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Re: Debian development modem (was The broken libjpeg-6b is in RH 5.1)

Dear all,

	I've been reading this thread for a little while, and although I'm
not maintaining anything (yet...), I think a user's point of view might be
relevant. I installed hamm about 6 weeks ago, and have had very few
problems with it. That was easy for me, 'cos I'm in Cambridge, so have a
very speedy net connection :). The problem seems to be that although for
people like me who can get packages very easily, Debian is technologically
superior (and possibly more stable) than dists. like RH (which seems to
make very buggy releases), other people who have to rely on CDs for all
but the smallest of upgrades are still stuck with bo.

	Now Debian is a community-based project, which is partly what
attracted me to it (and I suspect I may not be the only one in that
respect), and indeed I hope to maintain a package or two in the near
future, but this means that it cannot really expect to have the same
marketing clout as a `commercial' distribution like RH. Nevertheless, we
could attract a lot more users if the CDs were anything like as up-to-date
as what is on the mirrors. Debian may well be at the cutting edge, but a
lot of users are unable to be as up-to-date, which is frustrating for
them, a marketing nightmare, and no doubt a pain in the ass for developers
who would no doubt like people to be able to use the latest fruits of
their labours. Indeed Debian seems to have a reputation amongst the Linux
users in Cambridge of never releasing anything. I know this isn't fair,
but I can see how that image has occured.

	There isn't an easy answer though - it's probably worth trying to
release more CDs (or perhaps a script to enable people like me to make cd
images from the version of hamm currently on the mirror and give them to
my friends), but equally we musn't fall into RH's trap of releasing buggy
dists. (although the support here is free :) ). This of course means that
testing needs to be done, which takes time. I wonder whether more users
could be involved in testing - it's not obvious how to do this from the
website, and so I'm reluctant to volunteer without knowing how much is
involved, though it seems to me that every hamm system is a potential
testbed - and if this potential is harnessed then perhaps we could get
releases out more rapidly. 

	I do also wonder about the political overtones that sometimes crop
up in both the users and developers lists. I realise that almost and group
of people will generate political tension, but some of it seems a little
unneccessary, and perhaps in some cases an `official' line might help,
rather than the bickering that sometimes occurs, and just puts people off.
I know Debian is a community project, but the in-fighting doesn't help.

	I hope some of the above is of help. If you want to flame me,
don't bother forwarding it to the mailing list. I'm new to Debian, and I
like it very much. I want the project to go forward, so I'm trying to be
helpful... :)

With kind regards,


Elen sila lumenn' omentielvo

Steward-elect of the Cambridge Tolkien Society
Selwyn College Computer Support

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