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[custom] The term "flavor" and encouraging work on Debian


Recently, when thinking about the terminology surrounding Debian
Subprojects, I thought about the term "flavor". I always liked that
term, because I find it very descriptive.

I wrote to Zenaan Harkness concerning Debian Enterprise
(http://debian-enterprise.org/), and I suggested that such a subproject
would not be creating just one "Custom Distribution", but a set of
pre-defined choices. Debian Enterprise could, for example, have an
install-time option to set up a file and print server, an authentication
server, or a web server. Those would be _flavors_, in my view. Despite
all that has been written and referenced on this list concerning these
terms, I don't think they are enterily satisfactory. So, I suggest the
following choice of words to clarify "subproject" and "flavor":

Debian is the super-project.
        Debian Enterprise is a Debian Subproject that creates
        a Custom Debian Distribution,
        with the flavors "file and print server", "authentication
        server" and "web server".

Actually, I'd like to see the term "Custom Debian Distribution" be set
aside because a "custom" something is created each time someone modifies
an original. Debian Enterprise certainly is an original. By the time a
capable sysadmin has installed it, it will (probably) be "custom".
("Custom Custom Debian Distribution", anyone ?)

The term suggests that the distribution is "not-Debian", which is
unneccessary and confusing. The term "Subproject" suggests that
something is "part-of-Debian", which is to be encouraged.

A Subproject could extend debian-installer to create a set of related
install-time choices. These would be "flavors". (Of course, Debian
itself could also have such flavors.) I really don't see the point of
encouraging more derivative distributions that possibly fork off into
projects of their own, even if it's just a choice of words.

Also, a clean structure will help when explaning things to any of the
target audiences of Debian Enterprise, Debian-NP, Debian-Lex, any of the
other subprojects, or when someone asks about "road maps", "release
schedules", etc. Additionally, "Custom" does not sit well when
introducing Debian Enterprise to your managers. ("Why do we have to use
a custom system? That sounds expensive. Let's go for Windows 2003, that
at least works out of the box with no custom stuff in it.")

Allowing people to mix and match as they like is also a good thing,
which can be achieved if working within Debian and sharing the same
package pool. If you look at Bdale's platform from the last DPL
election, you'll see that he summarized these things quite nicely:

So I suggest the following terms:

Debian is the super-project.
        XYZ is a Debian Subproject,
        which provides the flavors A, B and C.

Fabian Fagerholm <fabbe@paniq.net>

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