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Re: Is Ubuntu a debian derivative or is it a fork?

On Thu, Jun 09, 2005 at 10:36:25AM -0400, David Nusinow wrote:

> I'm sorry, this turned out to be very long-winded, but since many people
> are interested in what's going on with X.Org, I may as well explain to a
> larger audience than debian-x what's in store.

Thanks for bringing concrete information to the discussion.

> What I've decided to do with X.Org is a compromise. I'm using the Ubuntu
> packages as a base, but I've spent the last month doing as careful an
> audit of them as I can, comparing them to the XFree86 packaging, and
> reverting what changes I don't agree with, keeping the ones that I like,
> etc.

Did you discuss these plans with any Ubuntu developers?  How much have you
changed relative to the Ubuntu packages?

>From what I can tell from the changelog, Daniel merged a batch of
changes from Debian XFree86 SVN into the Ubuntu packages in 6.8.2-16, but I
don't know what portion of your changes this represents.

> Furthermore, Branden has had plans to shift the packaging to a different
> patch system, and we plan to move ahead with that as soon as we have X.Org
> packages in the archive. We'll be branching off the trunk which is derived
> from the modified Ubuntu packaging, so while we're using the Ubuntu
> packages as a base (which were the Debian packages originally anyway)
> we're going to make some radical changes to the system. This packaging can
> potentially be used for the X.Org 6.9 release, which will be the last
> monolithic version to be releaseed during the transition to a modular
> tree.  We may never release 6.9 packages in Debian, but this will provide
> us with a good foundation for it if we do.  This work will be done
> independantly of Ubuntu (as no one from Ubuntu seems interested in
> helping) so we'll go it alone.

Ubuntu isn't likely to spend time on another monolithic release, given that
we're in the process of going modular right now.  If your eventual goal is
to use the modular tree as well, why wouldn't you do it immediately, given
the opportunity to use Ubuntu's work as a base?

> As the upstream X.Org tree gets modularized, we're going to begin to work
> on packaging that instead. My personal preference is to use the modular
> tree (which will be entirely equivalent to the 6.9 release otherwise,
> except called 7.0) but if it's not ready for us, we can stick with 6.9, so
> as to get the latest drivers to our users.  Members of both the XSF,
> including myself and Josh Triplett (who's already begun this work) and
> Ubuntu developers (Daniel Stone) will be working on this together. My goal
> is to have as close a tree for both Ubuntu and Debian as possible,
> preferrably the same tree, but again we'll have to see what happens.

Again, I'd be interested to hear details of what you needed to change
relative to the Ubuntu packages in order to achieve a result which you found

> I plan to use the patch system Branden and I will develop for the
> monolithic tree in the modular tree, and if the Ubuntu developers decide
> that this isn't the best option then they can go their own route, unless
> they can demonstrate that an alternate system is preferrable.

We would of course evaluate this decision based on technical merit, but my
knee-jerk reaction would be "why write yet another patch system"?

> So the reality of the situation is that it seems as though we can
> cooperate and remain independant. I'm personally very grateful the Daniel,
> Fabio, and anyone else who worked on X.Org packaging for Ubuntu, since
> it's given me a boost in getting it in to the archive (almost there!) and
> I look forward to collaborating more with them in the future.

I'm glad to hear it.

> Despite this, Debian will remain independant, at least with respect to
> X.Org, in the future. I share Daniel's ambition to have up to date X
> packages in Debian, and I plan to work to make this a reality so that we
> don't have these kinds of discussions in the future. 

I'm not sure what the issue is here regarding independence.  Do you consider
merging the work from Ubuntu into your tree to have created a dependency on
Ubuntu?  It sounds more like healthy cross-pollination to me.

> I'd be surprised if there wasn't a more thorny relationship between Debian
> and Ubuntu than in X packaging

Case studies of particular collaborations (kernel, X.org, much of d-i) seem
to reveal a great deal of success, but outside of those collaborations,
there is still an unfortunate amount of distrust and suspicion of Ubuntu
within the Debian community.  I hope that as more Debian developers have the
opportunity to interact with Ubuntu developers, this will fade in time.

> , but if we can make it work then I urge everyone else to try and do the
> same. The fighting will only harm us all.


 - mdz

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