than arch, and is easy for newbies to use and configure. I have been using Linux for 5 years, and have tried numerous distros, yet Ubuntu is my favorite on the desktop. Why? Because like Windows XP, things just work out of the box. It also has some nice build tools, and has out of the box support for non-free drivers.

The fact that the next version of Shift is already being worked on, and uses Ubuntu, we should see how a Ubuntu base works, but I believe that it will make a good choice. What is more important is choosing what the Distro should focus on, and who it should cater to.

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Whiffle

Yeah, ubuntu certainly does have the most things working "out of the box." One thing to keep in mind though, all of the tools that are used for such things are available and can be worked into any distro. Ubuntu really came in at an ideal time as those tools were really starting to mature though. I remember back in the good 'ol days of using gentoo, i had a heck of a time making mass storage devices work right and pop up when i plugged them in, now they're included in most distros(worked out of the box on slackware...so did bluetooth for that matter). Some implementations (like ubuntus) are better than others though.

I have no doubts that things should work out fairly well with Ubuntu, its got to be one of the most re-packaged distros out there, even the MPAA did it :)

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Simon

I think the package management will be interesting for us. We plan on having our own repository, but we don't exactly know how we will yet. I think there will be a meeting once all of the devs have some free time (I can tell you that I am about to go into exams, so I'm not able to do anything for a while, but I've mentioned that in this thread before). We'll decide on how the repository will work, if we will depend on another repository plus ours, or have our own dedicated to Shift and maintained 100% by us.

It's a complicated issue.

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Berserk87

get the sound working for realt6ek alc850's and ill use it :p

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Barney T.

Man... I really appreciate everyone's suggestions and comments. We have pretty much decided to go with Ubuntu as a base and build from there. We will take all of your input and use it as we can.

One idea that were are going to seriously look at is creating a DVD with multiple tools and packages, along with various DMs instead of creating three separate CDs. Along with Bulio's idea about the AWN docking app, we will also work at more theming.

As for a roadmap, we do this with each version, so this one will not be different. We will post our ideas and goals on our Wiki for all to see.

Again, thanks.

Barney

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Daylene
I think the package management will be interesting for us. We plan on having our own repository, but we don't exactly know how we will yet. I think there will be a meeting once all of the devs have some free time (I can tell you that I am about to go into exams, so I'm not able to do anything for a while, but I've mentioned that in this thread before). We'll decide on how the repository will work, if we will depend on another repository plus ours, or have our own dedicated to Shift and maintained 100% by us.

It's a complicated issue.

I think that for the base system, Shift should use the standard Ubuntu repos. This is because there are thousands of packages in there which are needed by a Ubuntu based distro, and there is no sense wasting bandwidth by mirroring packages that will never be changed by Shift devs.

Although there should be a Shift repo, where things which are created or modified by Shift devs should go. There could be two repositories, experimental and stable.

The experimental repo can contain things like the latest builds of AWN, compiz fusion, etc. While the stable version would have the latest most stable version of each program. We could also build packages from source using Ubuntu's new build service.

If needed, I can set up a Ubuntu repo on a server, and can help with package management.

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markjensen

I recently (like the past week) read that Ubuntu has made it easy to set up "personal" repos. Setting up a Shift repo with them for the Neowin-specific modifications would be a good idea, I would think.

EDIT: Link!

http://www.computerworld.com/action/articl...rc=news_ts_head

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Daylene
I recently (like the past week) read that Ubuntu has made it easy to set up "personal" repos. Setting up a Shift repo with them for the Neowin-specific modifications would be a good idea, I would think.

EDIT: Link!

http://www.computerworld.com/action/articl...rc=news_ts_head

Yeah, in my above post I linked to the PPA (Personal Package Archive), which can be a really handy tool, although it limits us to 1GB of space. Below is from the PPAQuickstart page:

With Launchpad's Personal Package Archives (PPA), you can build and publish binary Ubuntu packages for multiple architectures simply by uploading an Ubuntu source package to Launchpad.

*Important: This guide does not show you how to create source packages. You should only continue if you are familiar with Debian-based packaging as used by Ubuntu. To learn how to package for Ubuntu, follow [WWW] The Ubuntu Packaging Guide.

Your PPA gives you:

*An APT repository of up to 1 gigabyte for material licensed in accordance with the PPA Terms of Use.

*Binary packages built for x86 and AMD64 architectures against Ubuntu.

*A web front-end where Launchpad users can browse and search for your packages.

Before you create your PPA, you need to:

*become an Ubuntero (i.e. have signed the Ubuntu Community Code of Conduct)

*have imported your PGP key to your Launchpad account.

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Fish
One idea that were are going to seriously look at is creating a DVD with multiple tools and packages, along with various DMs instead of creating three separate CDs....

