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A concerned user -- debian Guidelines

Hi all !

(Sorry for my English, I'm no native speaker, hope I'll not make too many mistakes and my
message will be understandable)

I did not know who to write to about this and how to contact as many of you as possible,
so here it is. I hope it will not interfere too much with what this list is intended for.

I'm gonna speak about the current flamewar around default init system. Let's consider that
I do not care about init systems (not true, but that's my position when writing this email).

You certainly heard about "debianfork" (http://debianfork.org/) and from a user point of
view this is a tragedy.

>From my point of view (or from a user's point of view) what is about to happen is a breach
in Debian Social Contract.

Debian Social Contract states as point 4 : Our priorities are our users and free software

>From my point of view, users are ignored, and what we can read here and there is that the
decision is up to (put bluntly) "those who spend time in the project" (the Debian developers).

But the project exists because thousands of other people use it and contribute to other
free software - those 20K free software which makes Debian such a rich Distribution.

Even, some users contribute directly to Debian, by filling bug reports, speaking about
Debian, buying goodies, .... and many many other ways.

When a (big ?) pool of users is not happy to the point of suggesting to fork because of a
decision taken (or about to be taken) by the project developers, then (I think) that the
Debian developers are not doing their job right.

You'll notice that the fork has not been started yet, as (I think) many still hope this
can end the right way, with USERS taken into account. All of them.

Should I be a distant, simple "end user" of Debian, this might be of no importance. But
I'm not.
I'm really attached to Debian, it's values (those written in the Debian Social Contract)
and it's capabilities.

>From my point of view, Debian is *really* The universal OS. I've run it about on every
machine I own which can run Linux.
I used it in industrial projects, so now Debian is in some vehicles (yes it is, and not in
a "remote user level place", but functional (not critical) one) and in other places.

But all of this is put in question by a choice made by the developers for the users,
though this is contrary to all Linux and GNU spirit.

Remember Ian Murdock's intention : " Ian intended Debian to be a distribution which would
be made openly, in the spirit of Linux and GNU".

Still from my point of view, this means that the user can choose between alternatives for
almost everything when there is a choice. Let's cite a few to make it evident : Vim/emacs,
KDE/Gnome/All/the/others/ones, Debian kernel/custom kernel, ....

Then, when Debian developers are about to choose to impose a given init system on it's
users instead of giving them the choice, I feel like it being a breach in Debian's Social
contract and Ian Murdock's initial intention when he created Debian.

Especially when this breaks so many of my systems. Of course I could spend time to learn
the new init, a change all of my systems to fit the new init system. But this will cost me
time. Time I will not spend on other free software projects. It will cost time to so many

Yes, making an init-independent system is more work than the easy, "single init" solution.
But I think there are people out there which will be willing to spend time on this. People
with the ability to do it, to face the challenge and succeed.
Be the first distribution to be init system independent, and propose a way for users to
choose between different init systems. This would allow integration of other init systems
in the future, and make Debian stronger, safer, more reliable, and once more, more universal.
Of course, this means more work, and maybe delayed releases. But I though that Debian had
no "release schedules". "It's done when it's done".

Other distributions may have chosen the easy single init way, but Debian is not other
distributions. And uniformity is not an option.
Should It be, let's forget about all Linux and GNU stuff, and all of us move to another
system (let's not name it here), for the sake of uniformity.
But GNU/Linux is NOT uniformity. It is choice. It is alternatives. It is options.

Please remember that.

When I see a risk of fork in such a project, I'm sad. Very sad.

Please make me (us ?) happy again. Happy of using Debian, wearing my Debian Tee-shirt
despite whatever people can tell me about it, and happy of "spreading the word", making
others choose Debian for it's social value as much as it's technical one.
Happy of contributing to free software, if not directly to the Debian project.

Please do it the right way.
For ALL Debian users.

Thanks for reading.
Many more thanks if I'm heard and understood.


Nathaël PAJANI - ED3L - Techno-Innov
Internet : http://www.ed3l.fr - http://www.techno-innov.fr

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