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

On Thu, Jun 09, 2005 at 09:45:42AM -0700, Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> > 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?

Yes, all of this has gone on at debian-x, and Daniel has been enormously
helpful with the process, even if he isn't happy about the fact that I'm
auditing things. Most of the Ubuntu changes, for example the reworking of
the xserver debconf configuration scripts, I kept almost completely
(merging in whatever fixes went in to the xfree86 tree after the Ubuntu
branch). The remainder of the changes are either re-branding to Debian or
merges from the latest xfree86 packaging tree.

> 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.

Yes he did, and I took those in to account in what I've been doing.

> 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?

Because the modular tree does not really exist yet. The work is ongoing and
there are a few modular trees which are unofficial, but the real one is yet
to be finished and the server portion is barely begun (as far as the public
CVS tree goes). Daniel has such a tree on his hard drive, but it's not in
the X.Org CVS, and as such I don't really want to work on packaging it
until I feel comfortable that the rest of the X.Org developers will accept
the work. I also don't feel comfortable with actually doing the
modularization with upstream at this point (due to my own skill level), so
I can either wait for upstream to progress or work towards providing the
best possible option for the 6.9 (monolithic) tree, should we need it.

> 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
> suitable.

In all honesty, they're minimal. I began the task with full confidence in
Daniel and Fabio's work, and that confidence has been more than justified
in my eyes.

> > 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"?

The transition to a modular tree will require a new patch system anyway, so
the question is which one to use? The current packages use dbs, which is
sub-optimal. Branden has a well-founded desire for a patch system that has
dependencies, and quilt seems to fit the bill. For me, quilt also has the
most intuitive interface, and it has been proven for use in the kernel
(it's Andrew Morton's patch management scripts). There was a good use-case
writeup posted to debian-x (see the patch management discussion for a link)
which helped sway Branden's opinion as well. If anyone wants to contribute
to the discussion, they're free to do so. Daniel hasn't said on-list as to
what patch management system he's planning to use (I'd imagine it's a lower
priority than the other work he's doing), so I'm hoping he'll look in to
quilt and find it suitable as well.

> > 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.

That's exactly what I mean, it's healthy. We're not sitting around, blindly
putting whatever packages Ubuntu releases in to Debian, we're taking an
active role in their creation and maintainance. Hopefully our packages will
converge to the point where the only difference is branding.

> 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.

I hope so too, but we have to be willing to meet each other and cooperate.
I think what Joey is saying about having the Ubuntu maintainer work with or
in Debian teams, and basically use a personal approach rather than a
technical one, is the best way to do this. I know Ubuntu doesn't have that
many people working on it, so you guys can't be everywhere at once, but
having Daniel helping from one side and Branden from the other has been
enormously beneficial to this X newbie in getting these packages moving.
The fact that it's a personal touch from each, rather than just an
automated BTS mail, really does go a long way, and I'm enormously grateful
for it.

 - David Nusinow

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