Userlinux support in the Bay Area

Tony Godshall Tony Godshall <>
Tue, 29 Mar 2005 18:17:48 -0800

According to Erich Schubert,
> Hi,
> Well... UserLinux has not the best reputation. I actually know nobody
> who is using it, and I havn't heard anything that makes it better.

I beg to differ.

I am using it.  I know you.

It's really not a distribution at all... it's really just a
selection of Debian packages from Debian.  Mainly what
it does is pare down the initial package list to a standard
list that the members of the list (and Bruce Perens occasionally 
by fiat, such as the Gnome vs KDE decision) feel are the most
appropriate for business.

One strength, I think, that it is a vendor-neutral not-for-profit 
coalition, like Debian itself, while reducing support and installation 
complexity (by picking a best-of-breed default application for each 
category and asking support professionals to be versed in it).  

But that being said, it's not as polished as the commercial
distribs.  You'll see the web page says "will be" a lot and
the real meat is in the wiki.  But it does have a very
pretty and professional-looking Gnomoe desktop.
> The most viable Debian-based Distributions are probably Debian sarge
> itself and Ubuntu. The latter is mostly good for Desktop IMHO, but hoary
> also has a server install mode.

I've never used Ubuntu, but I've found that sarge works
great on my desktop.  Even if I did do my package-selection
through Userlinux ;-) .

> I'd also like to point you the following blog entry, which may or may
> not be unfair towards userLinux:

It's not fair because it assumes UserLinux is a business.
Vendor neutrality has pros and cons.  Pros are that
volunteers are valued and product is honest and open.  
Cons are lack of funding and dependency on volunteers.

And it's not fair because UserLinux is Bruce's baby and
Bruce and Progeny have contributed quite a bit to Debian.

> My understanding of UserLinux was somewhat that they'll try to take a
> snapshot (i.e sarge) from Debian and offer certifications for that.

Right.  And they really were hoping to do it around sarge==stable.

> That sounds interesting for businesses - but not for me.

That's fair.  

Userlinux is mostly interesting to me in that ...

... it may make it easier for e.g. my dad to run Linux.  

... it helps standardize, which... 

... helps build a pool of support professionals.

Heck, if Bruce can get, for example, HP to certify a 
distribution that's little more than a subset of Debian, 
that's a win all around, isn't it?

Hey, you need a lift to BAD mtg in April?  I may drive,
since my wife works in SF.