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Wrong comparisons [was: etch before vista]

A Mennucc dijo [Fri, Mar 24, 2006 at 07:41:39PM +0100]:
> hi everybody
> According to the latest [1] Microsoft announcement, Vista will be released
> in Jan 2007; according to our schedule [2],  Etch may be released in Dec 2006.
> If we accomplish it, it will be a great feat: Debian will (possibly)
> show it is able to relase two versions of its distribution since Jul
> 2002 (= woody release); whereas Microsoft seems unable to release its
> own O.S. (even though XP has been out since Dec 2001, if I recall
> correctly).
> Yes guys, it means
> (...pseudo-stats...)
> Amazing.


Free and propietary software development are two beasts so far apart
and so different in means, in scope and almost in every conceivable
sense that I have to answer to your mail ;-)

Don't try to compare "us" and "them". Don't try to turn it into a
race. What if we win? What if we lose? Is OpenBSD better because it
releases more often and they write all of the code (to their base
system)? Are we worse because we take so damn long to release a new
stable version, even if we just fix the bugs and package the software
but don't always write it ourselves? Then Apple should die quite soon,
as MacOS X has not seen a major update since it was born, over six
years ago (it was 2000, right?)

Different software development projects, different developer
communities and different operating systems as a whole cater to
different needs. Sometimes we can -carefully- measure certain aspects
against each other, but if we want to be fair, if we don't want to be
judged as FUD-machines, we should avoid hollow comparisons as this

Some time ago, I defended Debian's long release cycle by pointing out
the average user does not like to change - After all, Windows 98 is
still too common everywhere (and I could still say so today, as about
half of my Institute's PCs run Win98)... But I would not claim the
same today. Once again, Windows and Debian are both operating systems,
have both their advantages and disadvantages, but have clearly
different intentions.

How can we then measure up against Evil Propietary Software? Well,
start by believing we are morally superior (which I do believe). Look
at the sheer amount of code, and the average quality of two similar
pieces of software. Yes, sometimes we will win, sometimes we will
lose, but Free Software is maturing and becoming attractive every day
for more people.

Oh! And the best thing: If you want Debian(/Linux/*BSD/whatever) to
beat Windows(/MacOS/HPUX/whatever), there is something very easy you
can do: Code, document, report, fix, translate, meet, facilitate.


Gunnar Wolf - gwolf@gwolf.org - (+52-55)5623-0154 / 1451-2244
PGP key 1024D/8BB527AF 2001-10-23
Fingerprint: 0C79 D2D1 2C4E 9CE4 5973  F800 D80E F35A 8BB5 27AF

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