No beta testing for Slackware, how come ?

No beta testing for Slackware, how come ?

Post by Joel Goldberge » Sat, 19 Oct 1996 04:00:00



The release of Slackware 96(tm) and the flood of problems that appeared in
it have underscored a significant difference between it and the other Linux
Distributions.

This most recent version was an extreme case.  In case no one noticed, the
majority of the files in the distribution are dated late June and early
July.  This suggests that Patrick had completed the distribution around
that time, in fact the ChangeLog states the "release" date as 3 July.  In
their effort to be first to market, Walnut Creek kept it off the net until
early August.  Unfortunately this meant that no one had an opportunity to
test it at all until Walnut Creek started shipping CD's and it was finally
released to the world.  

The number of fixes recorded in the changelog suggests it was "not quite
ready" for release.  Both Red Hat and Debian avoid these problems by making
a development or beta version available while they still support (and often
strongly recommend) a stable version.

The references that have appeared recently to "Slackware Labs" suggest that
there is now a more formal structure surrounding the development of
Slackware than used to be the case when it was just Patrick slaving over
each release.  If that is the case, isn't it reasonable to expect a more
formal system of testing, or a pre-release program that would let the "net"
do the testing ?

As a publisher of Linux CD's (who offer support) we are obviously directly
affected by the problems that appear in all of the distributions that we
include on our discs.  We appreciate the efforts of both Debian and Red Hat
to address these issues and have good relationships with both groups.  The
folks at Red Hat are very helpful to us and we always check with them prior
to release to insure that we include only the distributions they approve.
Due to Patrick's affiliation with a competing publisher it is difficult for
us to maintain the same kind of relationship with him.  Whether Pat's
relationship is good or bad for Slackware would seem to be an open topic at
this point.

--
Joel Goldberger                 Phone: 520-526-9565
InfoMagic, Inc.                 FAX:   520-526-9573

All referenced trademarks are the property of their respective owners and
their use is hereby acknowledged.

 
 
 

No beta testing for Slackware, how come ?

Post by Jeremy Mathe » Sun, 20 Oct 1996 04:00:00




>The release of Slackware 96(tm) and the flood of problems that appeared in
>it have underscored a significant difference between it and the other Linux
>Distributions.

>This most recent version was an extreme case.  In case no one noticed, the
>majority of the files in the distribution are dated late June and early
>July.  This suggests that Patrick had completed the distribution around
>that time, in fact the ChangeLog states the "release" date as 3 July.  In
>their effort to be first to market, Walnut Creek kept it off the net until
>early August.  Unfortunately this meant that no one had an opportunity to
>test it at all until Walnut Creek started shipping CD's and it was finally
>released to the world.  

(Trimmed for space reasons only)

I think we have to accept that, as has already happened to the rest of
the computer industry, Linux has entered the junkware stage.  This is
inevitable once you let the general public in.  Admittedly, Linux doesn't
have anything approaching the mass market penetration that names like
Microsoft and Packard Bell enjoy, but nevertheless, it is now accessible to
the second tier and making inroads on the third.  The point is that the mass
public doesn't know anything about what they are buying, so naturally the
manufactures cut corners (in fact, they have no choice in the matter, since
their competitors are doing it, so they have to do it as well, or someone
else will eat their lunch).

This is clearly happening in the hardware arena (best example is the
so-called "win modems") - computers being made today aren't designed to last
more than a year or two (at which point, everyone knows, they will be
obsolete).  Laptops, in partcular, are garbage - basically designed as
throwaways.

And, now consider the name "Slackware".  Years back, this was cute among
hackers, who understood the joke, but to the general public, what else can
this mean besides "cheap/scuzzy merchandise"?  I think it is understandable
that they are living up to expectations (in this "post-hacker" world).

************************************************************************
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like giving a fish a bath.


          hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, every time he posts -
************************************************************************
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No beta testing for Slackware, how come ?

Post by Pohl Longsin » Sun, 20 Oct 1996 04:00:00




> >The release of Slackware 96(tm) and the flood of problems that
> >appeared in it have underscored a significant difference between
> >it and the other Linux distributions.

> >...In their effort to be first to market, Walnut Creek kept it
> >off the net until early August.  Unfortunately this meant that
> >no one had an opportunity to test it at all until Walnut Creek
> >started shipping CD's and it was finally released to the world.
> I think we have to accept that, as has already happened to the
> rest of the computer industry, Linux has entered the junkware stage.
> This is inevitable once you let the general public in.

Ouch.  I fear you may be right, but some of the blame has to fall
on the traditional Linux community.  Linus stated very clearly that
he released kernel 2.0.0 just because there were not enough people
testing the 1.3.x kernels.

Once he changed the version to a nice, round number, more people started
using it, and more problems were therefore discovered.  It appears
that 2.0.23 should work for as broad a spectrum of machines as 1.2.13
did.

