Les Mikesell les at futuresource.com
Wed Jul 27 22:25:28 UTC 2005

On Wed, 2005-07-27 at 16:23, Burke Almquist wrote:

> Isn't a new version of SME (from the contribs.org people) almost ready?
> I thought I read something along those lines.

Well, yeah - but it's been almost ready for a year or more so it might
be a bad idea to hold your breath until it's done.

The problem with SME is that it's Linux for people who don't like Linux.
That is, all of the normal admin operations are done by scripts and
templates.  This is great as long as long as it does exactly what you
want and is kept up to date.  However, as soon as you want to change
something that isn't already set up, you not only need to know how
to edit that config file you wanted to avoid, you also have to
understand perl and how the template system works.  This works out
reasonably well in the world of paid services and contractors where
the idea is to shield the customer and simultaneously lock him into
your services, but it makes it more difficult for someone to improve
things himself and I don't think it attracts many developers.

The other problem is that so many stock rpms are modified instead of
adding a separate config rpm to tweak them so there is a lot of
unnecessary work preparing updates as upstream packages are fixed.
Again, that made sense in the context of paid service contracts but
makes contributed support difficult.

Regardless, I do like the distribution for certain purposes, the main
one being for remote locations where someone who doesn't know a lot
about system administration needs to take care of it and manage users.
With a few tweaks to make it understand that it's not the only server
in the world (i.e. fix DNS and use LDAP/NIS, etc. for authentication)
it could be good for a lot more.

  Les Mikesell
    les at futuresource.com

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