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Re: Why does Ubuntu have all the ideas?

Your message came off as somewhat accusatory toward Debian, and positioned
Debian and Ubuntu as rivals engaged in a struggle.  I'll try to address your
points individually, but please try to take a less inflammatory stance.  The
relationship between Debian and Ubuntu is a sensitive topic with some, and
this kind of portrayal can easily lead to unproductive arguments.

I'm responding to this message primarily in my role representing Ubuntu, but
having been a Debian developer for several years as well, some of my views
stem from a Debian perspective as well.

On Fri, Jul 28, 2006 at 09:02:57AM -0600, Katrina Jackson wrote:
> To Whom It May Concern,
>    I am concerned Debian isn't trying to meet people's needs enough.    You
> seem to have so many more people working for you, and you both use the same
> format for things, so it doesn't make sense to me why you can't keep up with
> Ubuntu.

Debian and Ubuntu have different goals, both at the project level and in
terms of features.  It may be that Ubuntu meets your personal needs better
than Debian does, but this doesn't mean that Debian doesn't care about
people's needs.  It may be that they care about the needs of a different
class of user, or are simply focusing on different goals at different times.
You shouldn't take this as an indication that Debian isn't succeeding.

> C.  You seem to worry only about packaging.  You push people to package.
> But you don't focus on making your OS better.  Ubuntu has made so many nice
> features for their OS that you don't seem to do.  I really don't know why.
> I think you need to emphsise less packaging and more focus on making your
> current OS better for people.  Why does Ubuntu have to have all the great
> ideas for their users?  One example:  They have a pop up telling you updates
> are ready.  Now maybe you now have this feature, I don't know, but I see
> great ideas like this every six months with Ubuntu, and I see nothing from
> debian.  Except apt, but man, one nice thing a decade is pretty slow.

Packaging is a function which Debian fulfills better than any other
distribution today.  Without the packages built and maintained by Debian
developers, Ubuntu could not exist, much less build more specialized
distributions based on this platform.

Your specific example actually takes the form of a package, called
update-notifier.  This package and its supporting components were sponsored
by Canonical and produced for Ubuntu, but is now also a part of Debian.  You
should only need to install it in order to get similar functionality.

> D.  Going back to C., doesn't is concern you you have so many programmers
> but so few good new Ideas for your OS compared to Ubuntu that will help
> your users?  How do they have 10 times the good ideas you seem to.  And
> furthermore, when a good idea is presented to them they say, "good idea,
> we should impliment that" not "there's plenty of documantation, do it
> yourself".

This is much the same as your point B., and my thoughts are the same.
Debian is doing a great deal of good work, though it may not be along the
lines of what you have in mind.

> E.  Going back to the last statement, I could write an entire email on how
> people think you guys are so unapproachable and so down right mean to users
> who make these suggestions.   Users' concerns mean nothing to you.  ***If
> they did you would be spending as much time as Ubuntu coming up with great
> ideas to revoultionize your OS to better meet people's needs***  Why are you
> so mean?  I know you will either ignore this letter or rip my head off, but
> somebody needs to tell you.

I have to agree that there has historically been a difficult relationship
between the Debian community and new or uninformed users.  The culture has
been such that innocent mistakes and ignorance have been met with more
aggression than understanding.  Many people involved with Debian have
acknowledged this problem, though, and are working to correct it.  I don't
think this reputation is as deserved as it may have been in the past.  The
idea of a Code of Conduct for Debian, inspired by that of Ubuntu, has gained
some support, including that of the runner-up for this year's project leader

Consider that in discussing this issue, it is you who are hypocritically
taking an aggressive stance, and attacking Debian rather than working
cooperatively.  Why not think about ways to improve the situation, propose
them, and even help to implement those ideas?

 - mdz

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