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Re: Senseless Bickering and Overpoliticization

On Tue, Aug 31, 1999 at 05:13:25PM -0700, Brent Fulgham wrote:
> If we are not willing to make decisions about when a release is
> going to happen and then create strictures that encourage people
> to do so, we will have longer and longer cycles between releases.

Brent -

  I am not an extremely active Debian developer. I maintain a few packages;
that's all. As a result my opinion probably shouldn't sway Debian as a whole
too much, but I'd like to add a few comments.

  I agree wholeheartedly with you. The Debian constitution is an example of
one such attempt to smooth our community's efficiency, but as everyone has
seen by now that it had very little impact (besides defining Debian a little
bit more clearly to the outside world). It clearly expressed common practice
in writing, and made a few enhancements -- but overall, our efficiency as an
organization has not improved.

> Perhaps we should just do away with the whole concept of releases,
> as it is not really meaningful.  I have been running on unstable
> for years, and aside from the occasional perl upgrade or whatnot
> things are fine.  Why not just say, our distribution is our
> unstable archive.  Every so often we copy it over to a new archive
> and give it a release name.  We could make such a "copy" prior to
> landing some major horkage (like the great X reorg or the Perl update)
> and continue.

This causes a problem -- Debian will become what it is rumored to be, and
that is hackwerware. Many in the corporate world are under the impression
that Debian's nature makes it less useful in a commercial setting than its

As a side note, 'obsolete' software as seen by the Linux community does 99%
of what most people want to do *today*. Just because you don't have glibc
2.1.1 or the latest egcs snapshot doesn't mean you're going to run into
problems -- unless you're doing something very unusual.

> Debian has gone from being the best technical distribution, to being
> quite stable but way way out of date.  It is embarrassing to see
> the reviews we get, comparing our 2.0.X kernel distro to the latest
> and greatest SuSe or similar.  Reviewers having to go out and
> download GNOME from the web, etc., because they can't get a full
> set from Debian.  This has to stop.

I suggest that something be done:

Someone needs to study up and get a chronological list of attempts that have
been made at making the Debian beaurocratic machine a bit more efficient.

Get a list of all privileged positions currently existing within Debian,
outlining the specific role of each, and the history of each.

By doing this, we can more clearly see what people have *tried* to do to
solve this problem in the recent past, and perhaps why each attempt hasn't
been as effective as hoped.

If Debian as a whole can come to a consensus that the democratic (read:
every member has an equal amount of instant influence on the project's path,
like ancient Greece) structure needs a bit of re-thinking, a moderated (but
available to the public) discussion should be held about reorganization.
Only a small number of the most well-known players in Debian should be
allowed to participate, if they want to. Participants would hopefully
consult the rest of the community for ideas.

If this discussion can yield any workable political outline for Debian, it
should be voted upon.

Note that the first big step is probably the BIGGEST step: do Debian
developers think things need to change? Is there a consensus?

And note that this is about POLITICAL structure, not regulating technical
issues. As usual, the inner workings of Debian should be upheld. That is, he
who feels a technical issue is important enough to spend his time to address
has control over the domain he has claimed (upon presentation of working
code, of course).

..Aaron Van Couwenberghe... ..vanco@sonic.net.. ..aaronv@debian.org....
	Berlin:			http://www.berlin-consortium.org
	Debian GNU/Linux:	http://www.debian.org

There are three kinds of people in this world: those who can count and
	those who can't.

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