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Re: Some thoughts about problems within Debian

On Fri, 2002-01-04 at 09:33, Bas Zoetekouw wrote:
> While of course what you are saying here is formally correct, this
> shouldn't mean that a project consisting of hackers (such as Debian),
> shouldn't have a clear internal structure, a clear idea of what things
> people can work on, or clear ideas of what the problems in the project
> are. 

See below.

> > The target audience is everyone who uses a computer.
> OK, but that is not very clear a goal. What do we want with all those
> people? Do we want them all to use Debian? If so, what should be done to
> accomplish this goals?

Yes, of course we want them all to use Debian; we claim to be the
Universal Operating System.  

What the exact steps should be to accomplish this goal aren't completely
clear to me, and I doubt they are to anyone else either.  We have come a
long way, but there is a lot more to do.  Just for example, take the
thread about Euro support.  Certainly, Europe is part of the Universe
which we want to support.  So, all of Debian needs to support the Euro.
Well, how do we do that?  For some programs this may require something
as trivial as setting an environment variable, but for others it could
be quite complex, requiring code/program design changes.  So even the
steps to getting to full Euro support aren't well defined.

For something even more nebulous, how about *full* Unicode support? 
Even a goal that upon a cursory glance seems as concrete as "a full
replacement for Microsoft Word" has innumerable substeps.

I think Debian is really defined not by its internal structure, or even
things like the Social Contract or the DFSG, but by the people, who
choose what to work on at will.  We have to have some concrete
definition (i.e. policy, the DFSG), of course, or things would
disintegrate into chaos, but just creating structure doesn't make people
work on filling it in.  

I guess what I am really trying to say is that the goal is so ambitious
that we can only work on it in small chunks.  So if one particular
problem is bothering you (like Euro support), then start a subgroup
within Debian to work on those programs, and create a list of things
people can work on in that group.  Then people who are interested in
that general area can look at that list of specific tasks to do.


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