In my professional area some of the most advanced software tools are incredibly hard to install, build, and configure even for the teams who create the tools, let alone for less technical end users.

To reduce the high "barrier to entry" this creates for many less technical peers, I have created a FOSS distribution of Ubuntu 15 with the tools pre-built and configured.

However, I have never authored and distributed a distribution before. I fear that if I distribute it, especially on a popular site like DistroWatch, that I'll soon be in over my head with software components needing updates, requests for additional tools, etc.

I wonder if there's a way to get an idea of exactly what to expect, to streamline the process of continually updating software components (and checking for resulting broken configuration)?

Is this a 1-person job, or do I need a team? Is there an established platform for recruiting contributors?

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    You might get better answers if you specify what software tools this is about - and depending on them, other SE sites could be interesting as well. – Michael Schumacher Mar 7 '16 at 8:37
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    Note that there are doubts about the legality of redistributing Ubuntu (see trademarks); you should start with Debian. – Martin Schröder Mar 7 '16 at 18:31
  • @MartinSchröder Really? I like Debian better anyway, but what about all the dozens of Ubuntu forks like Mint, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, etc? I checked out ubuntu.com/about/about-ubuntu/licensing and it looks like it mainly just says you must also allow redistribution and you can't charge money for your fork? You've got me nervous now tho lol. – Hack-R Mar 7 '16 at 18:38
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    @Hack-R: AFAIK the trademark policy of Canonical is still unclear, while it's very clear with Debian. – Martin Schröder Mar 7 '16 at 18:39
  • @MartinSchröder Oh ok, good call out. – Hack-R Mar 7 '16 at 18:39

Building a distribution is a lot of work. Perhaps instead of trying to create a full distribution it is better to just maintain the package(s) for Debian or Ubuntu, or offering to help out if it is already being done. In any case, search for other interested parties, having colleagues gives people with whom to discuss issues or which can take over the work if you are on vacation or otherwise unavailable. Another option would be to start e.g. a Fedora spin, a collection of software for a specific purpose (I don't know if Ubuntu has something similar).

In any case, I'd find it strange if you don't find it already packaged in Debian at least. Debian has a tendency to package up anything that compiles, as long as it is legal to do so (more precisely, agrees with their guidelines). If the software isn't already available, chances are it is not legal to distribute (in which case you can land in uncomfortably hot water) or is severely broken (in which case it is better to abstain and look for alternatives, or bite the bullet and work with upstream to fix it first). Rummage in the bug reporting systems or packaging discussions (trusty Google the name of the package and distribution name should lead you there) to get a clearer picture on the matter.

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    +1 from me. I agree with vonbrand; there is an existing mechanism for any project to distribute software in a way that makes it easy for others to use it, and it's called the repository of packaged executables. Another +1 if I could for "Debian has a tendency to package up anything that compiles, as long as it is legal to do so" because it made me laugh a lot (and it's true, and I admire the Debian people a great deal for it)! – MadHatter Mar 7 '16 at 6:41
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    @Hack-R See also Debian Pure Blends. – Faheem Mitha Mar 24 '16 at 16:52

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