Re: Debian desktop -situation, proposals for discussion and change. Users point of view.
On Mon, May 14, 2007 at 02:55:40PM +0200, "Mgr. Peter Tuharsky" <firstname.lastname@example.org> was heard to say:
> Debian developers often see "Ubuntu the enemy" and are mocking it as
> inferior technology. However, they fail to see, what does the Debian
> really offer to desktop users eventually. They fail to understand, why
> are they using Ubuntu happily and reference it to novices. It seems,
> that desktop users don't see Debian fitting their needs. What are the means?
When you talk about "desktop users", I think you really mean "novice
consumers". Is that a fair assessment? In my experience, Debian can
work just fine on the desktop in some situations, just not for novice
home users. (think, e.g., about desktops for office workers)
> b, Stability
> It simply depends on, well, luck on choosing the particulary good
> version of software. With stable upstream versions of software, there
> should not be major stability issues anyhow.
> Debian proclaims to offer excellent stability. However, if some
> application does have stability issues, users must wait at least 2 years
> for next "stable" version of Debian to see the fix. The stability is not
> automatically guaranteed by oldness of software and lack of upgrades in
The word "stable" with regard to Debian's repositories doesn't mean
"works without bugs". Every piece of software has bugs, and in general,
if a newer version of the software appears to have less bugs, that's a
reflection of the fact that there's been less time for people to report
the bugs it contains.
Debian stable is "stable" in the sense of "solid rock" versus "shifting
sands": we ensure that the behavior of the system won't change during a
stable cycle. There might be bugs in it, but they'll be the same bugs
throughout stable's lifetime.
Why would you want this?
In a setting where you have people doing productive work using a piece
of software, unnecessary changes to the software are *worse* in the short
term than a fixed and unchangable set of bugs: not only are changes likely
to break the software, but they may require users to retrain or disrupt
the processes of your organization. This is true even if the new software
is an unqualified improvement (either in terms of bug count or usability)
over the old software; look at the backlash over the new Ribbon interface
in Microsoft office, for instance.
Having briefly overseen a small network of Debian systems for a research
group, my sense is that an 18-month cycle would work well in this setting;
anything shorter than a year would be too disruptive.
I await correction from more experienced members of this list who can
tell me I'm full of it. :)