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Re: A suggestion

On Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 08:35:51AM -0700, Mike Bird wrote:
> The OP makes an important point.  Debian is losing users and relevance.
> Although Debian supports a wider range of architectures than Ubuntu,
> the reality is that Debian now targets a much narrower audience - the
> "old hardware crowd".
> Popcon[0] records 97% of hits from just the i386 and amd64 architectures,
> yet packages are frequently delayed for weeks or even months while
> architectures enjoying 0.1% popcon scores struggle to catch up.
> Lenny is still only at linux kernel 2.6.22, which means little support
> for hardware up to a year old!  Sid is not suitable for most people,
> and most people lack the skills or inclination to install and maintain
> a mix of Lenny and Sid.
> Stable has linux kernel 2.6.18, which means little support for hardware
> up to two years old, and six months still to go before the next version.
> Ubuntu has a much better handle on the issue of producing timely
> releases, but Ubuntu is also quirky and very much "my way or the
> highway".  I would hate to be unable to continue using Debian.
> The next DPL should have a solid plan for reversing Debian's decline.
> If this means that some architectures fall by the wayside for lack of
> interest then so be it.  Better to lose several 0.1% architectures
> than for Debian as a whole to continue the slide towards irrelevance.

Part of what is making Debian relevant is that it does support so many
architectures so consistently.  Debian aims to be complete and as good
as possible.  Ubuntu aims to do most things for most people, and who
cares about the rest.  This makes Ubuntu a subset of Debian, and hence
much easier to maintain.  If Ubuntu serves you better, go ahead and use
that.  Many debian developers work on both Ubuntu and Debian as far as I
can tell, and it seems to be improving lots of things for both systems.
I would hate to see Debian drop stuff just because the majority of users
find it inconvinient to be delayed at times by the minority.  Often the
delays caused by other architectures cause bugs to be found and fixed
that would otherwise have gone unnoticed for much longer.

It does seem that some architectures are being demoted to second class
in future releases, so perhaps you will get your wish at some point.

Remember that what you consider "my way or the highway" in Ubuntu is
very much what would be happening if the x86 crown gets to ditch the
other architectures in Debian because they slow things down.

Len Sorensen

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