I hope that the Linux users out there who consider themselves to not
be one of the masses that have been let into the Linux community
remember this when the 2.1.x tree needs to be broadly tested.

I'm not speaking from a soapbox, because I also shirked my duties
to the Linux community by waiting for 2.0.0.  We should spank
ourselves before we start worrying about the detrimental effects
of letting the "general public" in.

[spanks self]

--

http://www.veryComputer.com/; | in it, doesn't go away."  -- Philip K.*
------------------------+-----------------------------------------------
Linux | NeXT | Be | Java| Friends don't let friends use windoze.

 
 
 

No beta testing for Slackware, how come ?

Post by Nick Kralevi » Mon, 21 Oct 1996 04:00:00




Quote:>Ouch.  I fear you may be right, but some of the blame has to fall
>on the traditional Linux community.  Linus stated very clearly that
>he released kernel 2.0.0 just because there were not enough people
>testing the 1.3.x kernels.

This isn't fair.  Near the time of 1.1.85, Linus posted a message to
comp.os.linux.announce asking people to start testing the code in
preparation for 1.2.0.  People did that, and they started finding bugs
in the 1.1.* code.  There was no announcement regarding 2.0.0, and a lot of
us (myself included) didn't know when 2.0.* was going to be released.

Quote:>I hope that the Linux users out there who consider themselves to not
>be one of the masses that have been let into the Linux community
>remember this when the 2.1.x tree needs to be broadly tested.

Part of the problem is that most of the "real" discussion takes place
on the mailing lists.  I tried subscribing to the lists, but there were
too many messages, and I couldn't keep up with the messages.

Take care,
-- Nick Kralevich

 
 
 

No beta testing for Slackware, how come ?

Post by Nick Kralevi » Mon, 21 Oct 1996 04:00:00




>The release of Slackware 96(tm) and the flood of problems that appeared in
>it have underscored a significant difference between it and the other Linux
>Distributions.

[lots deleted]

I think most of what you said is valid.  And I think the solution
is simple.  Just don't purchase Walnut Creek CD-ROMs and Slackware
distributions until they have improved their quality control.

There are lots of other fine Linux distributions, such as RedHat and
Debian, and my suggestion is that we, as consumers of CD-ROMs, purchase
from these other quality distributions.

I personally have been recommending to my friends that they get Redhat,
because I've had good experiences with it.  I don't want my friends
first introduction to Linux to be filled with problems, as it might
be if they choose slackware.

Take care,
-- Nick Kralevich

 
 
 

No beta testing for Slackware, how come ?

Post by J.H.M.Dass » Tue, 22 Oct 1996 04:00:00






>> >The release of Slackware 96(tm) and the flood of problems that
>> >appeared in it have underscored a significant difference between
>> >it and the other Linux distributions.
>> I think we have to accept that, as has already happened to the
>> rest of the computer industry, Linux has entered the junkware stage.
>> This is inevitable once you let the general public in.

>Ouch.  I fear you may be right, but some of the blame has to fall
>on the traditional Linux community.  Linus stated very clearly that
>he released kernel 2.0.0 just because there were not enough people
>testing the 1.3.x kernels.

AFAICT, most of the problems with the new Slackware aren't 2.0-related.
(I do support widespread testing of 2.1 of course, as long as people
know what the consequences can be).

IMHO, the basic problem with SLS and Slackware has been analyzed
perfectly in the Debian Manifesto (ftp://ftp.debian.org/doc/debian_manifesto),
namely that distributions are too complexed to be maintained by single
individuals, and that a successful distribution must be based on a group
of developers (who can criticize eachother), which maintains strong
ties to its user community.

Currently, I know of two distributions that are developed by a group:
- Debian GNU/Linux, by 100+ volunteers
- Red Hat Commercial Linux, by a small group of fulltime developers.

Ray
--
LEADERSHIP  A form of self-preservation exhibited by people with auto-
destructive imaginations in order to ensure that when it comes to the crunch
it'll be someone else's bones which go crack and not their own.      
- The Hipcrime Vocab by Chad C. Mulligan    

 
 
 

No beta testing for Slackware, how come ?

Post by Nightblad » Wed, 23 Oct 1996 04:00:00





> > >The release of Slackware 96(tm) and the flood of problems that
> > >appeared in it have underscored a significant difference between
> > >it and the other Linux distributions.

Like what problems?  The only problem I've ever had with Slackware 96 is
that some copies forget to make /dev/console, which can be fixed with
just two commands:

cd /dev
./MAKEDEV console

If you'll look at the Simplefixes for Slackware 96 page, you can see that
there are only a few bugs in it...and only one of them (what I mentioned
above) is worth commenting on.

-matt

http://www.svs.com/users/mcps/