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Re: package ownership in Debian

> Sometimes, too many cooks do indeed spoil the broth.

Plausible reasons have been advanced on both sides, but
how much weight does plausibility really carry?  If
experience trumps theory, then my view is that Manoj is
right about this.

> Utopia which is working pretty nicely with Ubuntu...

I hope that Loic will not be angry if I argue.  I don't
know how nicely Utopia is working with Ubuntu, but in
any case Ubuntu employs different means to pursue
different ends.  There are undoubtedly a few things we
could learn from Ubuntu, but there are probably a few
things we could learn from Nissan Motor Company and the
Boy Scouts of America, too.  The point is, Ubuntu isn't

Debian maintainers can indeed sometimes protect their
turf too extremely, as John has correctly observed; and
when this happens it is hard to deny that it harms our
users and free software.  However, much of Debian's
innate power comes from artist's pride.  We like having
our own packages to rule for much the same reason a
family likes having its own freestanding house to rule,
for much the same reason you like having your own
personal computer to rule.  It makes us happy.  It makes
us happy, even when our rule is manifestly imperfect.
It makes us happy and it doesn't come free: we have put
a lot of time and care into our packages.  Make us
unhappy, and we stop building Debian.

Unconvinced, a few might assert that our happiness, our
artist's pride, even our conceit, is not their concern;
that they are thinking of the greater good of the user.
To such pleasant Robespierrean metaphysicality one can
only say: well, okay, whatever; let the Jacobins march
someone else to the guillotine; we won't go.  Our
priorities are our users and free software; our estimate
of how to meet such priorities is rooted in the rich
soil of our own institutional experience.  Too many
cooks do indeed spoil the broth.  We prefer to run our
kitchen in the traditional Debian way.

Thaddeus H. Black
508 Nellie's Cave Road
Blacksburg, Virginia 24060, USA
+1 540 961 0920, t@b-tk.org, thb@debian.org

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