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Canonical and Debian

On Sun, Jun 05, 2005 at 06:32:10PM +0200, Josselin Mouette wrote:
> Le dimanche 05 juin 2005 ? 18:20 +0200, Wouter Verhelst a ?crit :
> > > Oh, great. I forgot that Canonical's business model is to use Ubuntu as
> > > an upstaging area for Debian, so that we're always lagging behind. Will
> > > the next development decisions also be taken by some Canonical staff?
> > 
> > Yes. "Canonical" actually means "Cabal".
> > 
> > There. Happy now?
> Is the Cabal supposed to be the pendant of the Godwin point for
> Debian-related discussions? We all know there *is* a cabal, since the
> latest DPL election and that Vancouver proposal. Trying to shift the
> conversation to a supposedly legendary topic is purely rhetorical, and
> doesn't answer the question:
> Are, as of today, Canonical and its employees the sole people
> responsible for important technical and political decisions within the
> project?

If you're going to complain about a cabal, please do try to get the
facts straight: The DPL team consists of only one Canonical employee,
who was even later, after the election, added (Benjamin "Mako" Hill),
and in Vancouver, again there was only one[1] single Canonical employee
present (James Troup). All the others involved with either of those two
groups are not involved in Canonical at all, and only one or two are
marginally involved in Ubuntu.
> This is a real question, that deserves something else than "there is no
> cabal" as an answer. Debian has succeeded so far as the project was
> independent from any institution or company. If this changes, we're
> going to a dead end.

All the teams that are occasionally accused of cabalistic
characteristics are composed of a diverse group of DD's, and I dare say
that they are composed of a group of DD's that simply have shown genuine
interest and constructive contributions to the team's goal at hand. In
other words, those teams consist of those doing the work. I'll be the
first to admit that indeed the admittance to such teams might be a bit
obscure to those not following closely what's happening, but if
someone's genuinly interested in contributing to any particular task,
there's always a lot to do also for relatively outsiders, and that's the
way you can show competence and make a step towards joining.

If you believe that it is impossible, I can assure you I've doing
exactly the above. Considering I've started my NM process beginning of
2004, hardly knowing any other DD, and I'm a DD for less than half a
year now, I think one can say it can't be that bad. For what it's worth,
I did feel and do still feel that some parts of Debian are too obscure
to join and contribute to, it's not that I don't think that can be

One of the things I've done to try to improve the situation,
was mobilizing a group of somewhat-like-minded people in the form of a
DPL team. I know results so far are sparse, especially seeing we're
approaching 2 months since the election now, but releasing Sarge has
drained a significant amount of energy of a number of people so far :-/.
I plan to give more attention to this stuff real soon now, and also in
Helsinki, I hope a number of brainstorm sessions on issues like this
will result in good and new idea's on various subjects.

As always, constructive idea's and posts about issues in Debian not
running as smoothly as they maybe could are always appreciated, but just
complaining about being doomed with Canonical ruling Debian, or
something like that, is not constructive at all, rather, it'll only hurt
cooperation. And isn't cooperation one of the founding reasons for the
Open Source movement, that one can share idea's and code, in order to
all together make the greatest software about?

Thanks for listening,

[1] Colin Watson was not present, but indeed he was one of the
    supporters of the Vancouver proposal too, so that makes 3

Jeroen van Wolffelaar
Jeroen@wolffelaar.nl (also for Jabber & MSN; ICQ: 33944357)

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