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Re: What to do about the "Official" CD

On 6/16/99, 6:27:03 AM, Dale Scheetz <dwarf@polaris.net> wrote regarding 
What to do about the "Official" CD:

> When the Official CD was first proposed (by Bruce I believe ;-) it was
> argued that it would give vendors "protection" from distributing 
> archives of the Debian distribution, thus keeping the regular fiasco 
> Infomagic from happening. I argued that it placed any failures back on 
> instead.

> >From my experience maintaining these two releases, I would say that 
> were both wrong. Having an Official CD has not stopped the delivery of
> broken CDs, and it doesn't protect the vendor either. From both the 
> releases I have had customers who became irate at me and Linux Press 
> having produced such a severely broken CD. Even after carefully 
> who produces the CD and where the blame lies, these folks still could 
> separate the responsibility for the product quality from the vendor, 
> apply it to the manufacturer instead.

Humm, Severely broken CD's.  Perhaps if you could be more specific,
it could be FIXED. I assume you are referring to the upgrade 
I disagree with you that the 2.0 and 2.1 Official releases were
"severely" broken.  That would imply that they were useless, and I 
have installed hundreds of machines with those "broken" releases, much
to the satisfaction of their users.

> Cheapbytes has reported the same sorts of problems. Even after they 
> a fixed upgrade script on their web page, folks complained about them 
> fixing it on the CD. Even though they are not allowed to modify the
> "Official" image, it seems to be viewed as their responsibility to
> distribute a "fixed" "Official" CD. As an asside, they also report 
> purchasers of Debian CDs "complain" a BUNCH, when compared to their 
> purchasers of Red Had and the rest. When you add in that they sell 5 
to 10
> times as much of the other products as they do Debian, there seems to 
> some substantial market resistance to Debian!

Don't confuse quantity with success. I too have made THOUSANDS of 2.0 
2.1 CD's and I have not had one complaint about the upgrade scripts. 

> As Testing Coordinator I am painfully aware of the limitations of the
> testing group in dealing with this problem. Even I can not afford to 
> and download the beta image for testing.

> On the other hand, I can see great ways to utilise the testing 
> we have, if we could only find a way to get beta test images into 
> hands.

> Here is what I propose:

> When it comes time to test the beta CD, we pay for a minimal run of
> aluminums (probably no more than a few hundred, at similar dollars). 
> CDs would be used by the testing group and the CD vendors, and be 
> some rigorous testing before the release. With a list of addresses to 
> the CDs to, we could even enlist the help of a fulfillment house and 
> have to be involved in the actual production and distribution of the
> product. This would, of course, add substantially to the costs, but 
> be worth it in terms of turn around time and uniformity of product.

> The finaly testing phase will only involve testers who found problems,
> and can probably be handled in house with toasters and snail mail. (If
> someone sends me a master, I can toast up the handfull for the testers 
> question.

> I have been blessed to have Branden doing the day-to-day operations of 
> testing group, and I commend him for his fine job. So as not to add 
> to his plate, I would be willing to do the leg work for these issues, 
> coordinate the financial issues with SPI if that seems appropriate.

This IS a good idea.  After my being involved in the 2.1 release, I 
the nagging feeling that there were very few of us who actually tested
the "official" immages.  Perhaps if we have a "official" BETA period
where the images would actually be tested by the testing group.  I 
that I would be more than happy to burn some BETA CD's, for the 
perhaps other cd burners would also.

> One additional proposal:

> One of the things I have learned again from my work with the testing
> group is you can't test everything, and something will always fall 
> the cracks. For that reason, we need a way for vendors to submit 
> to the Official image, for authentication by someone here at Debian. 
> should then be allowed to apply those patches to the CDs that they are
> selling. (This may encourage vendors to start new releases with 
> press runs, so they can recover with only small losses.)

Perhaps a bug report?

> I would also like to suggest that vendors be allowed to "add" items to 
> Official image and still call it "Official". (Possibly Official Plus)
> There are lots of occasions where the additions to the CD have 
> no impact on the rest of the image. This becomes clear when you 
> that the "items" they want to add are things like HTML catalogues of 
> products that will be placed in the root directory of the CD.

Actually I am in favior of the "Official" images.  I do not think that
making an "Daves Official" image, would do anything to resolve the
problems you mentioned above.  Additionally there is already a
method to adding Vendor specific information on to the slink_cd
scripts, and there is room on the slink images specifically for
vendor additions.  (slink.extras) .

> One last piece of info:

> This last release I produced ED (Essential Debian), a single CD of the
> essential components of the 2.1 release, and sold it to CheapBytes. As
> they have recieved not one single complaint about this CD, and 
> have sold enough to be willing to pay me for another one, they are
> considering selling my product instead of the Official CD set. While 
> may be good for me, it is clearly not good for Debian.

Oh I dont know, If you are making Debian CD's and people are using
them, I do not see the harm.  Remember that the Slink CD #1 is 
basically as you described....the essential parts of Debian,
and on can install Debian quite nicely from that CD alone.

> I have always been opposed to the Official CD, (although not very
> strongly) but would be much happier with the concept if we could 
> it without our previous misconceptions about purpose and function, and
> apply some additional quality control to its production.
I feel that the "Official" release images is a good
way to quickly provide the CD Vendors with a release that was
Q/C 'd by the testing group, rather than having each CD manufacturer
come up with their own Idea of what should and should not be
put on a Debian disk.

And I aggree that we could use more help testing the releases.
Join us on debian-cd@lists.debian.org, and help us
design/build the next release.


Jim Westveer <jwest@netnw.com>

I get to work, flick the excuse page over.  
Fair enough, it looks like it's going to be a good day.
Jim Westveer                      LAN Comp Systems
jwest@netnw.com                   14524 Issaquah-Hobart Rd
425-392-0141 voice                Issaquah, WA 98027 USA
425-557-0660 fax                  lcs.issaquah.wa.us
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