[nSLUG] Jigdo File

Donald Teed dteed at artistic.ca
Wed Mar 5 16:12:30 AST 2003

On Wed, 5 Mar 2003, Ben Armstrong wrote:

> There is an alarming trend in Debian that if a package exists and it looks
> cool, we must package it.  This gives users a bewildering choice of broken
> pieces of software to install.  With projects like Debian Jr. I'm fighting
> that trend, trying to zero in on a subset of everything Debian offers that
> is useful (and solid) for a particular user base.

I'm glad a developer in the Debian community perceives this.
More power to you...

> "Private meaning" in that you assert what 1.0 means, and then assume that
> everyone else takes it to mean that too.  There's a good reason companies
> don't sell software less than 1.0, and that is marketing.  They want the

Commercial software development has been around for a long time and
has established traditions for what version numbers mean.
The way Linux has developed a system with odd and even point kernel versions
is a cool enhancement on these traditions.  Putting out software
with versions *far* less than 1.0 and saying it is "useful" or maybe
even robust, but please check the mailing lists, bugzilla, and google
and everyone you know first, is not a practical expectation.

When the only means to obtain a CDROM within a few hours of time (as
I grew to expect with Redhat) is a mandatory server technology that
is unreliable, there is a problem with a too early adoption.

> Woah, back up here.  Jigdo remains the best option for a certain subset of
> Debian users.  From those who I know personally, I have heard very few
> complaints.  The fact that you've grappled with bugs in it is unfortunate,
> and it may well reflect the uncompleteness of the software.  But who made
> you any guarantees that it would do what you expected?  And who forced you

The Debian website said it was the best way to obtain ISO images.
For installing from CDROM images, there are two options: fetch
full CD images, and assemble images using jigdo.  I tried many
mirrors and no one carried ISO images for sparc.  I believe
the Debian website warned that finding full ISO images would
become difficult as more mirrors adopted jigdo.

> to use Jigdo?  Over the history of my use of Debian I have used a whole host
> of different ways of installing Debian, and the most tried-and-true for me
> have been:
> - install from single CD produced by a company like "Cheapbytes" (i'm not
> current with this; last time i did this was a few years ago -- Don't even
> know if Cheapbytes still exists)
> - small base-install floppy set + network install for the rest
> - even smaller rescue/root pair of floppies + network install for the rest

If I want to install today, I can't wait for CDs in the mail.

My sparc box had no floppy drive.  I didn't see bootable
CDROM boot disk images for sparc as there were for i386.

In general I like to obtain CDs because they always work,
regardless of the network access in a particular location.

The bootp option was explored and we didn't have the ability to
add custom lines to the DHCP server (config generated by
a script they didn't want to change just for this).  Eventually we
found that if rarpd was running on the same machine as providing the
tftp, this worked for the boot image.  I posted that tip to
this list in case it might help anyone else out.  (We do
get googled)

If that option had not been available, I would be stuck with jigdo.
I would have likely dropped Debian and moved on to something else.

> > "We" is the entire community of open source software users.  If the
> > users don't exist, the developers might as well be playing Starcraft.
> So you are now a spokesperson for the entire community of open source
> software users?  I'm sure you have some good ideas about what users need,

Why not?  You are a spokesperson for Debian developers are you not?
It doesn't really matter.  We can pretend, just like the people
on TV pretend that popular opinions matter.

> At some point you should have (and may have, for all I know) considered
> jigdo a flop for your case, and just moved on to another option.  There are
> several, as I have mentioned.  Or with perserverance, you might have been
> able to file some coherent bug reports and have seen some action on them,
> benefitting everyone in the jigdo user community.  That's entirely at your
> discretion, depending on the amount of time, energy and inclination you have
> for that sort of thing.  Or if it really is as crappy as you say it is, you
> should've been able to easily find the litany of bugs filed against it or
> complaints in the mailing list(s) that support it to warn you away from it
> in the first place, saving you the embarrassment that you suffered in front
> of your boss.

I'm not about to cross examine the only apparent link I have
to getting a Linux installed!  If anything, my next step would
likely have been to abandon Debian and find another distro for sparc.

When I am trying to get something up using a bunch of methods and coming
up against delays and walls, I don't tend to take the time to look up
bug reports and file new bug reports.  If I were home, perhaps I'd go
that route, but not when I feel that I should account for my time.

If Debian developers are concerned with adoption in business
contexts, these points should matter to people like you.

> > I don't want to be forced into using something with poor
> > reliablity, and that is what happened in the case of jigdo.
> I don't buy that you were forced.

For my hardware (no floppy) and platform (sun) and network situation
(no control over dhcp server), it was looking like Debian wasn't
possible without CDROMs.

Installation of the OS is something every system has to go through.
If that fails, everything else that people put time and energy into
is moot.  I can understand the problems with bandwidth costs, but
it seems strange that (a) in the end the same number of bytes are
going to be needed no matter how you slice and dice them, and (b) other
places just use mirrors, not special servers to deal with the problem
of distributing the download traffic.

I am running jigdo in the background at this moment and it seems
to be better behaved with another mirror.  Sunsite at Ualberta
must have a botched server or something.  I thought I
tried other servers when I experienced the failure before but
it has been awhile now.

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