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Re: "Why" Debian Core Consortium ? Why not UserLinux? Why not Debian?

On Wed, Aug 24, 2005 at 04:18:16PM -0500, Branden Robinson / Debian Project Leader wrote:
> > I don't think the "Debian Core Consortium" is clearly in Debian's
> > interests, and I think someone should be looking into it with Debian's
> > interests at heart.
> Just out of curiosity, what interests do you think the DCC Alliance has
> that aren't in ours?

I don't know what the DCC is aiming to do; all I've seen so far is that
they want a name that indicates they're more fundamental to Debian than
other derivatives, and that they don't really take complaints about
that terribly seriously, to the point of ignoring them and issuing press
releases anyway.

> They're interested in making Debian GNU/Linux more
> attractive for IHVs, ISVs, and "enterprise" deployments.

One fairly easy way of doing that would be to work a lot more closely
with the release team on ensuring LSB compliance in sarge and etch;
ttbomk there hasn't been any dialogue there at all since 2003 or earlier.

From where I sit, they also seem pretty interested in the media
spotlight -- at least, I've seen press releases and naming discussions,
compared to no actual code -- and to be doing it in a way that detracts
from Debian by the confusion its name causes -- eg, one of the top ten
hits on the "debian core" google search is a TechWorld article that
describes the DCC as a "Debian initiative" [0].

> Perhaps I'm being
> insufficiently imaginative, but I don't perceive this as any more contrary
> to our interests than, say, a SuperH port, or making Debian GNU/Linux more
> attractive to medical professionals.

Perhaps you're just too close to it too.

> > Given the potential conflicts inherent in your position, I think you
> > should recuse yourself from involvement, and delegate someone [...]
> The SPI Board of Directors discussed this at our most recent meeting (16
> August), and at that meeting I resolved to do so.

There haven't been any SPI minutes posted to the website since February;
and I think I'm not alone in being surprised at the SPI board getting
informed of Debian delegations before Debian. (You might want to consider
providing some rationale for delegations too)

> > I'm pretty unimpressed that the group has already started issuing press
> > releases using Debian's name.
> The name of the project or the name of our OS?

What difference does it make? If they're using the project's name in
ways that make it seem like something that's not the project is, or if
they're using the distribution's name in ways that seem like something
that's not the distribution is, well, both cases are bad. In this case
it's the name of the project -- you can tell by the lack of "GNU/Linux".

> In general, should we
> expect vendors of Debian GNU/Linux-derived operating systems to eschew
> mention of its origin when touting their products?

Debian acknowledges both GNU and Linux by putting them in distro's name
_after_ our name. "Debian Core Consortium" doesn't include any name
_but_ Debian's. Compare with "SLX Debian Labs".

> Given this, I for one am not particularly surprised that when we leave
> people to fumble in the dark, they step on toes.

It's good to be forgiving, it's less so good to do so before they've
stopped stepping on toes.

> The SPI trademark committee[3] still exists and still needs support from
> Debian's Developers, all of whom are automatically eligible for SPI
> membership[4] and can sign up to join its mailing list.  Mako Hill and Greg
> Pomerantz are making progress, particularly of late, but I'm sure they
> wouldn't mind some more eyes and hands involved in the work.

So, the issue was raised on the 24th of July, and Ian Murdock at least
was aware of it by then; Mako invited Ian to talk to Greg about it on the
26th of July; the "Debian Common Core" press release went out on August
9th; and Ian and Greg finally got around to talking on August 14th:
http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2005/08/msg00179.html .

> I consider third parties' derivations of Debian to be flattering to our
> work and our contributors, so if we're going to get offended by the way
> people make such derivations, 

The issue isn't whether people make derivatives, it's whether they make
derivatives that confuse people as to what's Debian and what's not. It's
the same problem as when Imagemagick shipped something that claimed to be
"Debian 1.0", but wasn't.

> I think we'd be wise to help people
> understand how to avoid doing so.  The time seems quite ripe for Debian
> Developers concerned about this issue to put their shoulders to the wheel,

By which, presumably you mean make it clear to derivers that some things
aren't reasonable? Like, exactly what's happening on this list right

Everything I've seen from Mako has been quite reasonable to my mind;
and I can't see how making the topic disappear from public view by moving
discussions to spi-trademark would particularly help raise awareness.



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