Repairing the Economic Paradigm of Enterprise Linux was the sub-title of Bruce Perens's 2003 white paper floating the idea of UserLinux.
Now the distro he envisaged, a system for both desktop and server use in businesses of all sizes, is close to release. The plan is for a mass beta for i386-based systems on September 1. It will be a a focused, user-oriented version of Debian, say its supporters.
"UserLinux is enterprise Linux without the big price tag," Perens said recently at LinuxWorld Conference & Expo. In addition to i386, the plan is to add commercial support of Debian Pure AMD64 with an i386 chroot for 32-bit compatibility.
"We will have Pure AMD64 support," says Perens, "even though this will probably not be an officially-supported architecture of Debian for this release."
"Not all service vendors will support it," he adds. "[We] have been running this for months and it is stable. Its main problems are that Linux Standard Base does not yet address it and that Debian would like to transition to 'multiarch' support that is not ready for this release."
Thus customers should expect a larger-than-usual change next release, he notes. Perens then continues:
"The subsequent release is not expected to use a chroot to implement the 32-bit compatibility but will provide it through the Debian 'multiarch' facility. But the fact that there will be a big change between releases is true for all Linux distributions that will cover AMD64, and is a consequence that early adoptors bear. Our release date for Pure AMD64 is not yet determined but is expected to be later than our i386 release."
UserLinux will track the Debian release process, and that Debian currently targets as September 15.