What is SolydXK?

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Zill
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What is SolydXK?

Postby Zill » 05 Sep 2015 16:08

Further to the thread entitled "Keeping LibreOffice updated", it seems there are some different views about exactly what SolydXK is and the differences between the editions.

If we accept the fact that two desktop environments (KDE and XFCE) and two architectures are supported (32 and 64 bit) then, IMO, two distinct editions of SolydXK remain; (1) The "official" main edition and (2) The Enthusiasts Edition (EE).

Both SolydXK editions are based on Debian releases but, while the main edition is based on Debian Stable, the EE is based on Debian Testing.

Differences between these two Debian releases are detailed in Debian documentation but this Wikipedia article summarises as follows:
Stable is the current release and targets stable and well-tested software needs. Stable is made by freezing Testing for a few months where bugs are fixed and packages with too many bugs are removed; then the resulting system is released as Stable. It is updated only if major security or usability fixes are incorporated. This branch has an optional backports service that provides more recent versions of some software.
Testing is the preview branch that will eventually become the next major release. The packages included in this branch have had some testing in Unstable but they may not be fit for release yet. It contains newer packages than Stable but older than Unstable. This branch is updated continually until it is frozen.
If SolydXK is to continue with its Debian base then, I suggest, it should basically follow a similar philosophy in that SolydXK EE should be the testing ground for the next main SolydXK release.

IMO, SolydXK users fall into three different groups:
  1. Small office, home office (SOHO)
  2. Home users with one computer
  3. Home users with multiple computers
I suggest that group one and two cannot afford any downtime and so primarily want a distro that works reliably and consistently and are, therefore, best suited to the SolydXK main edition.

I suggest that the third user group includes many "hobbyists" who are not reliant on the reliability of any given machine and so may prefer the challenge of running SolydXK EE.

It is therefore reasonable, IMO, that a user choosing to run the SolydXK main edition should accept the limitation that it is, primarily, a fixed release that will not change in functionality until the next release. Having said that, some packages can still be upgraded via backports if absolutely essential - but this is at the risk of degrading the reliability of the release.

OTOH, a user choosing to run SolydXK EE should accept that this is a rolling release that provides the benefit of newer packages but with the caveat that it is liable to breakage and will therefore never be as reliable as the SolydXK main edition.

My view is that these two editions of SolydXK cater adequately to the very different needs of the three user groups listed above.

My concern is that some users appear to want to merge the two editions together, resulting in some kind of hybrid stable/testing release that would, in the end, please no-one.

So, over to the community to tell us what you really expect SolydXK to be...

g2sws
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby g2sws » 06 Sep 2015 02:40

I enjoy the ee edition. And I respect someone who does not. At times I will have questions and I am sure there will be many who will respond to help me. I think the decision to make a rock stable OS was a great decision. But lets not forget someone had to work to get it that way. I personally learn more by working with a less stable OS and enjoy it. But totally understand that is not everyone’s cup of tea.

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zmor
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby zmor » 06 Sep 2015 08:42

Hi,
the strategy of SolydXK is clear for me, stable version for people who would like to avoid (or minimize) problems with their OS (like me, you can describe me as SOHO ) and EE (with the newest packages) for the others. I don't see reasons to change this. I'm not Linux expert, but I suspect that maintenance of some kind hybrid needs more time and resources, we know that SoldyXK is run not by army of dev but by a few (and it means quality not quantity ;) )
So, MPOV is keep it as it is :)
best regards
zmor

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belze
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby belze » 06 Sep 2015 10:20

i use and i love EE. I want a stable system and i had a stable one using sid (sidux-aptosid-siduction) for years. I just got less time do admin and testing was reasonable fresh to me when i discovered solyd.
Things changed and solyd is not based on testing anymore. That's fine, as we have EE.
I agree with Zill:
1t rule: Stable should be rock stable.
2nd rule:FF and TB are extra packages not in main debian tree. This was the case with spotify (we shoud investigate that too again!) and can be for other popular software not in debian because of legal issues and not about stability. All that said, remember 1st rule.
3rd rule: EE should be for make easier to test next version of stable, as it is in debian (i think that if you have the same workflow of debian, more devs are willing to help...maybe...). Changes you make now in EE will tomorrow be in Stable.

