I'm really feeling pretty confused about the direction that Linux is moving in, and particularly confused about the relationship between Aurora Linux and Fedora. Aurora Linux is a Redhat based port of Linux to the Sparc platform. Aurora 2.99 which is based upon Fedora Core 6, is the last port they have done. The Aurora website doesn't appear to have been updated in a year. After posting about this; someone told me that Aurora had been folded back into the Fedora project, and upon looking at the Fedora Wiki, that is in fact stated on the Wiki.
I've been using Redhat 6.2 on Sparc for years and to say the least it's a bit dated; so I've been anxious to get a newer port that will run on that hardware (mostly Ultra 1's and Ultra 2's although I have a handful of other Sparc machines, some antique 32-bit like SS-10/s and SS-5's and LX's and some PCI like Ultra-5/10's). I have a preference for Redhat based as I am most familiar with that layout. I've loaded Aurora 2.99 on some Ultra-1's and Ultra-2's with mixed results; specifically, the 2.6.x kernel included does appear finally to be stable on Sparc. But the shipped telnet daemon doesn't work, the disk won't install on an Ultra-10 (no drivers for IDE in the kernel), the old version of Firefox blows up if you look at it wrong, etc. I'm looking for a medium to communicate with people that are working on the rough edges as I am because there definitely is some nice functionality relative to RH6.2.
I posted in the Fedora area of this forum and was reprimanded by the forum admins for doing so and it was stated to me that in spite of being based on Fedora, Aurora has nothing to do with it and doesn't belong there. Well, this seems odd since the Fedora Wiki states directly that Aurora has been absorbed back into Fedora. I'm trying to understand what is happening, and it's difficult when I am chastised for asking even basic questions. Is their internal division within the Fedora camp with respect to whether Aurora and/or Sparc is part of it or not? Is the Fedora Forum a part of the Fedora project or an independently run Forum? Is there a better venue for Linux on Sparc hardware?
When I first got involved with Linux; it was release .99 of the kernel, and it seemed there was much enthusiasm towards making it portable across hardware platforms, and making it tight and efficient. Today; anything other than Intel compatible CPU's seem to take a distinct back-seat, and the focus seems to be to kill Microsoft rather than to produce the most usable operating system for a wide variety of applications. And towards that end, Linux in general, and Redhat in particular seems to have changed focus from lean and efficient, to way beyond creeping featurism. Having built 2.2 kernels for years, when I loaded Aurora 2.99 and built a 2.6 kernel on a Sparc platform, I couldn't believe all the stuff incorporated in the kernel these days. I've built 2.6 kernels on x86, and I guess I expected the configuration to be a nightmare on that platform just owing to the huge variety of hardware from a wide variety of vendors that exists. I didn't expect this for the Sparc platform, and especially I didn't expect to see so much functionality such as encryption and compression that I would normally expect to see in userland. It used to be a fairly central theme with Linux that anything that could be done in userland as opposed to in the kernel, should be. Pushing a lot of things done in the kernels of other Unix's out into userland, and avoiding the trap penalties of switching to system mode, was one of the big factors in making Linux efficient relative to other Unix's early on. At least a dozen different encryption algorithms and compression algorithms, three different choice of CPU time schedulers, the addition of some attempt at fair I/O scheduling (something I am very happy to see BTW, that's been a real deficiency in Unix forever), and support for just so many strange little nick-knacks in the kernal now. I couldn't believe the kernel source package had grown to 55 megabytes bzip'd!
The entire Redhat 6.2 distribution fit on one CD; it takes six CD's for Aurora 2.99. I downloaded Debian for Sparc as well, 3 DVD's, haven't even attempted to load that yet. Lean and efficient seems to be out the window. I'm ok with that as long as it is still possible to configure unnecessary fluff out. On the plus side; the Gnome desktop is really becoming very pleasant to use and it's gotten simple enough for people who aren't trying to do anything extreme to use without a lot of Unix background.
Sorry if this is rambling a bit; but I'm just trying to get a feel for where Linux is going, and if it is going to remain viable on non-Intel platforms and what role exactly Fedora and Redhat are playing in this.