Note. There was originally a writeup above humorously comparing linux distributions to hypothetical airlines. The following was a response & addition to it. The original writeup is now gone for reasons unknown, but eventually i hope to attempt to re-insert the original content. Thanks for your patience.
Please note this writeup is closed-captioned for the metaphorically impaired (see node)
The thing you leave out about Debian Airlines:
is, of course, 2400 tons and contains a lot of unnecessary things. The odd thing is that not all of the pieces
of the plane are taken on every flight. The pieces all fit together wonderfully, and at the beginning of the flight
the passengers are all asked exactly what they need on the airplane
. Anything the passengers don't particularly care for is just left behind. Sometimes it turns out in the middle of the flight that someone would like a piece of the plane that was left behind, and the plane is amazingly able to summon
that piece of the plane from where it was left behind
, or from whichever one of Debian Airlines' storehouses
scattered all over the world is nearest. The piece then enters the plane and merges in
and fits together
with all the other parts as if it had been there from the beginning
, while the plane is flying
at 40,000 feet and 700 miles an hour. This is really cool to watch, and hard to believe it actually works. So because it's so easy and effortless to add and remove parts
while the plane is in motion,
even though the plane is huge to begin with, once the flight is underway it winds up being far more small, nimble, and seamless than your average Red Hat
Airlines plane was to begin with, becuase with Red Hat AIrlines the passengers aren't sure which parts are needed
(or even installed, for that matter), and because there the parts all have to be installed and removed manually
, sometimes with help by the passengers
, so the useless stuff just stays in.
Of course, the thing is, almost all of the flights on Debian Airlines leave way, way past the time printed on the ticket. Sometimes you're left waiting there for hours, pulling your hair out while the airline people try to calm you down and say please wait, it won't be long, we're still performing safety checks. Interestingly enough, if all the passengers for your particular flight get together and ask if they can just leave early, the technicians will drop whatever tests they're doing and just let you go in whatever state the plane is in at the moment, without finishing the safety checks. When this happens the airline employees act all worried and warn the passengers all over the place that what they're doing is very unsafe, but nothing bad ever seems to happen because of it. If the passengers are willing to wait for those safety checks to finish, they're in for probably the safest ride they could possibly have.
A few smaller, local airlines you may not have heard of:
is interesting because of the specialized planes
they use. They aren't a real airline
. They try to pretend they are, but they aren't-- they're just there to make airplanes
. Of course when it comes down to it, they aren't even an airplane
company, either-- all they do is manufacture an engine
That's their point-- they make this very special, very powerful airplane engine that uses a special type of ultraefficient motor oil called "PPC" that no one else uses. Well, except a few of the models used by NetAir use the oil, as do the planes of an older and very odd airline called MkLinuxAir. MkLinuxAir had a special system called Mach wrapped around the engine that seperated the oil from the engine such that any engine could use any oil if the Mach was between them. MkLinuxAir went out of business when their parent company abandoned them, although there's a new, very interesting, but also kind of scary, airline starting called HURDAir that uses Mach. There's some other crazy but really cool stuff about HURDAir, but i don't have knowledge or room to describe it right here. You should look them up.
Anyway, PPC oil doesn't sound like much, but some people's religious and/or practical complications literally leave them unable to use a plane which uses any other motor oil.
Unfortunately once LinuxPPCAir developed the engine, nobody wanted to buy it. In desperation, they wound up buying a bunch of plane parts from Redhat Airlines and just kind of throwing them in a heap around the engine until it kind of looked like a plane. The engines LinuxPPCAir makes are nice, but they really don't know the first thing about building an airplane, and they weren't even trying, so none of the parts really fit together that well, and most of them don't work. They have a skeleton of an airline organization, but other than the people who sell the tickets they have almost no employees. You get on the plane and there are absolutely no pilot type people or flight attendants there. You are alone on the plane, unless you brought some friends with you. Since it's a Redhat airplane, this sometimes isn't a problem, since the plane can fly itself. The plane will always take off beautifully, effortlessly, and in great comfort, but once you're actually in the air almost anything could happen. A crash is pretty unlikely, but after awhile you'll probably realize the plane is headed in a different direction than the one it ought to be going in. So you'll have to go up and try to operate the cockpit yourself. You're probably going to have a lot of trouble figuring out how to operate it unless you're a certified pilot. There's a well-written and reasonable operations manual for Red Hat airplanes sitting out in plain sight, but you can't use it because about half the controls normally in a Redhat cockpit are missing. About half of what's left looks exactly like a corresponding part in a Redhat cockpit, but it either works slightly differently or does something wholly different altogether. There are quite a few controls which you can't quite understand the function of, some of which do nothing at all. Your only hope in figuring out how to get the LinuxPPC aircraft to go where you want it to is a bunch of mussed pieces of paper stapled together with "FAQ-O-MATIC" stamped on them. This small tome, which you find lying under the copilot's seat, answers about half of the questions you need answered in a wholly disorganized fashion. It appears to have been written by the previous users of the plane, with each one adding a couple pages, but it's hard to tell.
Your flight with LinuxPPC airlines will mostly consist of the plane flying in circles (which it seems to do a lot when you touch the controls.. maybe it's just me?) while you try to figure out how to make the damn thing work. Eventually you will more than likely give up and go back.
Eventually some people started up an airline called Yellow Dog Airlines; apparently these people bought some of LinuxPPCAir's wonderful engines, built a proper, functional, adequate plane around it, and then set up a very efficient airline with courteous service workers and the nice planes based on LinuxPPCAir's engines. Very few people have ever used this airline; i never have. The one or two people i've talked to with experience with Yellow Dog said their flight was very nice.
Interestingly enough, recently some of the engineers with Debian Airlines decided they really, really liked the engine that LinuxPPCAir makes, so they decided to adapt a few of their planes to use the LinuxPPCAir engine. All they did was just modify the area around the engine-- except for where the engine plugs in (which isn't that user-servicable anyway), it's all exactly the same as a normal Debian airplane, with all the advantages and all the modularity and everything. It's really quite nice, except for two problems: first off, no normal Debian Airlines flights use the special LinuxPPCAir engine. You can only buy the planes directly from them. The other problem is that if something goes wrong with the engine, neither LinuxPPCAir or Debian Airlines will be able to help you with it.
I have a PPC-based airplane i got from Debian Airlines, and i'm quite happy with it. As far as i can tell, i'm only the second person to ever buy one, although i'm sure someone else must have somewhere. Of course, i didn't buy it-- Debian Airlines gave me one of the parts that their planes use to summon while in the air all the pieces that have been left behind, and the part literally summoned an entire aircraft for me at the touch of a couple buttons. It was really cool. The plane works wonderfully, just like a normal debian ariline; it handles great, and does anything i tell it to, totally effortless, especially when compared to my less-than-wonderful experiences with LinuxPPCAir. And i get to use my PPC motor oil, which is all i have, with it. My only problem is that I'm missing a couple of five cent fuses that hook up from the engine to the windows and lights in the back compartment, and the sound system. Had i these fuses, i could just stick them in and the whole aircraft would work great, but i don't know where to get them. Debian airlines doesn't seem to have them. LinuxPPCAir sells the fuses, but if i got the fuses from them they wouldn't have the slightest idea how i would go about installing the fuses; they'd just apologize and scurry back to developing their engine. This doesn't bother me at all; the plane comes with a couple great flashlights, and anyway, i spend the entire flight in the cockpit; everything i need to do during the flight is up there. I don't really care about what's in the back.