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Better packaging for older hardware?



Greetings,

As some of you may already know, the RULE project (see my signature)
works to make the latest stable release of Red Hat useable on very
low end hardware (i386+ 16 MB+ RAM, 3/400 MB hard disks).

This is not an academic exercise: students and schools in developing
(and "developed") countries often have only 5/6 years old computers
from donations, without money to buy more parts for them, when those
parts still exist.

To have an idea of what we do in RULE, please have a look at our
website, maybe starting from these very short pages:

http://www.rule-project.org/en/faq.php (please start here!) 
http://www.rule-project.org/en/what_can_rule_do.php
http://www.rule-project.org/en/sw/kdrive.php
http://www.rule-project.org/en/news/vumbox.php
http://www.rule-project.org/en/news/state_of_the_rule_200310.php


Now to the actual issue. RULE will now switch to Fedora. Since this is
a community based project, we hope that the issues addressed by RULE
can receive more attention than a corporation could afford (this is not
a critic to Red Hat: a company must make ends meet and produce money,
no question about that).

We are not going to ask that the whole project is turned upside
down. There are a few things, however, that would make the life of
RULE school and private users a whole lot easier, and be almost
transparent to other users.

I refer to building:

1) kdrive RPMs whenever the XFree86 ones are updated.

2) i386 kernel RPMs, possibly tweaked for low RAM.

3) (this is maybe the most important) single RPMs of several user
friendly desktop applications.

Practical example: a lot of RULE end users will be non programmers
without any prior PC experience, and they will only need email, web
browsing and to do simple homework.

They would have real problems to use mutt, no possibility to run a
compiler, no skills to do it. Their ideal solutions would be to have
fedora RPMs to install (just as an example!!!) ONLY Kmail (or
sylpheed), Gnumeric or KOffice, Konqueror... without any other
applications and/or the most advanced/cool features of Gnome and
KDE. On plain X or Kdrive with only Qt / Gtk and a basic WM like Ice
or blackbox.

With respect to the KDE case, if there were (with the same builds,
from the same source RPMs already available)

kmail.rpm
konqueror.rpm

and the current kde packages, which are actually monolithic bundles of
much more stuff, became "meta-packages" which just require the single
things, situation would be:

much much better for RULE users, no more forced to trash a computer
because it won't fit "hidden" apps never needed.

almost transparent to power end users: they would continue to
install/update as usual "kde desktop", "gnome desktop", and so on,
without ever noticing what happened below.

What do you think?

Ciao,
	Marco Fioretti
	RULE project coordinator

-- 
Marco Fioretti                 m.fioretti, at the server inwind.it
Red Hat for low memory         http://www.rule-project.org/en/

Human beings act intelligently only after they have exhausted the
alternatives -- Abba Eban




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