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[Freedombox-discuss] Report third hackfest

On 3/8/11 7:40 AM, Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
> 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 
> userbase.
Maybe FreedomBox should have its own unstable / stable distros? Not 
forks so much as overlays of packages on existing Debian distros. Just 
thinking conceptually here. I'm not clued on how these things work, 
though, so I don't really know what I'm talking about.
> 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!
Some of the new stuff like Pagekite seems interesting to have in a 
FreedomBox. An unstable FreedomBox distro could have PageKite?maybe even 
before Debian unstable?but stable FreedomBox would only have it once 
it's gone through the same release process any other Debian package does
> 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.
I need to spend some time wrapping my head around WebID, but that 
contribution sounds great to me. Anything new that doesn't yet have a 
Debian package, yet could contribute to a FreedomBox, should get wrapped 
up in a package and go through the usual Debian process for inclusion.

Maybe FreedomBox needs its own unstable sandbox distro where new stuff 
gets packaged and played with until it makes it into Debian proper? 
Again, not a fork, fully intending to flow into Debian proper once the 
kinks are worked out.
> 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.
That sounds sensible to me. ...
> 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.
That sounds like an unstable FreedomBox distro to me.
> 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.
That sounds like a stable FreedomBox distro to me - eg. Debian stable, 
just with preset package list.
> 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.
Why non-packaged? If there's something that should be in the FreedomBox 
(even if unstable), shouldn't packaging it up be one of the first steps?
> 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
Seems like getting *something* stable running with Debian on a plug 
computer (or a VM pretending to be one) might be a good first step 
toward bootstrap. It wouldn't be FreedomBox 1.0, but it would be a 
stable base to get everyone on the same page and start throwing unstable 
things at.

l.m.orchard at pobox.com
{web,mad,computer} scientist

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