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custom vs. derivative (Re: packages.gz corrupt, missing packages and other issues)

On Mon, Mar 31, 2008 at 08:19:10AM +0200, Andreas Tille wrote:
> Is there any reason to do this outside Debian or would you consider
> tp follow the path of Debian-Junior who is supporting "the other end
> of the age scale" ;-) _INSIDE_ Debian.  Your are asking on a list that
> is about doing customisations _inside_ Debian!

while i fully support pushing to include everything entirely within
Debian, i think it's important to acknowledge that *sometimes* it may
actually be better to develop a proof of concept outside of Debian

i think debian-edu (a.k.a. skolelinux) is a fine example of this, and
it's clearly made huge progress towards full integration within Debian
proper, but it still doesn't meet a strict definition of a custom debian
distribution (a handful of packages and the CD/DVD images are outside of
Debian still). but the intention is clearly and genuinely to integrate
into debian, and that's what i think really matters.

working outside of debian has has pros and cons, the biggest con being
the very real risk of good ideas never actually making it back into
Debian. that's not to be taken lightly. there's also the possibility of
duplicated work.

on the other hand, i think you can't also disregard the power in the
enthusiasm of getting something working *right now* vs. waiting for some
changes to get accepted within Debian, which can be an unreasonably long
wait sometimes. waiting for bug fixes, some new version or new package
uploaded, slow buildd's stalling progress to testing, whatever ... can
discourage people from making good progress that might be integrated
into Debian.

either way, we *might* loose improvements to Debian.

there are so many similarities in the issues that derivatives and custom
debian distributions face that it seems important to me to encourage
cooperation and collaboration between the various projects, even if they
do not make the same choices and priorities.

in the end, yes, it's *great* to fix it within Debian, but i hope we can
envision ways to help derivatives transition into fully fledged custom

BOF at debconf8, anyone? :)

live well,

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