On Friday afternoon, Ian Murdock, the founder of the Debian GNU/Linux project and co-founder of Progeny, announced a status update of his company’s Debian work. Murdock made two very important announcements: the porting of Red Hat’s Anaconda installer tool to Debian, and a modification of Debian’s APT package tool which will allow it to use both RedHat and Debian packages. The first announcement is most relevant to Debian users, who have long complained about Debian’s “archaic” installer. Several “easy to install” Debian variants have been created over the years; none of them has been commercially successful. Progeny Linux was one of these variants. Despite its excellent installer, Progeny’s distribution suffered the same fate as many of the other commercial Debian projects. The company itself lived on, without much visibility, until today’s announcement:
We have ported Red Hat’s Anaconda installer to Debian; essentially, we replaced calls to RPM with calls to APT, and replaced Red Hat-specific configuration hooks with calls into the configlets and debconf. We have also written a tool called PickAx that facilitates the creation of Anaconda-based Debian installation CD sets. We are also working with various parties to add/merge RPM support into the mainline APT, to allow Debian- and RPM-based distributions to be managed using a single APT codebase, and possibly even to allow Debian and RPM packages to coexist side by side.