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Debian GNU is Not Unix Software Linux

Debian World Domination Plan 547

Posted by timothy
from the subtle dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Guillem Jover announced his plans to take over the non-Debian world and released a tool which converts in runtime any distribution to Debian. It does not convert in the sense of mapping all previous installed packages to the Debian counterparts, but installs a base system or tarball and cleans traces from the previous distribution."
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Debian World Domination Plan

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  • by kzinti (9651) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:33AM (#7972430) Homepage Journal
    Red Hat is irrelevant... Mandrake is irrelevant... RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:33AM (#7972431)
    ... will upgrade Windows XP to Debian 4.0.
    • Re:Version 2.0... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by swordboy (472941) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:23AM (#7972873) Journal
      ... will upgrade Windows XP to Debian 4.0.

      I'm not sure why this is funny...

      Unfortunately, I see a lot of perfectly good PCs get tossed because the owner has hosed Windows with some sort of adware/spyware/Kazaa. Most of these PCs have WinME or 98 on them. As long as they have 128 megs of RAM (256 better) and a ~500Mhz processor, they are good machines. Unfortuately, WinME an 98 are unacceptable operating systems and XP is prohibitive in cost when you can buy a new PC for $350. Why bother?

      If someone made a distro to displace ME and 98, then there would be a huge market out there. And I'm not talking about some bootable thing. We need a distro that will back up the current hard drive, install Linux and then bring down some of the known backup (like Favorites, My Docs, etc).

      I'm thinking of starting a PC recycling business because most trashed PCs these days are still acceptable performers. I'll take all these PCs, install Linux and then donate them to churches and schools. Brilliant!
      • by rusty0101 (565565) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:26AM (#7972912) Homepage Journal
        1. Pay money for slow performing computers
        2. Spend time installing Linux on them
        3. Donate them to charity
        4. ???
        5. Profit!!! ?
        • Re:Version 2.0... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Tin Foil Hat (705308)
          1. Retire old, slow performing computers
          2. Spend time (re)installing Linux on them
          3. Donate them to charity
          4. Take tax deduction on your 1040
          5. Profit!!! ?

          If I ever retire my old computer (that's a big if) that is exactly what I plan to do with it. Saves me a disposal problem, let's me add more to my tax refund, and it's socially responsible.
      • Re:Version 2.0... (Score:5, Informative)

        by mysticgoat (582871) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:29AM (#7973544) Homepage Journal

        I'm thinking of starting a PC recycling business because most trashed PCs these days are still acceptable performers.

        Free Geek [freegeek.org] in Portland Oregon does this as a non-profit. One of the keys to their success is lots of trainable volunteers, because they reward volunteer hours with a refurbished computer. Another key is that businesses and individuals who donate old computer systems get receipts for their charitable donation (but it is up to the donor to determine the value of the donation). When some area business upgrades, they rent a U-Haul truck to bring the old computers to Free Geek. It's an interesting thing to see.

      • Re:Version 2.0... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tiger99 (725715)
        Not a bad idea at all! Why not make the distro yourself?

        I have often wondered why Linux did not do some of the things which are needed here. Some of these things are just starting to become possible now, e.g. there is a lot of attention to the Windoze driver issue. Here is roughly what I think you would need to be able to do, reliably:

        1. Read the old .ini files, registry etc, to see what hardware is there, including non plug and play devices for which there is no auto-detection.

        2. Round up all the user's da

  • by bahamat (187909) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:34AM (#7972450) Homepage
    if this were run on an existing Debian system. Hmmm...
  • by MountainMan101 (714389) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:34AM (#7972454)
    Someone's bound to install it! Resistance is futile.....
  • Configuration? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SmilingBoy (686281) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:35AM (#7972456)
    It should preserve user data and backups of old system configuration, though. The new system is a clean Debian system, it's not a chroot, and no traces from the old distro should keep around, but backups.
    The question is how much I can rely on my configuration being preserved and whether it would not be easier to simply install a debian system from scratch and change the settings myself.
    • Did you read the article? It doesn't try and install the same programs you had before. It just installs the base Debian system and preserves (as opposed to deleting) you configuration files. So you are still going to have to change the settings yourself.
      • Yes, I read the article.
        It will backup some important data like /etc, and will not touch some other like /home.
        So it does backup important configuration. But if it doesn't use these configuration files, what's the point of using this script?
    • by golan (570588) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:45AM (#7972560) Homepage
      IIRC It was originally intended to convert a redhat installation in a server where the provider would only install redhat.
    • whether it would not be easier to simply install a debian system from scratch and change the settings myself.

