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Debian International/Regional/Local [Was: Re: key signing request - Nijmegen, The Netherlands]

On Thu, 15 Feb 2001 Paul Slootman wrote:

> . . .
> FYI, there is a mailing list for debian developers in the Netherlands
> which is usually used for such things; I recommend you guys join that.
> Send email to debdev-request@info.cistron.nl to subscribe / unsubscribe;
> the list itself is developers@debian.nl .
> . . .
Honoring Paul's sagacious plea for noise-reduction on this list, I'd like
to leave this thread by retitling it to address a broader issue facing
Debian as a whole.

As far as I know (from lurking in the mailinglists the past few 
years) there has been no really concerted effort at (please pardon the 
expression ;-) 'marketing' since Bruce Perens' departure as PL.  Debian
has, aside from propagating the DFSG spirit of Linux through its presence
at Expo's, for the most part relegated public/commercial relations to the
Linux organization-at-large and the marketing channels of its commercial
subsets.  (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

Whatever the precise case may be, I feel this 'anonymity' confronts (new) 
developers interested in promoting Debian on a regional/local level with
certain questions:

- Unless Debian constitutes part of your core business (and I believe
Mike van Smoorenburg and the developers at Cistron may form an exception
here in the Netherlands), your involvement with Debian will pertain either
to specific applications in a specialist context or (non-exclusively) to 
specific applications of general interest and this involvement will
ordinarily be isolated from other regional developers.  What role could
the regional Debian developer group fulfill as support structure for
promoting Debian as a distribution with a difference?

- Beyond bridging obvious local linguistic/cultural barriers and providing
presence at Linux-related events, could such a possible role include
coordinated (facilitation of) penetration of general user segments or
niche markets?  (Note that I wish to circumvent the perennial debate about
user-orientedness vs. technical superiority of the distribution here.)

- Could a regional developer group act as a representative microcosm of
the developer group-at-large, or barring this, could it focus on certain
strengths to profile itself locally, short of forking 
yet-another-(sub)distribution of Debian?

- How does/could regional coordination contribute to the synergy within
Debian as a whole, especially given the relative developer density
(per square kilometer) here in the Netherlands and in Europe

- Or would such coordination be construed as being overly regimented by
the free spirits which predominate in developer ranks and is the
question 'What does Debian mean to me and what can it mean to my social
and business community?' a moot point?

In any event it might not hurt to ponder a moment what vision you share  
with those local trusted sigs on your keyring within this international
adventure we call Debian (to paraphrase Ben Collins somewhat ;->).

				Thanks for reading this far,

				Silvester Claassen

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