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Re: [gnu.misc.discuss,gnu.emacs.gnus] Free software: Packagers vs Developers

>>"Darren" == Darren O Benham <gecko@debian.org> writes:

 Darren> On Thu, Jul 01, 1999 at 08:37:17PM +0200, Rafael Laboissiere wrote:
 >> a) It is legal, so you have no right to complain.
 >> b) _We_ test the code, so _we_ know when it is ready.
 >> c) Our users demands it.
 Darren> It might be legal, but it's a deplorable attitude.

 >> would be nice if some ethical guidelines among packagers could be

        Ethical? Are we trying to annoy Debian developers here?

 >> developed to supplement the current Debian rules, like:
 Darren> First, words like "never" are going to cause problems.

 >> 1) _Never_ distribute alpha releases.
 Darren> add, as default.  There are cases where you might want to distribute
 Darren> development versions... Libraries are an example.

        There are other reasons (therefore this may have to be handled
 on a case by case basis). One of them being that the upstream
 development has stalled, though the final product is usable, it has
 not been awarded released status (we did release gnome, and fvwm2
 when it seemed stuck forever, and there are other packages that come
 to mind)

 >> 2) _Never_ distribute improved versions.

        I would strongly object to this. One of the goals fo Debian is
 to create the best possible distribution there is. By all means pass
 the improvement back upstream. But one of the basic tenets of free
 softwware is that one may improve any free software, and pass along
 the improvements.

 Darren> I assume you mean, "with added major features" or "with any changes"

 >> 3) _Never_ distribute with different "user preference" options 
 >> than the default.
 Darren> This is one of the main issues that makes one distribution better than
 Darren> another.  To take an example, various IRC clients usually come with a
 Darren> default server to where ever the author normally chats but it would be
 Darren> better for Debian if the default server was set to irc.us.debian.org
 >> debian, instead.  

        Secondly, we may have to modify options to better fit Debian Policy.

 >> While this may make the individual distribution "worse" on the short
 >> term, having the code released by the developers being as close as
 >> possible to the code used by the users should improve the quality of
 >> the feedback from users to developers, and improve the quality of the
 >> code for everybody on a slightly longer term.

        I would prefer that Debian pass any improvements back to the
 upstream developers, and take it from there. I would think that the
 packagers can filter out the simple errors/pilot errors, and ask for
 and provide additional information, so that it is easier for upstream
 to debug the possible causes (Debian developers do tend to be more
 technically competent than the average user out there, I would think.

 Darren> Why not change the license to match the desires of the team?
 Darren> A better solution is for any distributor who modifies the
 Darren> software in some way becomes a liason between the developer
 Darren> and the user of that particular package.  The packager can
 Darren> decide what issues are a result of his changes and what is an
 Darren> "upstream" issue.  Of course, this only works when the
 Darren> software developers are willing to work with packagers...

        Well said.

 "An honest god is the noblest work of man.  ... God has always
 resembled his creators.  He hated and loved what they hated and loved
 and he was invariably found on the side of those in power. ... Most
 of the gods were pleased with sacrifice, and the smell of innocent
 blood has ever been considered a divine perfume." Robert G. Ingersoll
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
Key C7261095 fingerprint = CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05  CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E

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