[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Back to Windows??

Christopher Wolf wrote:

> Free
> software is usually not as easy to use because no one has the time to work
> out all the bugs like a dedicated company might (don't even bring up MS;
> they don't write software, they market software), or everyone is taking it
> in their own direction and giving it feature creep, which eventually
> strangles the project.

I'm sorry, but as a Debian maintainer I find this statement *offensive*.  We
spend MONTHS in testing cyclles trying every possible configuration to ensure a
perfect upgrade for all users, and NOTHING is released unless ALL of the RC bugs
in ALL critical packages are eliminated on ALL platforms.  If a less important
package has an RC bug, it gets booted.  Period.

The quality is so high that people can upgrade from bo to potato in a single
step, without rebooting, and it just works.  Packages are made available to
maintain kernel 2.0 compatibility years after its release, because there are
some users who still need that kernel.  We are the ONLY distribution to release
for legacy processors like m68k and (likely for woody) hppa and mips, extending
the supported lifetime of such machines indefinitely, and the ONLY distribution
that runs on light low-power ARM chips.  Try that with Microsoft or Sun or IBM
or SGI or Q or ... Get the point?

Of course, this slows down the incorporation of new features (like how GNOME 1.2
didn't get into potato).  But contrary to your statement, this means the focus
is on quality and NOT feature creep.  We can ONLY do this because the software
is free, as in speech, so we can fix our own bugs and add our own usability
features (see below).

I understand your frustration with some projects, but to make such a blanket
statement on a Debian list is demeaning to the hundreds of volunteer maintainers
and hundreds (thousands?) of other volunteer testers who work very hard to bring
together the highest-quality distribution possible.  If you have a specific
complaint, make it, and file a bug report.  But don't just dump on quality when
you can't get anything like what we have in the proprietary world.

Usability is another matter.  Volunteers will generally make things more usable
for themselves.  So we have the best package management system anywhere in the
industry (dpkg/apt), with unrivaled ease of configuration (debconf), and
centralized application menu management which puts its menus in all of the
window managers and desktop environments (menu), and documentation registration
which links all docs from /usr/share/doc/HTML/index.html (doc-base), and indexes
it as well (dhelp/glimpse).  One or two of these usability features are
available elsewhere (like Windows' documentation system and single Start menu),
but the combination is unique to Debian.

However, drivers are a problem when vendors refuse to release specs (so file a
bug report and mailbomb the vendor), and since people only have to install it
once, the time they're willing to put into the installation process is
relatively small.  So the usability of those parts of the distribution lag the
rest by quite a bit.  The new installer doesn't look like it will be ready in
time for woody, so this condition wil persist for at least another year.  But
the installation problem is easy to solve: get an old Corel CD and upgrade to
potato over the net (took me about 15 hours over a 56K modem, but it all
worked), or get a Progeny beta, or go to http://www.odslinux.com/ and
custom-configure your own easy-install CD, or get hardware with Debian
pre-installed- which solves the driver problem too!

> Either that or the primary author graduates or
> finally gets a date.

I graduated nine years ago and have been happily married for the last four,
thank you very much.

There have been helpful constructive criticisms in this thread, but yours was
not one of them.

-Adam P.

GPG fingerprint: D54D 1AEE B11C CE9B A02B  C5DD 526F 01E8 564E E4B6

              Welcome to the best software in the world today cafe!

Reply to: