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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Please recommend a simple open source Unix for arch

From: Jan-Benedict Glaw
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Please recommend a simple open source Unix for arch
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 2004 18:58:40 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.6+20040907i

On Sun, 2004-11-21 12:43:04 -0500, Andrew Wilcox <address@hidden>
wrote in message <address@hidden>:
> I'm looking for a suggestion for a simple, modular, open source Unix
> to run arch on.  With no extra cruft, packages, install scripts, or
> "helpful" user interfaces.


> Few months ago I installed arch for the first time, took a used
> computer and installed a fresh version of Debian to run it on.  Why
> Debian?  No particular reason, it seemed to be a distribution strongly
> in the spirit of open source volunteerism.  Anyway, I found the Debian
> install painful for a programmer such as myself... too many layers of
> "helpful" user interface (I'd rather just edit the config file, thank
> you very much), backports needed, Debian complaining I needed
> something when I didn't or vis. versa... I ended up wasting my time
> debugging the Debian install scripts.

As always, you'd better know _how_ to work with (and not against) your
system. Either accept the arch/tla .deb that comes with the
distribution, or don't install it.

Of course, you can install arch from sources...

> So I'm looking for a simplier, more old-fashioned Unix variant,
> something where if I want to install something I say "tar xfz foo.tgz;
> ./configure; make".  And if I configure something, I do it directly
> rather than run some helpful script that second-guesses me.

"Old-fashioned?" Well, the autoconf/automake stuff isn't all that old.
Much more, it's a quite new thing. In the early days, you had several
Makefiles for different environments. Additional to that, you had to
edit the Makefiles (-D'efine some values) and possibly also alter some
header files... Of course, there weren't any build dependancies
mentioned (properly), so compiling source packages was at trial and

I for one like Debian's packaging system a lot, as well as the new
autoconf stuff. It actually helps to not suffer from all that.

> As I write this, I imagine someone is going to say, "but you can 'tar
> configure make' on Debian too", and that's true.  But why carry around
> that bloat (helpful or not) if I'm not using it?  Frankly, I find
> having extra stuff around makes tracking down problems harder, because
> it multiplies the possibilities of what could have gone wrong.

I don't understand you there... Most of the users like having a way to
bring their system up-to-date, to fix security flaws, ...   Only
packaged software (be it prepared sources or binary packages) will help
you out, or you've to do it all manually (Linux From Scratch comes to

While this can be managed for a single box, don't try this if you're
working with several thousands of computers...

> I think I remember Tom saying sometime that he liked FreeBSD.  Or was
> it OpenBSD?  Anyway, that's what I'm looking for, a suggestion for a
> simple, modular open source Unix to run arch on.

Even those bring the build stuff with them, as does Debian. Honestly, I
cannot really follow your complains...


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