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Re: Improving our response to "duplicate" packages in Debian

On Sun, Jul 01, 2012 at 08:34:01AM +1000, Craig Small wrote:
> > "pet projects" as the price we need to pay to make participation in
> > Debian very attractive (not even talking about the role that "pet
> That's a good way of putting it.  Also who can predict what is really a
> pet project.  I bet the first medical related project that was ITP'ed
> on Debian people were thinking 'huh, why that here?' and yet I hear now
> there is quite a large and vibrant community around this sort of thing.

To base the feelings expressed here on numbers I evaluated the
questionaire for Debian Med developers Charles was hinting to[1].  We
have 9DDs + 1DM inside Debian only because the Debian Med project
exists.  Of these 10 people 7 extended their scope to other teams (some
of them by leaving Debian Med more or less completely to focus on other

I would like to stress that one of the main ideas behind Debian Pure
Blends is to dive deeply into very specific fields and "hunt" for the
specialists there to make Debian the distribution of choice for specific
workfields.  I tried to graph this idea on slide 13 of my Banja Luka
talk last year[2] and in the same way on slide 8 of my recent talk in
Grenoble[3] were I did put the focus on the fact that Debian does not
simply carry random medical stuff but we should rather see the Debian
Med project which made quite good progress to advertise Debian in the
world of biology and to some extend in medical care (which is a bit
harder).  It is my very strong opinion that if we manage to settle into
different workfields with an exceptional quality we will gain for much
more users (und thus potential developers) via cross-connections to
other fields.

When I started the MoM project[4] I kept this in mind to train the
experts in specific programs (were I as a generalist have no good chance
to test) some packaging skills.  As some result I can say we now have
established quite strong connection to an upstream community for a very
powerful hospital management system (VistA) which finally could enable
us to establish pure Debian in large hospitals once the packaging is
finalised.  The underlying database system (MUMPS) is also used in some
GIS applications (at least Ean Schuessler expressed some interest
because of this) which somehow proves my point of cross connections.

We also have Debian Edu that made a big progress in schools, we have a
GIS team, a multimedia team, a games team and others which to my
perception are not that visible as they should.  We also have Debian
Science which is a great resource to start into more specific sciences
and I think the last Debian Science workshop was a good start for doing

In short: I would not consider specific packages as pet programs but
rather as an exceptional chance for Debian to spread into specific
fields and find new engaged users there because they do not find support
by some other system.

Kind regards


[1] http://wiki.debian.org/DebianMed/Developers 
[2] http://people.debian.org/~tille/talks/20110728_blends/
[3] http://people.debian.org/~tille/talks/20120625_debian-med/
[4] https://wiki.debian.org/DebianMed/MoM


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