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Componentized Linux

© July 2005 Drag Sidious

Author: Drag


Componentized Linux is a conceptual Linux distribution that is designed to provide reusable parts for making custom Linux operating systems.

This is brought to us from Progeny. Progeny is a Linux corporation whose CEO is Ian Murdock. (his blog is at Ian Murdock’s Weblog). Ian Murdock was one of the first people to try to create a community based Linux distrubution, rather then a single person or small group of people dedicated to building distros for other people. This, of course, was the Debian Project whose goal is to create a 'universal' OS.

As you probably know, most newer distros that come out are Debian based. Ubuntu is a great example of a fairly overnight success. Others include Lindows/Linspire, Xandros, Mepis, and many other desktop oriented distros.

Progeny mainly uses Debian as a basis for creating custom distrubutions for specific client's purposes. Like a embeedded firewall, multimedia appliance, telco services, or a server OS for a specific network appliance.

Componentized Linux is a public effort to build 'software components' that can be used to build a custom OS for a specific purpose or region. Instead of having numerious software packages like 'Kerberos 5', 'OpenLDAP server', 'OpenLDAP client', 'PAM krb5 plugins', or whatever, you can simply choose something like 'Active Directory Support' and most of the details of getting a basic software configuration can be taken care of. Also you can acheive high levels of customization without sacrificing compatability with other componitized linux-based systems. You could theoreticly create a 'Enterprise Linux' from it, a Brazil-specific distro, a Desktop-specific distro, a Hebrew-language specific distro, Corporate branded distro, but have them be able to install Firefox web browser off of the web and be completely compatable.

So in that way you can avoid what happenned with the Redhat based distros like Mandrake/Conectiva/Mandriva, Suse, Redhat ES, Fedora, were originally they were somewhat compatable, but now are almost completley unable to share rpm packages in between them all. There is no technical reason why they can't be compatable. They all use roundabout the same software, same features, and software versions, but they just never bothered with it.

I have my doubts that something like this would catch on, the Linux-world is way to fractional, but if it did it would go a long way to making Linux more mainstream. A third party software distributer could test on one version of componentized linux and not have to worry about it not working on another version.

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