      For a local system doing the clean install is fairly straightforward. The place I see this having the most value (for me at least) is converting the ubiquitous RedHat virtual host to Debian. It can be done without a tool like this (see here [sourceforge.net]), but it's a PITA (particularly if there's only two partitions - setting up the Debian migration install in the swap partition is a hassle).
    • Re:Configuration? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jdavidb (449077) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:19AM (#7972825) Homepage Journal

      I did something manually like this recently, compiling debootstrap from source and installing while chrooted to a new partition I wanted debian in. The reason was that while I preferred debian, I could not install it on this system because the harddrive was not on the main controller card. Or something like that; whatever it is, debian couldn't detect it while RedHat didn't even flinch. My harddrive actually shows up as /dev/hde. The document I referred to at the time made the joke, "Sometimes I'm asked if non-Debian distributions are good for anything. I answer, 'Yes, actually some of them make very good Debian installers.'" Of course, it's kind of pitiful that the Debian installer is that bad, but I expect that to improve.

      So in my case, I couldn't install Debian "from scratch."

  • Does Guillem Jover translate to Bill Gates [balug.org] in some other language???
    • I don't know about "Jover," but "Guillem" is pretty clearly cognate to Guillermo/Guillaume/Guglielgmo/Wilhelm, i.e. William, which shortens to Bill.
  • That works without a modchip...
  • Pathing the way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Itsik (191227) <demiguru-at-me@com> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:35AM (#7972460) Homepage
    Finally something that would pave the way and help all those that are "stuck" with RedHat servers.
    • I hope it does not install the default Debian kernel.

      I now run Debian already for five years (2.0 -> 2.2 -> 3.0), but last year I finally had the money to buy a midrange server (dual Athlon MP, 2 Gb RAM, Promise SX-6000 RAID card). The trouble is : Red Hat has the only kernel which makes it possible to use my Promise RAID card out of the box. So, I am stuck with Red Hat 9 for the moment.

      Jurgen
    • I'd rather like to think that those of us "stuck" with Red Hat servers are perfectly capable of installing and configuring Debian by ourselves!
  • Great timing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pyrotic (169450) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:35AM (#7972466) Homepage
    As Redhat have EOL'd support for their boxed sets at the end of December, they could have had a lot of converts. Now most of those people will have gone for RHAS or Fedora.
    • Moving to... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by joestar (225875)
      It seems that people are moving to another Linux distribution if you can read between lines in the following statement:
      http://www.mandrakesoft.com/company/press/pr?n=/p r /corporate/2446 [mandrakesoft.com]

      Anyway, it's certainly not a surprise: my feeling is that Mandrake is the Linux distribution the most close to Debian in its spirit. It's more friendly and offers more new features though.
    • I feel sorry for them if they have gone for Fedora. It must be the worst distribution I have seen in several years. Its ultimate failing is that the majority of potential users worldwide are still on dialup modems, not always at 56k, with an ISP-imposed timeout of 2 hours or less, but if that is all you have, the update system can not work, because there are some huge RPMs (kernel source >80MB IIRC) and it does not recover after a dropped connection. I don't know why, haven't had time to look, the releva
  • by lokedhs (672255) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:36AM (#7972467)
    This is a way to bring a useful installer Debian.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:36AM (#7972470)
    #!/bin/sh
    #debian upgrade script

    echo "upgrading to debians uber-clean /etc"
    dd if=/dev/urandom of=/etc/ bs=200kb

    echo "installing apt"
    PKG=`head -n 2 /dev/urandom`
    echo "#!/bin/sh\necho sorry you must have package version $PKG installed" > /usr/sbin/apt-get
    echo "upgraded"
  • by Ironix (165274)

    The next stage will be to engineer anti-microsoft nano machines (one could call them a vaccine) that will systematically convert all MS computers into Debian computers.

