• Time: 10:15 - 12:00

  • Name: Managing Derived Distributions

  • Facilitators: Mark Shuttleworth and Alfonso de Cala

  • Description: A discussion of the development and maintenance requirements of derived distributions. The discussion will include an introduction to Ubuntu and the tools being developed to support custom distributions and a road map for release management and maintenance. This session will be of interest to anyone working on a custom or derived distribution.

Managing Derived Distributions

Opening by Carlos from the Catalunya Government. (Generalitat de Catalunya)

  • language issues (Catalan language and culture)
  • free software is a unique opportunity have been

Alfonso and Mark Shuttleworth will be running the session.

Alfonso: we have released the second version of Guadalinux. It has been used in on hundred thousand users in schools, homes and such.

Also offered is technical and non-technical support.

Many distributions have common problems: issues of hardware support, releases, etc.

Distributions each seem to be happening within areas of Spain and there is not always enough contact between different groups. There are often different solutions. It can be hard to find the person who is in charge of a given problem.

It would be great to have a list of the different problems and who is in charge of each one in a given distributions. There needs to be a shared to-do list of what needs to be done that puts different people in charge of different things.

There are so many users that tracking users can be difficult.

Problems we see in open source projects:

  • Bugs
  • Translations
  • Support + Training
  • Hardware
  • Source-code management
  • Package selection
  • Branding
  • Configuration


Any software project has problems with bugs, these are the main issues:

  • Normal user does not know how to send in a bug-report.
  • If it is done through the Distro, the bugs can be stopped at the right level.
  • We should boot-strap the local community, a machine cannot do this
  • Problem with centralization is some person being swamped. We should be efficiently able to send info where it should go.
  • Different use-cases, some Distro's use latest and greatest, some Distro's more conservative. Developers might not always be interested in 'old' bugs, more on the stuff they are working on.
  • Bug-tracking should be synchronized with upstream
  • Problem is always human resources
  • Developers want bug-reports but not 100x the same bug

The discussion trailed of to whether standardization would solve some of these problems.


  • of the base
  • of the user-interface
  • Convergence
  • Differences stimulate, positive competition
  • Configuration-tools should be standardized
  • There should be diversity on one side and infrastructure for a common base on the other
  • To much making things the same has too much leveled the playing field, eg software has been in English too much and too long, now finally other people languages are starting to get involved
  • We want to create a Debian-corporate desktop with a level of support that is at the moment not possible
  • Could LCC solve these problems? It gives a common base between vendors.
    • Have they actually asked oracle?
    • It would be good to get certification easier
    • This offers some sort of guarantee
    • There never has been a real standard like LSB, too much pressure to get away from it.
    • Certify stable, play with Sid, could be a solution
    • should take part in all this.
  • How to avoid bit-rot, minimize wasting developer time?
  • customization and branding has to be built in upstream and can be
    • made parameterized and such. but upstream needs a list of the things that people have changed.
  • Releases give the open-source community something to build on
  • Installer
    • Partitioning -Partition-adviser in Hispalinux, will come in February
  • Common tools, between Distro's
  • Better tools for derived desktop is something Ubuntu is interested in


  • We need to both support diversity and infrastructure and standards.
  • mdz: The role that certification can be useful but the better idea may

be to work toward standards as opposed to sharing the same source code.

  • sabdfl: there has never been a success standard along the lines of the

ones you want because of the pressure to innovate and the pressures of a competitive marketplace.

Key point: Would you be interested in collaborating side-ways as well? Yes, better then only upstream. But only if we had a tool.

Ubuntu has worked on how to keep track of what bugs are ours, which are upstream.

Malone is a new tool that helps to find bugs from derivatives and upstream. If one person solves a bug all other should be able to find it. A tool that unites bugzillas of many distributions together. This is a developer tool, not an end-user tech-support tool


We have a new tool to collaborate in translation as well. Rosetta is a new tool for documenting POT-files through the web.

We will go into this after lunch, see SupportingTranslations


Problems with user-support between distributions / meta-Distro's

  • hierarchies of support
  • Build infrastructure? How?
  • Best if user files bugs to 'his' Distro, the Distro should push the bug up
  • Bugs should be centralized -> see Malone under the bugs-section

MataroSessionsWorkshops/ManagingDerivedDistros (last edited 2008-08-06 16:41:31 by localhost)