Should you enable stable-backports? mmm had question. I never used stable on a desktop (just server) so i don't know if they're safe. I'll let this answer to more expert users.

Zill, just one question: solyd-related-packages are not debian standard packages, even if we have them in Stable: does this mean we have a frankendebian by design? If you want a pure debian, well, go debian.
Another question: RIght now the workflow is something like: nightly->Stable with no EE involved at all...am i right?

Keep discussions alive with no hurt for other users! :clap: discussing this way make us stronger!
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xendistar
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby xendistar » 06 Sep 2015 11:24

I moved to using Debian (and Debian based distro's) about 12 years ago. About 6 months after starting with Debian I moved from stable to testing, I had come from Suse which had all the new stuff available but Debian Stable was (to me) old and boring so I moved up to testing and have been happy with that. I can say during all that time I have only had 2 occasions where testing screwed up and I had to wait for new updates to correct the situation but it never meant I was unable to use my PC at all. I currently run the EE edition of SolydX 64bit and I am happy with it (thanks Grizzler and team :clap: )

I agree with Zill with his types of users and guess that I would be type 3, although I am more user than expert. I always thought that the EE edition was the test bed for stable Solyd just built and maintained by the forum community rather Schoejle (although I guess he does have a hand in it along the way), if it is not then I have viewed it wrongly.

I don't know enough about the implications of backports so I won't comment but I know I have used them and they have not caused me an issue (or at least not problems that I was aware off).

I am happy with the current setup (at least I am happy with my understanding of it), if I was to wish for a change within Solyd then it would be to move to the testing branch (rather than stable) or to bring the EE edition back as a full Solyd (Schoejle) release, but I under stand the work commitment to do that and why it has become a community edition.

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Zill
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby Zill » 06 Sep 2015 11:27

belze wrote:... Should you enable stable-backports? mmm had question. I never used stable on a desktop (just server) so i don't know if they're safe. I'll let this answer to more expert users.

Zill, just one question: solyd-related-packages are not debian standard packages, even if we have them in Stable: does this mean we have a frankendebian by design? If you want a pure debian, well, go debian.
Another question: RIght now the workflow is something like: nightly->Stable with no EE involved at all...am i right?
Regarding backports, IMO, these should be available to SolydXK users but backported packages should not be installed by default. This is the current situation as the backports repo is included in the sources.list but it is up to each user to install a backported package if they wish to do so. Backported packages do carry a risk of breakage and so I believe this is the correct approach.

I suggest Schoelje and the rest of the development team are better suited to answering your other two questions but my understanding is that the SolydXK-specific packages are additional to Debian packages, rather than replacing any of them. This is where the EE can be used to good effect IMO - by thoroughly testing SolydXK packages/scripts before including them in the main edition.

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Arjen Balfoort
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 06 Sep 2015 15:21

Indeed, the SolydXK packages, including FireFox and Thunderbird, are not included in the Debian repository. Hence, they do not replace any Debian packages. They merely complement what I think is missing in the Debian repository or are specific to SolydXK processes (think about the Update Manager which would not work on another distribution).

You are right about the workflow: nightly to stable (twice a year). The EEs do have their own troubles and depending on whether or not a workable ISO can be produced Grizzler will build those ISOs. The target is to at least build those ISOs when the official ISOs are released but that all depends on the state of Debian testing at that moment.

I wholeheartedly agree with Zill regarding the use of backported packages in the official releases. Remember that SolydXK aims to be an alternative for medium and small sized businesses and home users alike. Especially in a professional environment there is a greater need for stability and security than the last features of a software package. As a compromise I added the possibility to install the backported LibreOffice in the Welcome Screen, accompanied with a warning for the use of backports. Thus leaving the decision to the user and not the maintainer.


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ilu
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby ilu » 08 Sep 2015 13:36

Originally Solyd was a semi-rolling release based on testing and that was the reason I chose it. If I had wanted debian stable I would have taken debian stable.
But, since the update-packs are gone (for understandable reasons) I can't dare to take the EE for the system I rely on. So I live with stable which is no problem at the moment but I don't really feel comfortable looking at 2 years without feature updates.

