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Re: so what? Re: Debian development modem

On Wed, May 27, 1998 at 05:39:48PM -0500, David Engel  wrote:
> > The bigger question is: does it matter?  most of us have a stable hamm
> > system and have had them for a long time.  does owning a "official" cd
> > make any difference.  I use the CD once -- when I install.  Then it
> > collects dust.  
> Yes, it does matter.  I can no longer recommend Debian to my friends
> and coworkers, because I don't want to have to tell them the hoops
> they have to jump through to get a reasonably current system
> installed.

I'm working on getting a way to mirror the current stuff so I can have CDs
burned for friends and the like.

> I also don't want to have to explain why virtually all of
> the pre-compiled or third-party software they will run across will be
> in a foreign packaging format, and that even if it can be converted to
> a native format, it still may not work for them.

I've made comments to this effect before and nobody seems to hear them.  I
really dislike rpm for many reasons, but unless we give everyone really
significant reason to package .deb's, they won't.  Most who make their stuff
available as .rpm are using FHS which is how Redhat does things.  Debian
doesn't use this and most people don't wanna patch their stuff to fit just
Debian.  Also that Debian and Redhat don't agree on package names at all.

I know a lotta people don't like Redhat, but for the sake of our dist, a
little cooperation between them and us is really a good idea.  For this
reason the Linux standard base everyone keeps talking about sounds like a

> > The system ITSELF is stable, rapidly fixed, and all in
> > all the best Linux I have used.  I bought my bo CD a year ago, I had no
> > idea if Debian was any good.  
> No argument here.  Quality-wise Debian is head and shoulders above
> every other LInux distribution I've seen.  Unfortunately, only the
> Debian developers and small percentage of Linux users ever get to see
> the quality because it never gets released.

A lot of the bugs are with a lot of packages that a lot of people don't use
I have seen.  Perhaps we should consider moving away from versioned dists
and move to a date-based dist in which all new packages start out in an
unstable area and after some criteria is met (time for people using it to
find bugs, any serious bugs being squashed) these packages could be
considered stable...

This sort of design would allow people who need stable systems to be running
a reasonably stable system.  A lot of what is in hamm now could easily be
called stable.  A lot of what's in hamm around December of last year (when I
upgraded to it) could be called stable for that matter.

I'd like to know what people think about this.  Having not been a Linux user
for more than 6 months, perhaps I'm way off base on this.  If I'm not, it'd
make updates happen to the stable tree more often, CD-ROM publishers will
have more chances to sell CDs (or subscriptions for latest CDs) and all in
all things would run smoother IMO..

The downside is the amount of work this would take.  Certainly not wise
before hamm is out (duh) and maybe not even in time for slink--even if
everybody likes it.

The other thought someone had was have a more centralized Debian core dist
which is released independantly of the larger Debian dist..  I think the
Linux standard base thing will do some of this for us if it takes off so it
won't be as important then.

> How long have you been working on Debian?  I've been working on it
> since the 0.92 days.  That must be at least 4 years.  For way too
> long, I maintained all of the core development packages, libc4/5/6,
> gcc, binutils, etc.  I laid the groundwork for both of the major libc
> transitions (4 to 5 and 5 to 6), and spent countless hours porting and
> rebuilding other developer's packages to help speed things along.
> Both times, it took a year or more before that work was released.

I've watched some of this.  Current attempts to curb some of this may or may
not work well or even at all.  I'm hoping.

> You might be asking now, "Well if you did all this before, why haven't
> I heard of you and why aren't you doing anything now.  The reason is
> that I finally got fed up with all of the inane flame wars and power
> plays that seemed to erupt every 2-3 months.  For the last year, I
> decided to keep a low profile, maintain my own packages and see what
> happened.  You know what happened?  The same old things, flame wars,
> power play and no releases.
> Perhaps you understand now why I'm so frustrated.
> > We are here becuase we are making OUR linux
> > better.  If CD's are important they will happen.  But rather than
> > releasing shoddy work, we make a well honed product.
> No, until you release something, there is NO product, at least not one
> ordinary users are willing to use.  What you have right now is a
> quaint, little, community-supported Linux distribution.  And that's
> all it will ever be until things change.

Linux for world domination!  =>  Debian Linux if we can ever get the $@*)&$
thing out the door.  I'm working on some small bugs in packages I use.  I'll
make NMU of anything I fix satisfactorally.  Eventially I'd like to become a
real maintainer, but I don't have anything to maintain yet and am still
ironing out some details of policy interpretation and understanding
debhelper to avoid losing the sanity I have left.

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