There’s something major missing in the Debian and Ubuntu world, and that’s a decent package management system. Yes, I’m going to get responses to this like “Why don’t you use Chef, or Puppet to do package management”, and I’ll give you the quick response for this: Though Chef and Puppet do configuration management well, they do not do package management well.
Package management is more than just saying “I want this package to be this specific version on these sets of systems”; package management gives you an overall view of your system in a number of ways. One view is the security profile and compliance of your entire network of systems. I should be able to quickly determine the CVE compliance of my systems. I want to be able to match a vulnerability to a package, quickly, and ensure all systems are patched for that. I should also have a view of which packages are installed on which systems, and be able to group them into system groups for easy reporting or actions.
Additionally, I want to be able to quickly and easily test packages before deploying them everywhere. I want to have a testing group of systems, a staging set of production systems, and the rest of the systems grouped, so that I can deploy packages in a sane way. I want to be able to stage package updates on a schedule so that I can do rolling package updates.
These two things are possible with Chef and Puppet, but aren’t easy (not even close to easy). These tools aren’t built for things like this. Landscape has a least a minimum set of these features. Spacewalk has all of these features.
Unfortunately, Landscape is proprietary, and Spacewalk doesn’t fully support Debian and Ubuntu.
Canonical, please open source Landscape
I understand that you need to make money somehow, but it’s somewhat hypocritical to run an open source company based on the profits of proprietary software. Red Hat seems to do pretty well without proprietary software, I’m sure you can as well. Red Hat even goes one step further and buys proprietary software just to open source it (see Fedora Directory Server, Dogtag, RHEV-M, etc.).
Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m happy with your open source offerings. The release schedule for Ubuntu, and Ubuntu server is essentially perfect for running Linux networks, and the LTS offering is great from the stability vs bleeding edge point of view; however, the lack of decent package management makes your offering excruciatingly painful to use on any large set of systems.
Fedora, help us with Spacewalk
Spacewalk is a great product. The functionality it offers for Fedora and CentOS (and RHEL via Satellite Server) is essentially perfect. It is by far one of the best management tools around. Please help expand this tool to Debian and Ubuntu.
Spacewalk version 1.4 greatly helps bring this support, but there is still a lot left to do. Of course, as I ask for the help of the Fedora community, I also hope the Debian and Ubuntu communities help with this as well.