[conspire] Ubuntu

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Oct 12 16:51:30 PDT 2004

Bill Stoye <skiffworks at earthlink.net> wrote:

> I'm not sure I completley understand the packages, here is my
> '/etc/apt/sources.list':
> "#deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ warty main restricted 
> #deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ warty main restricted 
> ## Uncomment the following two lines to fetch updated software from the
> network
> ## and be able to use more than 12000 unsupported packages from the
> universe archive.
> deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ warty main restricted universe 
> deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ warty main restricted
> universe 
> #deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ warty-security main restricted 
> #deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ warty-security main
> restricted" 
> 'Warty main' is what the distro comes with and then you can chose to
> uncomment 'warty main retricted universe', these packages I believe are
> grabbed from unstable. Warty is the name of the release.

As you say.  "warty" is short for "WartyWarthog":  Ubuntu is following
Debian's lead in assigning whimsical names to its versioned development
branches.  (Debian names all of its versioned branches for characters
from "Toy Story".  No, really, they do that.)

Basically, what they're doing, it seems, is maintaining 
slightly-delayed-for-quality-control mirror of (some subset of?) the 
Debian-unstable package collections -- probably with some differences,
and with the likelihood _but no guarantee_ of near-total compatibility
with the Debian collections.  The keywords "main", "restricted", and
"universe" are the names of Ubuntu's package collections.    

"main":   Everything deemed an essential offering.  Contents must be
          under a free / open-source license (except for certain 
          firmware).  Fonts can be non-free-licensed, but must at least
          be redistributable.  (Thus, no MS TrueType Core Fonts, I 

"restricted":  Software and other contents that is non-free but 
          lawful for Ubuntu to distribute.  Example:  Nvidia 3D-capable
          X11 drivers.

"universe":  Snapshot of the big world of free / open source and other
          software, but with no guarantees of quality and compatibility.

You _could_ replace the sources.list lines with those from the main
Debian sources, but -- now that I've studied the situation -- it's
become apparent that the Ubuntu people honestly do promote their 
packages as an ongoing thing-in-themselves, rather than just as a 
nice installer for a cutting-edge Debian desktop system.  Moreover,
doing a cutover to make your system track Debian-unstable would expose
bobbles that won't faze longtime Debianistas, but that would be (at
minimum) troublesome to newcomers -- so please don't consider doing so
in the short term.

If / when the Ubuntu people ever stop doing a good job, you would _then_
want to consider cutting over to one of the Debian branches -- as users
of Corel Linux OS were obliged to do, when Corel abruptly left them high
and dry.

I see you've enabled access to that "universe" collection.  Good idea,
for those who are at least mildly adventuresome.  ;->

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