1. I think a lot of users have the same doubts. If we look at forum posts made by new users we regularly see that they still expect Solyd to be a rolling release so obviously Solyd has gained a certain reputation for rolling testing AND being stable - which it was untill the change. So I don't think it is a good idea to waste this reputation by saying, we are based on stable and that's it. Zill regularly does this whenever a naive new user starts enquiring about updates and I'm always feeling a bit depressed whenever I read it. He squashes (right word?) peoples hopes quite effectively (no offense please Zill).

Zill is only half right because Solyd already caters for most peoples needs in regularly updating FF and flash. Now there's a solution for LO too. I think our answers to those new users posts should be a bit more encouraging along the lines of "Solyd is based on stable but we still have ways of updating - you will soon see that Solyd meets your needs" (silently implying "because you will soon see that in most cases you don't need the new and shiny stuff anyway" :P ).

2. For me personally I would like to have a way to get the best of both worlds. I agree with Zill that stability and security of the default installation should be the first priority. We already have security updates from debian (incl. chromium) and FF/TB updates from schoelje. But updates, even only for features, are vital for everything connecting to the internet, phone software for example or alternate browsers. There I would like to have additional possibilities, not by default but by choice. If the software is in jessie backports, no problem, go there. But what if it isn't?

Example: I use qupzilla browser and jitsi phone app. Both are not in backports. So if I want newest versions, I have to install manually - I really don't like that. But I have the newest jitsi (which has just reached sid in a much older version) on SolydX and I know it works. I know others do the same with other apps. Everybody could profit from that knowledge if we had a sort of own community backports repo where we can put software we tested on our systems - with a strong "use at your own risk if you really really need it" disclaimer of course. Would that technically work? Or be too time consuming?

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belze
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby belze » 08 Sep 2015 14:11

ilu wrote:[...]Everybody could profit from that knowledge if we had a sort of own community backports repo where we can put software we tested on our systems - with a strong "use at your own risk if you really really need it" disclaimer of course. Would that technically work? Or be too time consuming?
If i was responsible of solydxk i'd never add such software anywhere in my official release.
When - and if - debian will have ppa-alike feature you'll be able to do something similar with less effort than creating a real apt repository (this can be the case anyway: a community driven apt repository outside of official solyxk development just to share software between users. I'd never add that source anyway).
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ilu
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby ilu » 08 Sep 2015 15:07

You are right, a ppa-like system would be a better solution. For the rest I think you talk about security concerns. But I don't understand why you trust schoelje with ff/tb but not with other things?
Of course I didn't mean that users upload on their own, just that they make proposals. I meant some script driven process like with ff/tb. And if things are in testing/sid anyway - whats the harm (except risking a frankenstein system, see disclaimer).
But maybe I'm not seeing the whole picture here?

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belze
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby belze » 08 Sep 2015 15:21

yes security is the problem here. Not faith, just security. I trust our distro maintainers because I know they care about security.
I can see they know how to handle security problems (do you remember grizzler's post about security packages to pull in very LITTLE TIME from testing? this is just an example), they proved they can guarantee an excellent QA. They rely on debian stable nowadays, this is indeed a good starting point ;)
I think Solydxk do not need any additional package. An user willing a rock solid distro wants a rock Solyxd distro, that's it.
If you like me want a more bleeding-edge distro, we have solydxk-EE.
Let's talk elsewhere about EE-edition and about what we can do to improve this version 8-) i have no programming skills, so my help can be very little, but talking about things is generally a good starting point!
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kurotsugi
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby kurotsugi » 12 Sep 2015 16:33

my view on solydxk would be:
1. rock solyd stable
2. easy to use
3. have nice OOTB experience
at least those were my intrepetation after hanging out here for quite of times. though, they heavily colluded with my personal opinion so perhaps I was wrong :lol:

as the name implies, solyd will always be the first priority but we also need to improve 2 and 3. to easily understand my ideas, please keep on mind that my current opinions are revolving around "improving our market base" so you'll see most of my ideas were: how to make solydxk more appealing, how to not lose our potential market, how to make a good public opinion on solydxk.

I believe there are some misunderstanding on debian backports. some user might saw the relation between stable-backport similar with ubuntu LTS-PPA but that's not entirely true.

