[RDD] the problem with rivendell

Fred Gleason fredg at paravelsystems.com
Mon Aug 23 15:29:59 EDT 2010

On Monday 23 August 2010 12:40:49 pm Kevin Miller wrote:
> When I first started playing w/Linux, I was upgrading every 6 months.
> It didn't take long to realize I was playing whack-a-mole. 

Yup.  Real easy trap to fall into.  I've done it too.

For years, I had always thought of Rivendell as an application, designed to 
fit in among other applications on a Linux system.  As such, it was important 
that it obey certain conventions so as to 'fit into the ecosystem' in a 
smooth way and play nice with all the other apps on the block. 

I've since come to the conclusion that this approach is a mistake.  Rivendell 
is a classic 'virtical' application, not something that needs to run on Aunt 
Millie's proverbial e-mail machine.  As such, it is not 'one app among many 
on a system', but rather it *is* the System; everything else that's there is 
there solely inasmuch as it helps Rivendell get its task (i.e. running the 
radio station) done reliably.

I've found that this approach can clarify one's outlook wonderfully.  For one 
thing, things become a lot less distro- and desktop-centric.  The window 
manager need be little more than an application launcher; most of 
the 'desktop' crud supplied by projects like GNOME and KDE become simply 
irrelevant and can be removed, yielding a markedly nimbler system.  Likewise 
the distro: so long as it runs Rivendell properly, there's really no reason 
to replace it.  Paravel still has sites under commercial support that run 
quite well on SuSE 9.2 (though that will be changing when RD 2.0 ships -- the 
dependencies have changed too much).

> Perhaps a reasonable compromise may be to produce an rpm for SLES or
> SLED.  They have long term support so I'd hazard the guess that the .rpm
> generation routine could be scripted and would work for many releases of
> Rivendell to come but it would be several years before the platform
> would have to change.

I actually have tried this.  Most users bitterly resent having to pay the 
support fees.

> A production system can/should be isolated from the general network or
> internet.  It doesn't have to be patched on a regular basis if nobody
> can get to it.

Exactly.  No need to be constantly 'fixing' things that aren't broken.

> An upgrade .rpm could be downloaded and installed via a CD or thumb
> drive if the system is isolated.  The main OS wouldn't have to be
> touched for up to six years.  Rivendell could be updated as frequently
>   as desired/appropriate.

SuSE repositories work in this mode very nicely.


| Frederick F. Gleason, Jr. |               Chief Developer               |
|                           |               Paravel Systems               |
|     Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea,     |
|   even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds.              |
|                                      -- J. Finnegan, USC.               |

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