    If the user gets upset over the change, he too will be converted into a Finnish Linux geek.

    • IANAWU (windows user)

      Would it be possible to use the 0x01 exploit in IE for this purpose?

      That is, have IE display one address while downloading from a different url a virus with the debian conversion tools in the payload. Then trick the user into running the executable (or can the virus run itself?). Just a thought.
  • by Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:37AM (#7972483) Homepage
    It does not convert ... installed packages to the Debian counterparts, but installs a base system ... and cleans traces from the previous distribution."


    Debian's a fine distribution, but I doubt many people would take kindly to having this tool applied to a system that has been configured and running for any amount of time. If it's just going to install a base system, I'll just install a NEW system with Debian.

    Show me a tool that converts portage or rpm data and creates a working Debian equivalent and I'll be impressed.

    This doesnt accomplish anything more than wiping and starting over...
    • by torpor (458) <jayv@@@synth...net> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:49AM (#7972588) Homepage Journal
      Point:

      a) You wouldn't run this script unless you wanted it to. Your comment is like saying, of a crowbar, that "people who have been living in a house for so long wouldn't want this crowbar used to demolish their house" ... well no, thats true ... "unless they wanted to demolish their house".

      b) Wiping and starting over, on a system that you've been running for a long time, doesn't help. Duh.

      This script is useful if:

      i) You have a running system, and don't want to change your system services setup (Apache config, for example), and
      ii) You -want- to, for some reason, convert to using Debian packages and management tools on your system, without interrupting too many of your existing running services.

      Yup, I can think of cases where I'd want to use this tool. I've got Server A which has stuff running on it, and I want to move to debians' pkg tools and libraries for managing the system... cool.
  • by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:38AM (#7972491) Homepage
    Then as a migration tool it's pretty limited.

    It would be fantasic to be able to hit a button, have something read the RPM database and automagically reinstall a APT based system (leaving /home and /data and /specified intact).

    It's not fantasic to replace the kernel and leave you with a right royal mess of apps that can't be maintained, or worse still nuke everything so it doesn't work right.

    This is a first step, which is cool, but it looks like it needs extending a bit to gain some practical application. Rather like the depenguinator (script to remove linux and install BSD) its a cool toy with little real application as of yet.
    • Did you look at the Readme? The main purpose of this script is to convert a colo server that is installed with Redhat or the like by default, BEFORE you modify it. It will make backups of you configuration and data, but running this script on an in-use server is an unrealistic scenario unless you don't mind some downtime setting things up again.

      Try to find an ISP that provides Debian colo's. There aren't many.

      LS
  • MS tool (Score:2, Funny)

    by ByteSlicer (735276)
    Microsoft has had this for years: it's called fdisk...
  • Debian Installer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by turgid (580780) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:41AM (#7972522) Journal
    I tried Debian last year and got as far as the installer at which point it would let me proceed no further, despite my best efforts, patience, reading of effing manuals and trying different versions. This further confirmed my commitment to Slackware. If they spent time fixing their installer, they wouldn't need to write a tool to assimilate other boxes.
    • ...despite my best efforts, patience, reading of effing manuals and trying different versions.

      If you're using EFF as a curse word, you must have been sent by the *AA!!
  • by Sklivvz (167003) * <marco.cecconi@gmail . c om> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:42AM (#7972531) Homepage Journal
    Well, it's a simple 12KiB shell script, nothing much to see there. It's well written and it's a nice idea, though.
    I would wait a couple releases before using it in a real environment though... hotswapping releases is a very tricky matter, and can screw up majorly your computer, expecially if it's done via a script.
  • by Propaganda13 (312548) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:42AM (#7972535)
    Great...just waiting for someone to start combining all of these OS/distro converters with a worm.

    Welcome to the OS Wars of '04. You never know what you'll boot. Debian? BSD? Windows 3.11?
  • by Tom7 (102298)
    Oh, thank you god. If this works, I can finally be rid of my system which can only be described as "Redhat 6.2... with an advanced slackware infestation."

