What are the nuts and bolts of running a distro?

Donnie Berkholz dberkholz at gentoo.org
Thu Feb 9 12:06:35 PST 2012

On 01:04 Tue 07 Feb     , Jason Hsu wrote:
> Are there any FAQs or other documents on how to operate a Linux 
> distro?

Not that I'm aware of. There just aren't that many people starting it 
from scratch. The best advice I've got is outsource everything you can. 
Distros don't exist to write website backends, or maintain VCS servers, 
or any of those things you need, but they can be huge time sinks.

For a new distro starting today, I would put everything possible on 
Github — code, bugs, website, and wiki. It supports all of those. Get an 
IRC channel on Freenode (or OFTC if you want) and a mailing list 
somewhere halfway decent like Google Groups. File hosting could be on 
Google Code or Sourceforge.

I'd try using the Open Build Service instead of setting up my own build 
servers, and serve out packages from there too if you can. Based on the 
specifics of your distro, you'll have to work out whether that's enough, 
or whether you need more services to distribute updates.

And you absolutely *must* read Karl Fogel's book. It's free online 
(http://producingoss.com/), but buy it if you like it.


Donnie Berkholz
Council Member / Sr. Developer, Gentoo Linux <http://dberkholz.com>
Analyst, RedMonk <http://redmonk.com/dberkholz/>
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