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[Freedombox-discuss] Report third hackfest

On Mon, Mar 07, 2011 at 11:35:53AM +0100, Michiel de Jong wrote:
>- We tested installing the WebID debian package, which lead to 
>generation of partial install instruction - up to the point where we 
>couldn't get it to work, and sent a request for help to the foaf 

I saw later (due to my [interruption]) that you'd discussed how Clint 
and I had added those new WebID packages to Debian unstable (Sid) 
rather than Debian stable (Squeeze), and wondered if unstable is now 
what FreedomBox is gonna be build upon?

Yes and no.

We are working towards creating FreedomBox.  The real physical thing 
that's gonna save the World from the Dark Side.  The final product might 
come in multiple shapes and might even be multiple completely different 
things altogether - or it might end in a single final design.  Time (and 
our style of participation) will tell.

It is obvious to me, however, that there won't be one revision of 
FreedomBox - multiflavored or not.  There will be corrections, security 
updates, and feature updates. And before all that there will be 
development drafts not at all usable for consumption by our target 

Yes, it makes sense at the current stage to develop with Sid - when you 
want to work on things unstable.  And yes, it makes sense to develop 
using Squeeze when your interest is not in exploring new stuff but put 
together stable parts.

If you want a FreedomBox production-ready in a month, then don't use 
Sid.  And don't use Pagekite or NetSukuku or WebID or P2PSIP or P2P-DNS. 
Avoid _all_ the new cool stuff - use _only_ boring oldschool stuff!

Personally I believe that Semantic Web, and graphing math applied to it, 
was the key to the success of Google and Facebook, and can be the key to 
the success of decentralized tools as well.  So I spend/waste time on 
what I believe to be "the next cool thing" - WebID.  And I contribute 
the way I am good at: by packaging already invented and already coded 
pieces for Debian, and have it included into Debian officially.

New stuff cannot ever be added officially to Debian stable (Squeeze).  
"New stuff" is always unstable - not in itself (then it shouldn't even 
be targeted Sid but the "experimental" branch!) but its integration and 
interaction with the other 30.000 packages is ustable: as a whole 
_distribution_ it is unstable when containing new parts.

I also, unofficially, provide packages targeted Debian stable.  That 
takes more time, so sunday I didn't have them ready.  Even when I do, I 
am 1 (one) Debian Debeloper, not a thousand, so claiming that the 
combination "Debian stable (Squeeze)" and "a few new packages by Jonas" 
put together is a stable mixture would be foolish: it is "almost stable" 
at most!

We have lots tasks ahead of us - many more than mentioned here!  Above I 
spoke first about "imaging" and then about my "packaging".  Let me got 
back to "imaging" again:

You can try put a system together *today* containing WebID.  That will 
be a system built from an _unstable_ distribution with _unofficial_ 
parts. Which means highly risky to release to others due to e.g. no 
guaranteed upgrade path or security bugfixes provided.

You can try put a system together *tomorrow* containing WebID.  That 
will be a system built from an _stable_ distribution with _unofficial_ 
parts. Which means somewhat risky to release to others, because key 
parts only potentially has upgrade path and security bugfixes provided.

You can try put a system together *today* containing Pagekite or 
NetSukuku or [your favorite tool here].  That will be a system built 
from (possibly a stable) distribution with _non-packaged_ parts. Again 
risky to release to others because all or some parts lac upgrade path 
and security bugfixes. Also more difficult for peer Freedom fighters 
(and possibly difficult for yourself too) to reliably replicate (i.e. 
not copy result but mimic the process) due to those non-packaged parts.

Finally you can try put a system together *today* from only Debian 
stable (Squeeze).  That will be a system built from an _stable_ 
distribution. Which means sensible to release to others, because all 
parts has upgrade path and a dedicated team provides security bugfixes.

Obviously just making an image of Debian stable is too crude to senisbly 
call a FreedomBox 1.0.  Lots of _other_ tasks you can do *today* other 
than imaging - this was just reflections on Sunday work on WebID.

...or you can wait for Godot. Or Eben. Or a pile of money.  Maybe the 
World is easier to fix tomorrow :-P

  - Jonas

[interruption]: I was away from the keyboard, as my [step-daughter] had 
a task for school on writing a newspaper-style article. She made an 
interview on me starting at "What's wrong with Facebook? Nah, we all 
know that it sucks. You guys are doing something to attack it, right? 
What's up with that?" and when her cellphone voice recorder timed out 
after an hour, I was trying to point out how WebID and Semantic Web 
could be a key stepping stone in the Singularity.  She is fourteen.

[step-daughter]: ...or as the politically correct term is in denmark 
these days: bonus daughter :-)

  * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
  * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

  [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private
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