Technically the Debian community has implemented functionalities for package management that have not been seen elsewhere. Originally motivated to achieve platform independence, all packages in the Debian Main distribution are required to be completely compilable and installable by a standardised set of commands. For all platforms, build daemons fully automated build binary packages upon the package maintainer's submission of a new source package. The principle to dynamically add all required packages (i.e. specialised libraries) and the subsequent removal of these packages, should be adopted by the agent and grid communities, fostering increased flexibility and the better utilisation of human and machine resources.

The Debian-Med project serves as a common platform for all Free Software that may be utilised in medical care. Tools developed in computational biology is just a part of it because it is an important brick in medical science. With Debian-Med's ambition to become the platform of choice for biological work, conform with the principles of the Debian Policy[12], by the means of the distribution of development within the Debian Society, a well established reference platform for bioinformatics research and its medical applications has evolved and will continue to improve. The organisation is open, both to new members and to external sites offering packages for installations. Initiatives for agent research and computational grids should strongly consider to utilise the prepared packages.

From the perspective of data security for Grids or Agent Environments, it should be stressed that Debian GNU/Linux has the unique feature of the automated creation of chroot environments. In a dedicated directory, the minimal set of programs is stored to run a a Debian GNU/Linux system. A process started in such will not have file access to the remainder of the system with otherwise complete functionality. The process is separated, even when started as root. Hence, arbitrary packages can be added and computations performed, be it for the build daemon, for the grid or for agent environment, without accidentally or intentionally impeding the functioning of the underlying operating system.

The concept of integrating common tools in Bioinformatics to form a grid is recently exploited in the Lattice project in the group of Michael Cummings [19]. It is based on the libraries of the BOINC platform[5], the successor technology of the internet-distributed search for extraterrestrial intelligence from Berkeley, for which libraries for Debian exist.

Andreas Tille 2005-05-13