PPA's are provided by third party developer and minimally tested. the relation is more similar with adding experimental on top of sid/testing or 3rd party repo on top of stable. that's why we got bad impression about PPA.

meanwhile, debian-backports are provided officially by debian. it have carefully tested through experimental to testing. the backport team also do some additional test before uploading them to the repo. while it's true that the test isn't as strict as stable packages but they were fully tested and meet the minimum quality to be included into next debian stable. when we talk about debian's QA it's a hellish strict ones isn't it? when a package appear in backport it should be stable for daily use.

thus, when we discussed LO, i strongly believe that adding some packages from backports are a good way to improve OOTB experience without compromizing with stability.

nevertheles, yes. we should not blindly add something from backports. there are another reason why did I agree adding backport's LO to solydxk. IMO the case with LO was a special case. while it's true that it separated as many packages, it's actually comes from one software source code. it could be seen as single program which shouldn't affect the whole system stability. in a worst case scenario LO will broke but I can't even imagine it would happen since LO packages are already heavily tested.
My concern is that some users appear to want to merge the two editions together, resulting in some kind ofhybrid stable/testing release that would, in the end, please no-one.

I'm not even sure if it possible to mix them :lol:

I have similar concern with you but I have different way to see issue. first of all, I think we need to clearly differentiate between main and EE. we should not confusing the user by telling solydxk is rolling. nope, not even once. I've seen some user confused about this issue and the result is _bad_. it seems that we agree on this point.

secondly, we need to eliminate 'the reason' which made a user trying to mix stable with testing (creating a frankendebian). I do agree that testing isn't for everyone. a user should understand the risk and have both will and more linux knowledge before moving into EE. as for 'the reason', I believe one of the biggest one is because stable is 'old'. lot of linux user want to get new shiny stuffs. thus, if we remove some gap between main and EE, user will lose his/her motivation to create 'frankendebian'. it also attract more user which also good for us. ... and yes ... it also means that we can make a good publication regarding solydxk development progress :3

however....yep, schoelje's approach is also a good way to compromise for both parties. it can also used to make a good publication so I'm happy with it :lol:

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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby belze » 12 Sep 2015 16:47

i truly believe official Solyd's releases should be based on debian stable without any package from backports.
We can tell users how to activate backports, it's easy: debian has wiki for this.
Additional packages are, well, additional packages not available in debian repos. Each of them add a layer of complexity to devs. LO is a big piece of software (-> complexity) and is available in official repos.
If you want a rock stable desktop you're not willing to have the latest version of a software despite its potential bugs. Solyd's main userbase wants stability.
I do not, i want new and shiny software, this is why i use EE (THANKS AGAIN DEVS!)
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby kurotsugi » 12 Sep 2015 18:13

Zill took care lot of user case so perhaps he knew about better than most of us (or even me). first, lot of user still confused between main and EE. secondly, there are also some request to include newer package into solydxk repo. (Zill and I sometimes have a lengthy arguments on those threads :lol: ) I recall most of the request comes from new user. some of them asked "can we get new X?" but they gone after get a "no, we are based on stable". considering there are quite some distro get lot of public attention simply by offering those new shiny stuff, I thought they were potential market which should not ignored. that's perhaps the source of our differences in our point of view :3

the backport stability? I'm a testing user (it's currently on sid but most of times I'm on testing). I'll tends to say testing is stable for daily use. backports have gone through stricter QA so it's hard for me to say "it's not stable". I'll also tends to defend testing from those who said "testing is crashy and unstable" (*rawrrrr).

that being said, I'm happy that we actually got quite a lot of agreement and better understanding from this discussion :3

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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby ilu » 12 Sep 2015 19:22

I just think that if a new user asks about "new and shiny" s/he usually does this because of some M§-born idea that newest is always best. Instead of telling them that we are on stable and thus old, we should ask them why they think they need "new and shiny" - in most cases it will turn out they really don't.
If they really miss a feature that only "new and shiny" has, we can point them towards backports.

The only major application that is really missing in stable is SIPphone software. Linphone does not work and Jitsi - which works in the actual version - has only reached sid but with an older version. So not much hope there.

And I might crave the new XFCE version but that's just me.

