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Debian runs a whole world

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libervisco's picture
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Don't get caught on that title. Laughing Debian does in a sense run a whole world, but not the one we are in right now. It runs servers behind Second Life which is infact a whole virtual world where real people create stuff, meet other people and even buy real estate in real dollars (yes, I'm not kidding).

At least that's what I heard in the last LUGRadio show where they featured a talk with a guy from Linden Labs, a company that created second life (that virtual world).

They have promised a free (as in freedom, yes) GNU/Linux client to the second life and from what was said it seems they're pretty open toward making the whole thing completely Free Software and open standards.

Anyway, I'm now curious, is it really that debian can be considered the most stable server operating system on the planet since its been chosen for projects even so critical and stressing as the second life? Does a distro really have to be that old to be stable, since debian indeed is almost always far behind in software dates in its stable version? Probably second best in that, slackware, is also a bit behind in that sense, but as a "second best" (if that's true) it is still much more recent than debian.

So it seems like, the older, the more stable because it is apparently better tested. But can that be considered a definitive rule?

Thanks
Daniel

dylunio's picture
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I'd say both Debian and Slackware are about as stable as each other, but debian has slightly easier package managment.
I wouldn't say a distro had to be old, and behind software dates for it be stable, but I'd say any distro who would like to be stable this is inevitable, since with the longer QC and testing, by the time a program has been passed for use, two or three newer updates are available.

libervisco's picture
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So then it actually does have to be old. :grinning:

J/K. I know what you mean. So the only way to avoid that would be to produce completely stable software from the start, but the world is not ideal as that would be hard to do and impossible to assure and guarantee.

But I guess that for servers that doesn't even matter that much while desktops can afford a little bit of risk for using something closer to "bleeding edge".

That said, debian really seems to be more suitable as a server OS than a desktop OS.

a thing's picture
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Many servers for big organizations (Yahoo, ISPs and on) run FreeBSD.

tbuitenh's picture
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debian stable is good for servers, testing and unstable are good for desktops.

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I think Debian is both a great server and desktop distro, i find it to be really stable, i havent had a single package fail anytime i've used Debian and the package management is great. Plus its (supposedly) comprised of only free software.

a thing's picture
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That's not true. They include nonfree software, and it tries to automatically install it.

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"a thing" wrote:

Many servers for big organizations (Yahoo, ISPs and on) run FreeBSD.

And Google run several Linux Farms Smiling

libervisco's picture
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"a thing" wrote:

That's not true. They include nonfree software, and it tries to automatically install it.

I thought they were just including it in their repositories, but separately marked as non-free.

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"a thing" wrote:

That's not true. They include nonfree software, and it tries to automatically install it.

Where did you get that idea? By default on a Debian install, only "main" is enabled in sources.list. Main is composed *entirely* of Free software by the DFSG, which can be, at times, even more stringent than the FSF's views. For example, documentation covered under the FSF's GFDL is no longer a part of "main" because it places too many restrictions on modification of the documentation.

The reason the FSF no longer recommends Debian is because it has the "potential" to install non-free from the non-free and contrib repos. But those must be either manually added by the user, or reconfigure apt with the debconf priority set to low (not sure the second method even still works as I haven't tried in years). Nothing is being automatically installed that is non-Free unless the user has asked for it specifically.

libervisco's picture
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Yes, that's what I think dotmil.

I actually heard that Richard Stallman is using Debian. He once said that. He usually recommends Ututo GNU/Linux because it doesn't even distribute in any way non-free software (they don't even have a separate non-free repository). However, recommending is one thing and approving of use is another. Of course he didn't want to recommend Debian because in his view that would be recommending the whole of which the non-free repo is part of.

But if one uses debian, or for that matter any GNU/Linux distro, but simply refuses to install non-free software with it, then I don't think anyone from FSF would have a problem with that. Smiling

In that sense, debian is actually one of the distros that are easier to stay on the free side with, since all of non-free packs are separated.

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There's actually also a Debian package call "VRMS" or "Virtual RMS". It scans your system for non-free software and gently scolds you for anything non-free that is installed Laughing out loud

a thing's picture
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I remember when I tried Sarge a while ago it tried to install MM Flash when I said install desktop things. No warning about it before it tried to install.

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"a thing" wrote:

I remember when I tried Sarge a while ago it tried to install MM Flash when I said install desktop things. No warning about it before it tried to install.

Then you must have enabled the non-free repo somehow. The package name for MM Flash is flashplugin-nonfree.

Trust me, something like that in main would *never* happen.

libervisco's picture
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"dotmil" wrote:

There's actually also a Debian package call "VRMS" or "Virtual RMS". It scans your system for non-free software and gently scolds you for anything non-free that is installed Laughing out loud

Is that just for Debain or it can be installed in other distros? I think it would be useful (and fun at the same time) just to make sure that you're running all Free Software. Smiling

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Joined: 2005-12-20

heh, i just installed vrms, that's kind of neat.

iirc, non-free is non free software (duh) and contrib is free software that depends on non-free software.

I did a default install and only 'main' is selected for both mirrors.

also, if you do an expert or expert26 (2.6 kernel) install for sarge, it will prompt you if you want to use non-free and/or contrib. I think the woody installer asks you that by default.

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A quick check of my Ubuntu Breezy install shows it available. Not sure about anything non-Debian based though.

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"Nihilanth" wrote:

heh, i just installed vrms, that's kind of neat.

iirc, non-free is non free software (duh) and contrib is free software that depends on non-free software.

I did a default install and only 'main' is selected for both mirrors.

also, if you do an expert or expert26 (2.6 kernel) install for sarge, it will prompt you if you want to use non-free and/or contrib. I think the woody installer asks you that by default.

Yes the expert install option changes the debconf priorities, so you would be prompted to add contrib and non-free (IIRC they're a "low" priority debconf option).

libervisco's picture
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I just tried pacman -S vrms and it doesn't seem to be there so it seems Arch doesn't have it.

AndrewB's picture
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"dotmil" wrote:

A quick check of my Ubuntu Breezy install shows it available. Not sure about anything non-Debian based though.

Well compair apt sources
they are interchangeable
Smiling

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"AndrewB" wrote:

Well compair apt sources
they are interchangeable
Smiling

Yes, but I have found a few things in Debian repos not in Ubuntu and vice versa. But for the most part, they are the same yes.

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Joined: 2006-02-02
corporate offices love it

i believe most corporate offices they are loving debian servers because of stability and very easy to use.It is having very good advantage most of the application are porting for debian packages

a thing's picture
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By the way, that VRMS thing is outdated. It says Blender is nonfree, but it's under the GNU GPL now.

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"a thing" wrote:

By the way, that VRMS thing is outdated. It says Blender is nonfree, but it's under the GNU GPL now.

Mybe you'd consider filing a bug report then?

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