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Re: Bits from the Release Team - Kicking off Wheezy

On Sun, May 01, 2011 at 10:08:46PM +0200, Pierre Habouzit wrote:
> Those are real users from real life. I'm not saying "we"-re
> representative of a majority of Debian Users, but unlike all the
> handwaived users we've read about in this thread, those are real.

First of all I think you should concede that the exercise you're asking
us to do cannot be done as easily as you did yours. You've been able to
mention real users of an existing distro, you are asking others to
provide evidence of users of a thing that does not exist yet; quite
challenging... So you do have an inherent advantage, but let me try

During last year:

- I've talked at several trade shows and conferences with developers of
  rolling distros based on Debian (in particular: Aptosid/Sidux and
  Linux Mint Debian Edition). They usually claim they have built those
  distros because Debian wasn't offering such feature (yes, they should
  have probably tried do that in Debian, NIH syndrome exists, yada yada,
  not to mention the fact they might have said that to me because they
  wanted to be kind towards Debian). It must have been half a dozen

- I've been interviewed in various venues since DebConf10 (probably
  around 10, you can check my bits mails to d-d-a) and in about half of
  them (IIRC!) I've been asked about CUT. At that level, the
  understanding of "CUT" it was probably only like "a testing which is
  meant to be used by final users", nothing more precise than that.
  Still, I take that as a sign of interest from the target public of
  those who has interviewed me.

- At LCA, I had to answer several questions about the fact that one of
  the most important Debian "mistake" in recent years has been to
  "undersell" testing. People asking those questions believe that
  testing, up to the tweaking CUT was meant to add, is a good distro for
  final users. I've mentioned all this in my LCA report [1] way before
  this monster thread. The audience asking those questions was full of
  Debian enthusiasts from various places in the world.

Is the above hand waving? Maybe yes, you name it.

For me it's convincing evidence that there is interest in what we might
have to offer on the front of making targeted to (some kind of) final

Various notes are in order:

- the above do not address stances like "we know better than users"
  (which I don't buy, not because I think users *always* know better,
  but rather because I'm making a Free OS *for* users and I think with
  that comes the moral duty to at least listen to them)

- I've been very vague above wrt CUT/rolling/etc, because for the mere
  point of knowing whether there is a public for a "user-targeted
  testing" I think it doesn't make much of a difference

As I observed on #d-devel earlier on today, I think we will go nowhere
neither with hand waving, nor with head counts coming from narrow
examples of our own lives.  What I've proposed is then to take the
chance of a user survey, on which I'm working, to have a few questions
that might help us knowing more asking directly our community.

If any of you have suggestions on what we can ask to users to help out
in this dilemma, please mail me. (Requirements are: no open-ended
questions and a maximum of 2-3 questions on this specific topic.)


[1] http://upsilon.cc/~zack/blog/posts/2011/01/who_the_bloody_hell_cares_about_Debian/

Stefano Zacchiroli -o- PhD in Computer Science \ PostDoc @ Univ. Paris 7
zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} -<>- http://upsilon.cc/zack/
Quando anche i santi ti voltano le spalle, |  .  |. I've fans everywhere
ti resta John Fante -- V. Capossela .......| ..: |.......... -- C. Adams

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