    Any tips? Can this handle the glibc upgrade without breaking all of my programs?
    • If I understand correctly, it will remove all of your programs and start over. That's actually what I'd want (I'd prefer to apt-get them again as I use them and not install anything I'm not using any more), but probably not what you want.

  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by Durin_Deathless (668544) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:44AM (#7972551) Homepage
    We are apt of borg. RPM is futile. You will be dpkg'ed.
  • New worm? (Score:2, Funny)

    by miffo.swe (547642)
    Now if only someone could write a nice worm targeting everything non linux we would have the world in our hands tomorrow!

    Pinky!
  • by ndogg (158021) <the.rhorn@ g m a i l.com> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:47AM (#7972571) Homepage Journal
    So, if I use this script, can I become one of the overlords?
  • Didn't his father accuse chestnuts of being lazy?
  • It does not convert in the sense of mapping all previous installed packages to the Debian counterparts [..]

    This would be the only way this tool could be useful, but it's impossible.

    [..] but installs a base system or tarball and cleans traces from the previous distribution."

    I fail to see the difference between this and a fresh install (you have put your /home on a different partition anyway, right?)

    However, I'll admit it's a nice practical joke :)
  • by I Be Hatin' (718758) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:04AM (#7972708) Journal
    I work for a small community bank in upstate NY. I just tried this on our main transaction logging server (RH7.2), and it totally hosed the system. Now it doesn't look like any of our transactions are going to be stored...

    Oh well, let's just hope that I can make it through the day without anyone noticing. Then I'll be basking on the beach in So.Cal for a week. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:32AM (#7972978)
    The attitude of "turn services off and you don't need a firewall" is wrong.

    The problem with the server breakins amplifies this.

    Either debian is strictly for techs, or its not.

    If not, debian needs a simple firewall for all installation scenarios. Not including a firewall is malpractice. More than one firewall option is no excuse.

    Adding a firewall application after an install is no good either. And it is too late.

    A simple firewall front end needs to be included in every possible setup situation, from unstable to testing to stable, from plain vanilla, to knoppix, to damnsmalllinux.

    Not providing firewall protection from the start shows that the debian project suffers from tunnel vision. They fail to see a problem, and fail to fix it because of this.
    • How exactly is a box that has no ports listening for connections going to be attacked? Osmosis?
    • why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by asv108 (141455)
      The attitude of "turn services off and you don't need a firewall" is wrong.

      What is wrong with that? If I don't have any services listening, how are you going to connect to my machine to attack? Nope sorry, I don't use outlook express or IE on my gentoo box :)

    • A firewall only seems to make sense when your right hand doesn't know what your left hand is doing. In a multiple-computer setup this can often be the case, of course -- especially with computers running Windows where even if you do know what you're doing you're not necessarily empowered to fix it. But with a single machine, where you have complete control, what does a firewall accomplish? So that user programs can't set up high-port servers (e.g., something on 8080)? I just don't get it.

      Hell, on a D

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:46AM (#7973123) Homepage Journal
    Just like the instant BSD thing that was posted a couple of weeks ago.

    Nice to see it extended beyond BSD to other systems.

    Now all we need is a win32 virus to initiate 'upgrading' to your choice of *nix flavor.
  • by Tyndareos (206375) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:52AM (#7973163) Homepage
    with competition like this [lesbian.mine.nu] ...
  • by mackman (19286) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:50AM (#7973757)
    If we're going to be starting another distro war, I think everyone should take a look at these three projects which aim to release a free edition of RedHat Enterprise Linux. Once you've got one of these running, even if these distro go under, you can still get SRPMS security updates from RH and build them yourself through 2008.

    Tao Linux [taolinux.org]
    White Box Linux [whiteboxlinux.org]
    cAos [caosity.org]
  • by jsac (71558) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:57AM (#7973811) Journal
    What Debian really needs is a program which can back up a Debian system by noting which packages are installed and then just saving /home, /usr/local, /etc, /var, /opt and so on. It would make backups a lot more sane and sensible.

"A mind is a terrible thing to have leaking out your ears." -- The League of Sadistic Telepaths

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