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

What do (some of) our users await from us?

A few of us (indeed, the people responsible for the various sessions
held last year in Extremadura in 2006) have attended the 3rd Free
Software World Conference in Badajoz, Spain, from Feb. 7th to 9th.[1]

Among the various sessions I personnally attended, one was dedicated
to Spanish Linux distributions and turned out to be very interesting
to listen. In that sesison, people responsible for various local
Linux-based distributions came in and presented their distribution.

This was indeed all about works funded by the various regional
governments of the spanish regions:

- Linex from the Region of Extremadura [2]
- Max from the Autonomous community of Madrid council of education [3]
- Lliurex from the region of Valencia (Generalitat valienciana) [4]
- Guadalinux from the region of Andalucia [5]
- Molinux from the region of Castilla-La Mancha [6]

*All* of these distribution are indeed "Debian Inside" as all are
Debian(4) or Ubuntu(1) based. This probably gives everybody a good idea of
the user base we have in Spain (for instance, the region of
Extremadura has now deployed about 80,000 workstations equipped with
Linex....even though all others have a noticeably smaller user base).

The most interesting part, and the one I wanted to share with you as
soon as possible comes from a question I asked to the various people
presenting their work, at then end of the session:

"What do *you* think that *we*, Debian project, could do to make your
work easier?"

(the subliminal question could have also been "and not choose to base
you work on something else than genuine Debian")

The answers were particularly clear, indeed. Let's share:

- Stability. 
  Large-scale deployments in non-technical environments do not really
  expect bleeding-edge software and certainly not too quickly changing
  behaviour. Knut Yrvin, who was attendign too, rephrased this, from
  the Skolelinux experience, as "if you change the *location* of an
  icon on the desktop of a classroom machine, you'll get the teacher
  lost and lose his/her adhesion".

- Release predictability

  All these projects are funded by public entities. The development of
  these derived works is based on the work of their employees and
  uses their budgets. Some of these budgets are related to political
  constraints.  This gives time constraints

  As an informal poll, having an etch release announced in December
  2006 and delayed until March 2007 seems fairly acceptable to most of
  them while the sarge release process has been a nightmare for some
  of them (which is *confirmed* by Linex developers)

  A 2-year release cycle is considered as pretty well adapted.

- Updated kernels for the stable release

  The reason is pretty much obvious: support for the new hardware that
  pops up constantly. Most do not have big control on the nature of
  the hardware and basing the choice of suppliers for an entire region
  or country on the fact that the hardware is supported by the satble
  Debian release is anything but possible.

  Most of them use backported and more recent kernels but all of those
  doing this would highly prefer the well-known quality of Deian work.

  Having an update for stable, with a more recent kernel, happening
  every 9-10 months is what is judged as a good compromise.

All this could help us all to discuss the release goals for lenny when
the time for this will come, but I wanted to share it without

[1] http://www.freesoftwareworldconference.com/en/
[2] http://www.linex.org/
[3] http://www.educa.madrid.org/web/madrid_linux/
[4] http://www.lliurex.net/
[5] http://www.guadalinex.org/
[6] http://www.molinux.info/

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: