Re: on forming a new Linux Distribution
Well, admittedly I am rather suprised at this.
Although Bruce's post is so calmly worded that it is difficult to find
fault, a "bird's eye" view of his actions produces a scene that really
makes me wonder. The most revolting thing to me is that this whole tantrum
stems from the fact that Manoj Shrivasta would not allow Bruce to
dictate what his motivations for writing free software should be.
Bruce could have followed the great Freeware tradition of building
concensus by putting togethor a team of Debianites dedicated to
creating a newbie-friendly wrapper for the technically excellent
Debian distribution. Instead he selected a person almost diametrically
opposed with his viewpoint and built an otherwise small and
questionable issue into a conflict ultimatly ending in his resignation
from the Debian group.
Free Software is all about diversity. Any development effort that
wants to grow to a significant size needs to understand that. The best
way to make a friendly Linux distribution (be it Debian or any other
name you should chose) is not to eliminate all the people who are
deeply interested in the technical component of the work. The people
who want to make something for the new users should cooperate with the
die hard hackers to create a system that perserves both sets of needs.
Either extreme is lopsided.
At a fundamental level I question the proposition that Debian is not
concerned with usability. Beyond that I question the fact that RedHat
is so much more usable than Debian. It may install easier, but is it
easier to run? You spend a few hours installing your system, you spend
years running it.
In the interest of diversity and competition I support the idea of a
Debian faction or even an alternate distribution that is focused on
the user. I cannot endorse the extreme (ditch dpkg, go work for
RedHat) that Bruce has gone to.
My personal feeling is that every man hour that Debian loses to this
effort is one man hour too many. I had understood that Bruce had a lot
going on personally and the demands of Debian were simply too great.
Apparently he is willing to take on the even larger project of
rebuilding Debian from scratch. Rather than duplicate a lot of effort
I would suggest that Bruce gird up his loins like a man and come back
to the Debian effort to establish a usability commitee.
On Wed, Apr 29, 1998 at 08:05:00PM -0700, Bruce Perens wrote:
> I've been giving serious thought for a while to forming a new Linux
> distribution. My reason is to fulfill some goals that currently are
> not addressed by Debian or the commercial distributions.
> 1. Focus on the User
Who is the real user? An experienced hacker or a person who has no
understanding of Linux at all? Perhaps we should get rid of the
command line? Create a registry?
> 2. Maintaining a non-commercial alternative to the commercial Linux
> I think Debian's drifted too far from the mainstream of Linux
> to continue to fulfill this purpose.
Totally do not follow this line of reasoning. See the slashdot poll on
distribution preference. It shows Debian a close second to Red Hat.
> 8. Marketing On An Equal Footing with Engineering
I don't recall anyone forbidding the development of marketing
materials. The only cold blanket I've ever seen marketing wise was the
selection of "old blue eye" as a logo. I could give you the opinions
of professionals on that drawing as a logo if you are not interested
> RPM as the package system - possibly with an APT port later on
> (is that what it's called now?). It's necessary to get the other
> distributions in on the project. We'd have to add a few missing
> features to RPM, but this would be pretty easy to do.
> No obscentity. Avoids legal problems and makes _me_ feel better.
> There is lots of room for free-speech distribution sites on the net.
Well, I hope you can get bitchx, Satan and the other daemons on board.
ps. Bah humbug.
Ean Schuessler Director of Strategic Weapons Systems
Novare International Inc. A Devices that Kill People company
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