Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: Matthew Marlowe <mattm@g.o>
To: gentoo-dev@l.g.o
Subject: RE: Fw: [gentoo-dev] where goes Gentoo?
Date: Tue, 07 Jun 2005 21:29:00
1 >> There have been some really interesting points brought up recently
2 >> about "where is Gentoo going?" I have been wondering that myself.
4 I really appreciate that you had the initiative to start this conversation.
5 I also agree that its a lingering problem that needs to be addressed
6 clearly.
8 >> Some people seem to think that Gentoo has the potential to be an
9 >> enterprise player. I have not responded directly to those people, but
10 >> I wonder if they know what they mean. I have worked in the enterprise
11 >> UNIX market for 6 years. My code is running in places like NASA
12 >> mission control, 9-1-1 call centers, and most of the telephone
13 >> carriers. I've produced patches on weekends to close $800m deals.
14 >> I now work in hp's Open Source and Linux Organization, mostly on RHEL
15 >> and SLES, so I have a good idea of what it takes to be an enterprise
16 >> player.
17 >>
19 I worked on NASA projects for several years and helped write the code
20 to support a major scientific instrument onboard one research satellite(XTE),
21 as well as contributing key sections of the health and safety, mission monitoring,
22 and command generation subsystems associated with the science operating
23 center for that satellite. I've also managed the infrastructure for several
24 web hosting companies, even created my own startup which provided
25 high-end systems administration services for DotComs which couldn't afford
26 to ever go down.
28 I am also a supporter of getting Gentoo into the enterprise.
30 >> In my humble opinion, Gentoo is missing too many points to be an
31 >> enterprise Linux. We commit to a live tree. We don't have true QA,
32 >> testing or tinderbox. We don't have paid staff, alpha/beta/rc cycles.
33 >> We don't really have product lifecycles, since we don't generally
34 >> backport fixes to older versions, requiring instead for people to
35 >> update to a more recent release. We don't have, and probably will
36 >> never be able to offer, support contracts. We support as wide a range
37 >> of hardware as the upstream kernel, plus hardware that requires
38 >> external drivers; we don't have access to a great deal of the hardware
39 >> for which we provide drivers. We understand when real life gets in
40 >> the way of bug-fixing, because all our developers are volunteers.
41 >>
43 On the other hand, many of the other commercial distributions have their
44 own problems. Redhat can generally be an expensive distribution
45 to maintain in a server environment where applications are constantly
46 changing and newer versions of open source applications are required
47 to address performance or feature requirements. RPM hell still
48 exists. I haven't played around with SUSE, but I wouldn't expect them
49 to be any different.
51 Furthermore, the cost of deploying commercial licenses can be
52 cost prohibitive for small businesses with less than 25 servers
53 who have an annual IT budget of $50K-$500K. These businesses
54 still deserve a solidly reliable OS that is customized for them, but
55 their budget needs to be allocated towards colocation facilities,
56 bandwidth, and professional system administrators - not expensive
57 software licenses and maintenance constracts.
59 And, no, CentOS or Fedora are not an option for them currently.
60 Fedora changes everything every six months or so, and support
61 for old installs is questionable. Gentoo beats CentOS out of
62 the water in terms of customizeability, community, and overall
63 package availability. Plus RHEL, which CentOS is based on,
64 has its own problems (setting up a simple server with it yesterday
65 and having bonding enabled caused a kernel crash).
67 A clueful sysadmin with gentoo is a far superior arrangement
68 provided the rate of hardware installs isn't too much. For very large
69 environments with 100+ boxes, I'd definitly agree with you that
70 gentoo has a long way to go.
72 Regarding your points on gentoo's weaknesses:
73 Live Tree - not really a problem, thats what snapshots are for.
74 QA Testing - not reallly a problem, thats what snapshots and a test server
75 is for.
76 Backporting of patches - A real concern, but I believe that gentoo is
77 such a good solution that eventually some startup biz will address it.
78 Support contracts - I'll take professional sysadmins over contracts
79 any day, but this can also eventually be addressed by an eventual
80 startup biz dedicated to it. I'd pay $10/month per box for it and could
81 instantly refer 50-100 boxes assuming the solution was properly implemented
82 and I could convince my clients to go with it.
85 >> I think that attempting to take Gentoo in the "enterprise" direction
86 >> is a mistake. I think that we are a hobbyist distribution. This
87 >> doesn't mean that we should not strive to meet some of the enterprise
88 >> goals. Those things can be important to hobbyists too. But I don't
89 >> think we should be aiming for corporate America.
90 >>
92 I think Gentoo shouldn't rule out providing some support and flexibility
93 for any need that a significant amount of its userbase is interested in.
94 And, I know there are a significant number of devs already who
95 have at least some interest in enterprise support do to conversations
96 I've had via IRC.
98 I definitly don't expect that the entire gentoo community or dev base
99 should go substantially out of their way or change organizational structure
100 to facilitate enterprise capabilities. Just allow some startup biz that
101 eventually comes along to be able to provide a backported snapshot
102 based tree for their own customers.
104 >> I don't even understand why that goal appeals to people. Let other
105 >> distros go there! I want Gentoo to run in people's homes, in student
106 >> dorm rooms, etc. Places where people want a fun distribution that
107 >> they can tailor and work on easily.
108 >>
110 Other distros suck in different ways. Gentoo definitly has enterprise
111 advantages.
113 >> I like the idea of Gentoo on alternative arches and in embedded
114 >> environments. Not because I want Sony to start using Gentoo on
115 >> walkmans, but purely because the idea of running Linux on a PDA is
116 >> cool. I'd like Gentoo to be a place where neat things are developed.
117 >> If RH or SuSE (or another for-profit Linux vendor) wants to take some
118 >> of those developments and use them to make a profit, that's fine with
119 >> me. We're over here having fun.
120 >>
123 RH has burned alot of people's trust. Some devs probably want nothing
124 to do with them.
126 >> Also I find it amusing when people say that Gentoo exists for the
127 >> users. I think that is wrong. Gentoo exists for the *developers*.
128 >> It's our playground, and it's the reason we use a live tree rather
129 >> than switching to an actually sane approach. The users are cool
130 >> because they point out bugs, help solve problems on bugzilla, suggest
131 >> enhancements, provide patches, and notify us of package updates.
132 >> Sometimes they become developers. But the truth is that Gentoo sees
133 >> improvement and maintenance in the areas that appeal to the
134 >> developers. And that is why Gentoo exists for the developers first,
135 >> the users second.
136 >>
138 Thats part of the reason that I'm a developer - because I like interacting
139 with the dev community here. But, the users have their own role and
140 the above could be taken the wrong way.
142 >> Regards,
143 >> Aron
145 MattM
147 --
148 gentoo-dev@g.o mailing list


Subject Author
Re: Fw: [gentoo-dev] where goes Gentoo? "M. Edward (Ed) Borasky" <znmeb@×××××××.net>