One of the main difficulties of supporting a product on Linux is the number of available distributions. Freedom of choice has produced a myriad of Linux distributions, each suiting a particular type of user. It is this availability of choice that makes product development on Linux much more involved than on other platforms.

Packaging a product on Linux has several complications. Although the package may be of type ‘RPM’, this does not automatically make the product function correctly with any distribution that uses RPM as the packaging format. The RPM package is a container for the executables, scripts, libraries, and other resources that comprise the product. These executables may be tied to libraries that are only present in a particular release of a distribution. Placing the same binaries on another distribution may render the executable inoperable due to missing dependencies.

The configuration of the system can also vary wildly between distributions. Setting up the firewall, Active Directory integration, or tuning system parameters may be different amongst distributions, or even different major releases of a distribution. There is no standard method of configuration across distributions. As such, configuration scripts are developed, tested, and then packaged for the particular distribution that the product targets. Running the same configuration scripts on another distribution may produce undesirable results.

Some free Linux distributions aim to be compatible with a commercial offering. An example is Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and the Community Enterprise Operating System (CentOS). In this case, there is a high chance of success of taking a package that targets a particular release of RHEL and having that package function correctly on the corresponding CentOS release.

There is a balance between supporting both the commercial and free distributions. As much as we would love to target as many Linux distributions as possible, working through the differences of each of these distributions takes substantial development and test effort.

So by all means, feel free to experiment with Linux Virtual Desktop on your favourite Linux distribution, however, don’t be too surprised if things do not quite work as expected. We can only assist with the supported list of Linux distributions.

If you have had success with Linux Virtual Desktop on a distribution that we do not officially support, let us know! Additionally, if you can provide details regarding the configuration that was required, we would love to hear about it.

We aim to target more Linux distributions in the future, so let us know in the comments what you would like us to support.

To read more from the Linux Virtual Desktop Team, check out all of our posts here.