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Re: Future of Debian uncertain?

On Tue, Feb 25, 2003 at 03:43:04PM -0600, John Goerzen wrote:
> RH, SuSE, and Mandrake are aiming squarely at new Linux users.  Debian is
> aiming at more experienced users.  Debian is not trying to play the
> "marketing" game, so it's OK if we're used by fewer absolute people.

Show me where in our constitution, social contract, or any other
official document we make the official claim that we are "aiming at more
experienced users".  We make no such claim.  Further show me how it's OK
for the self-proclaimed "universal operating system" to have fewer
users.  Are we the universal operating system, or are we a niche product
for a few select "advanced" users?

The fact is, we have no aim whatsoever, and that's why we end up trying
to be everything to everybody.  IMHO, we don't do a very good job of it.

We have no guidelines for what software we can package, aside from the
restriction that the license must allow it, so we accept them all.  Is
it really that important that we have over a dozen FTP servers in our
distro?  Must we really package every dockapp for every window manager
ever written?

We have no guidelines in terms of what hardware platforms we support, so
we support them all.  Tell me, how many are actively working on m68k (or
ARM or MIPS or MIPSEL or one of the other marginal architectures)?  Are
they working on the new installer?  If they don't, and nobody else cares
enough about those architectures, will we simply block forever, or will
we eventually drop that architecture?  To me, it looks as though we'd
simply block forever, because we've certainly never given any indication
that we are willing to drop support for an architecture.

We have no restrictions on who can join Debian, besides the fact that
they must understand and support our committment to free software.
IMHO, this must change.  There are certain things that need more
attention in Debian, and there are certain things that don't.  We don't
need the developers who join simply because they want to be able to say
they're Debian developers.  It's fasionable to be a Debian developer
right now.  I don't think it's smart to accept just any developer, just
as I don't think it's smart to accept just any package or any

Commercial entities only hire when there are jobs open.  We have job
openings.  We need people to work on the new installer, for one thing.
We have more than enough packages already, and we don't need more
package maintainers.

Debian cannot grow forever along all three of these axes.


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