Friday, 29 October 2010


I've been a bit concerned about Canonical's announcement that it was moving to Wayland. Nursing machines through the pulse-audio adoption was hard - particularly for multi-channel audio. I'm sure it'll be fine in the end, it's the interim that worries me.

We had an engineer from IBM visit us to install some Websphere technologies - he was a SuSE guy. I've never met someone who was serious about SuSE - I cut my teeth on SuSE back around '98 - before the Novell days. Ironically, I was looking after a few Novell Netware boxes at the time - so Novell aren't an evil firm for me - just serious engineers.

So I've been doing the rounds again - looking for a distro to base my development work on. Maybe more importantly, something that I can deploy with customers.

I suppose what I'm after is something as reliable as RedHat, but not quite so out of date in terms of graphics. I want more conservatism than Ubuntu, but not too the point that I've got to compile my whole development stack - which is beginning to teater:

For audio I need:
  • Jack + FFado
  • CLAM
For visual stuff I need:
  • Blender3D
  • Panda3D (with threading enabled)
  • Mplayer
  • OpenSceneGraph
  • VTK
  • VP8 and DNxHD codecs and support for VDPAU
I have to compile Panda3D to enable a more sophisticated threading model. With Ubuntu I was able to create my own .deb, which could then be installed on other machines in the cluster - but that's down the Panda3d source.

Ubuntu is quite a maligned distribution - people think of it as a pretty Debian, used mainly by people new to Linux. I know a lot of people however, who know their way around many distributions, who use Ubuntu as a way to simplify their administration of Linux, leaving them more time for actual development.

I've taken a look at Fedora over the years - but it seems even more bleeding edge and brittle than Ubuntu. Debian and RedHat(CentOS) for different reasons are to much like hard work to install and maintain the software I need. It also looks like RedHat/Fedora are heading for Wayland too. Just of badness a gave Gentoo(Sabayon) a go - I used to be a die-hard Gentoo user.

The surprise was OpenSuSE. It feels like a serious, rpm based Ubuntu - all my software was available in the repos. Customers who want support can look at SLES (although I'm sure Ubuntu would provide similar levels of support).

So, all these changes aren't meant to hit till the latter part of next year - but I'm ready...