I like this idea. What I'd like to see is something like a cross between the way you install Windows 98 and, say, Debian. I'm not sure how it would work, or if it's even possible, but I see it as choosing your "flavour" (Flux, Gnome, KDE) and getting their respective "base apps". Then customizing it along the lines of... "Desktop", "Server" (maybe), "Multimedia"... and perhaps then going even further and selecting which apps actually get installed.

For some strange reason, I miss the W98 installer and the way it let you choose what components you actually want to install. Sure, the XP installer was more user-friendly, but we lost out on that extra level of fine-tuning because of it. In this respect, Ubuntu installs in a similar way, which is fine... because then you just go off and install all your prefered stuff afterwards. But I think it would be nice to be able to do all this in one go during the main OS installation.

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markjensen
Yeah, in my above post I linked to the PPA (Personal Package Archive), which can be a really handy tool, although it limits us to 1GB of space.
Bah! You snuck that in as part of your text. It doesn't count! :p
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Barney T.

@ Bulio: Thanks for the great info. I would love to have you help us set up the repo. We are not going to re-do the repos that are already out there for the Deb / Ubuntu distros. We plan on creating our own repo with our best personalized packages. Also, we have an FTP server for that exact purpose (thanks to Neowin). I'll get with you with the details.

@ MarkJensen: Thanks for the link. We will look into it. If there is a way that we can do this, I think it would be a plus.

@ Mr. Fish: Thanks for the comments. We seriously look at all comments and suggestions, so please feel free to chime in whenever something hits you.

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markjensen
@ MarkJensen: Thanks for the link. We will look into it. If there is a way that we can do this, I think it would be a plus.
My link was the same as Bulio's, just for the record. :shifty:
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Barney T.
My link was the same as Bulio's, just for the record. :shifty:

That is ok... you get full credit. :shiftyninja:

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Angel Blue01
I like this idea. What I'd like to see is something like a cross between the way you install Windows 98 and, say, Debian. I'm not sure how it would work, or if it's even possible, but I see it as choosing your "flavour" (Flux, Gnome, KDE) and getting their respective "base apps". Then customizing it along the lines of... "Desktop", "Server" (maybe), "Multimedia"... and perhaps then going even further and selecting which apps actually get installed.

For some strange reason, I miss the W98 installer and the way it let you choose what components you actually want to install. Sure, the XP installer was more user-friendly, but we lost out on that extra level of fine-tuning because of it. In this respect, Ubuntu installs in a similar way, which is fine... because then you just go off and install all your prefered stuff afterwards. But I think it would be nice to be able to do all this in one go during the main OS installation.

I was about to post this! I agree. I want a version of Shift that comes with KDE and its tools out of the box, even if its built on Ubuntu.

That was one of the things I missed immedaitly in WinXP, you have no options as far as what Windows will install with, and I don't want that to be the case here if it can be avoided. Most disros seem to have a reasonable level of customization. (Being an openSUSE users I like the fact that the installer lets you choose default packages groups and other things and then lets you customize it a lot before confirming the changes to install)

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CrimsonRedMk

You guys, aren't we getting in bed with Ubuntu a little too fast?

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Commodore Max

Mmm ... Eye Candy :). I like that. I'm so excited I already started drawing up concepts for a theme :).

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Barney T.
You guys, aren't we getting in bed with Ubuntu a little too fast?

:devil:

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James7

That reconstructor program looks a lot 'simpler' than the whole morphix thing, but it doesn't look as interesting in terms of frustration and fun ;)

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Daylene

But it produces results, which is what the people want :p

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Pikey

Have you considered wandering into 'Enlightenment E17' territory ?

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CrimsonRedMk

You know what we should do...a series of open, public debates...or at least voting, on everything in Shift. It is a community distro, right?

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James7

A vote sounds cool. :yes:

I'd only say, it depends on the 'mission' of the distro as to which window manager should be default.....

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Barney T.
A vote sounds cool. :yes:

I'd only say, it depends on the 'mission' of the distro as to which window manager should be default.....

True, and we also want to produce a distro with the most popular WM, so we get it out to more of the public that might be interested.

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Fish
True, and we also want to produce a distro with the most popular WM, so we get it out to more of the public that might be interested.

Window manager, or desktop environment?

I think one of the features of Shift as opposed to other distros is that you have a choice of which DE you would like by downloading the relevant CD.... I'm thinking again of the Shift-specific things that will make it stand out from the crowd. There's a danger of doing a "Gnome-by-default distro, but all other DE's are an apt-get away..."... which isn't really anything special. I don't see anything wrong with the way you currently release Shift, with 3 separate ISO's depending on prefered DE.

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