Unity

Disclaimer: this post is not about the current PCLInuxOS hoopla. Apparently many people are upset and there’s much ruffling of feathers. It makes the latest Distrowatch a very entertaining read, especially the comments, but what really grabbed my eye was this:

In related news, Derrick Devine, former administrator of the community project site MyPCLinuxOS, recently handed over control of the project and announced work on a new Linux distribution, called Unity, with many of the other former PCLinuxOS developers: “What it will be is a new Linux distribution that takes an incremental approach to desktop Linux. It will provide a central core and use the mklivecd scripts that PCLinuxOS uses and it will provide a base from which to build just about any desktop you want out there.

At the moment, it’s not yet very clear whether that means it’ll be a base for other distributions, or one for the everyday user. I really hope it’s the latter, where you’d install a base system, on top of that you’d install everything else you want, and most importantly, you could leave out everything you don’t want. This is the easiest way to provide the complete richness of the Linux desktop, and it’s one of the main reasons I use Arch. In Kmandla’s words, “everybody hates the default desktop no matter what distro, release or version it is, so just get over it, change it to what you like, and move forward in life.”

There are other advantages. In the same way it’s easier to take something apart if you built it yourself, “creating” your own Linux desktop solution makes it easier to switch DE/WM. I know metapackages exist, but there’s always some command line wizardry to be done afterwards, even if it’s just switching login managers, cleaning up cruft, or simply trying to figure out what went wrong and why you end up in twm and your PC looks like it has been barfed upon in the eighties.

It’s easier for the developers too. You don’t patch the hell out of everything, you just provide packages for vanilla software (critical/safety patches being the exception), and let the user do the configuration.

In short, I think Unity is taking a very good approach here. Of course, at this time Unity doesn’t really exist. It’s a concept, a Distrowatch article, and a webpage. I’ll be keeping an eye on it though.

San

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2 Responses to Unity

  1. spiralofhope says:

    Unity Linux itself will be a base for developers to create their own remaster.

    The various remasters themselves will then be for the everyday user.

    It is expected that Unity will ship so plain that it’ll just be a LiveCD with some hardware detection and a console with a commandline package manager. Can I call Unity Linux “Linux From Scratch For Dummies”? lol.

    So far it sounds like the package repository is hoped to be shared by Unity Linux and all its remasters in some organized way. It’s all way over my head, and some decisions are still being made, but it sounds like a major upgrade to RPM will be insisted, and various packaging-related improvements are already in the works to make magic happen.

    Of course, it always sounds easiest on paper. But whatever gets decided will be for the original goal. Unity Linux will be a barebones distro made to be remastered.

    The main Unity Linux repository will have as many development, library and application packages as can be possibly stuffed into it, the priority being development and libraries first. I think the remaster projects will work on applications and submit them for Unity.

    We’re almost up to 30 team members now, and things are looking good so far!

  2. jmiahman says:

    You can find more information about Unity and various administrator and developer blogs at planet unity.

    http://planet.unity-linux.org/

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