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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby MAYBL8 » 13 Sep 2015 13:25

Since I inspired this thread I have read all these posts and have decided to make a comment.
To use our founders own words:
Good to hear that you're using SolydX for your work. Initially, that was what we created it for: an operating system for business owners that need stability and security and makes it easier to convert from windose to Linux.
Schoelje has stood by this design premise and I applaud him for that.
Here is another quote from the about page:
SolydXK is an open source alternative for small businesses, non-profit organizations and home users.
The problem with this line is the "home users" part.
Why, because the home user is a widely diverse group. They are not just "stable" users.
Unfortunately we don't have a team of programmers and helpers like the bigger distributions have so our growth potential is small.
I think maybe that all new users should be directed to our mission statement so they fully understand what "Stable" means and "backports" mean and "EE" means. I think this would help reduce the amount of questions on the subject of "What is Solydxk".
Thank you all for reading.
Dan


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belze
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby belze » 13 Sep 2015 15:08

MAYBL8 wrote: I think maybe that all new users should be directed to our mission statement so they fully understand what "Stable" means and "backports" mean and "EE" means. I think this would help reduce the amount of questions on the subject of "What is Solydxk".
I fully agree
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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby Arjen Balfoort » 14 Sep 2015 04:19

I like the idea of a mission statement. So, I have put that on the home page of our main site.
However, because a mission statement describes the purpose of an organization, it's not the right place to explain the technical stuff. That should go in the appropriate pages: backports in the tutorials section and EE in the community editions page.

I personally prefer that users would not use backports but if they need the last features of a software package they'd ask for support on this forum and become a contributing community member. I don't mind to repeatedly explain these kind of things if that means that people get involved in this project.


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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby Fargo » 15 Sep 2015 21:42

ilu wrote:I just think that if a new user asks about "new and shiny" s/he usually does this because of some M§-born idea that newest is always best. Instead of telling them that we are on stable and thus old, we should ask them why they think they need "new and shiny" - in most cases it will turn out they really don't.
If they really miss a feature that only "new and shiny" has, we can point them towards backports.


The only major application that is really missing in stable is SIPphone software. Linphone does not work and Jitsi - which works in the actual version - has only reached sid but with an older version. So not much hope there.

And I might crave the new XFCE version but that's just me.
I think you hit on some great points here. I don't think most people asking for new and shinny need it. But like you said it has been marketed to them for years that newer is better. But its not just MS doing this. I think the abunduance of rolling release distros play into this as well. Everyone thinks its the best thing because it has the newest stuff. It also lets these distros grab all the headlines. Everytime they make a new iso release with all the lastest updates they get a big writeup in distrowatch or some blog. So they get lots of free advertising that we don't. I'm sure that has an effect on the number of new users that come to SolydXK. However, those who come here looking for a reliable and Stable OS will be rewarded by SolydXKs commitment to basing on Debian Stable and testing packages to be sure everything is stable.

In regards to backports, I think its good to have them available but should not be enabled by defualt. I previously used Mepis which was very similar to SolydXK in that it was based on Debian Stable. At one time as a new user I had backports enabled and updated my entire system. Thus, I updated everything to the most recent backported package. This eventually caused issued. So its been my experience that backports are great for one or two packages, but you don't want to use backports to update an entire system.

It would be nice if backports could be enabled for one instance only and then automatically disabled to prevent leaving them enabled during a system update. Which brings me to a question. I was recently working on my father in laws SolydK system and noticed he had backports enabled. I didn't remember enabling them. Does SolydK come with them enabled?

One other thought. Mepis did have a community repo as discussed here to provide newer software that may not be available in backports or Stable. Typically, this was done by request and the distro maintainers did the work to help ensure that there was no malicious 3rd party repo available. It worked quite well having the community repo. However, like Backports, you could mess up a system by updating your entire system using the community repos.

So my position is that SolydXK should be based on Debian Stable with backports (and possibly a community repo) available, but they should not be enabled by default. In fact, as I mentioned, I would love to see a way to have the software manager allow enabling these repos for a one time install. Of course their must be a warning provided about stability and ask if the programs are really required. I think little features like this could also help set apart the Out of the Box experience with SolydXK and help earn it a little more marketshare.

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Re: What is SolydXK?

Postby kurotsugi » 16 Sep 2015 02:34

the community repo actually exist...was.

currently the community repo is merged into solydxk repo. the problem with the old community repo is that the ones who should be responsible to maintain their packages have resigned. nevertheless...if someone willing to propose another package into community repo I think the team will be willing to re-enable that repo.

as for the mechanism I think we can use the old mechanism proposed by Z. it should be easier for both community and team if we use that mechanism.


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