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The UnitedLinux Dark Horse: Conectiva - page 2

Who Are They, And What Do They Bring to the Table?

  • June 24, 2002
  • By Dee-Ann LeBlanc

Since Conectiva is focused on the Latin American market, this distribution has strong internationalization already built in. Add this Spanish and Portuguese strength to SuSE's German and European, and TurboLinux's Chinese and Asian, and it's easy to see that UnitedLinux will have a strong base for non-English users. That positions the new project as a serious international competitor, especially amongst countries that have offices flung around the world.

Conectiva's involvement also means that their unique understanding of the Latin American market comes into play. Aside from language issues, legacy hardware is far more important in Latin America than in many parts of North America, so Conectiva brings in a broader compatibility base for older hardware that perhaps other distributions might not bother to support anymore.

If you haven't heard of Conectiva's Linux distribution, then you just might have been missing out on some things. Conectiva brings a number of excellent services and utilities to the UnitedLinux soup pot. In some cases its advances are unique to Conectiva, and in other cases the distribution shares strong experience with enterprise-level solutions with other UnitedLinux members. Fo

r example, both Conectiva and SuSE ship with drbd (Distributed Replicated Block Device), a High Availability kernel module that mirrors hard drive contents over a network, but Conectiva has shipped with drbd for quite some time while SuSE has only added it in version 8.0. This tool works in conjunction with the heartbeat package, which monitors machines within a cluster and notifies the setup when one of the machines within the cluster dies, allowing the box with the mirrored drive to take over.

RPM users who feel jealous every time they hear people talking about how easy it is to utilize Debian's apt tool when grabbing and updating software will be pleased to hear that Conectiva has ported apt to handle RPM. If you like GUI package management tools, then you'll find it even cooler that Conectiva gave its new apt port a GUI front end called Synaptic: you may have already used this tool if you're running one of the Linux distributions that's adopted Synaptic.

Another Conectiva focus is virtual memory and scalability issues, courtesy of Rik van Riel.

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