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Re: On cadence and collaboration

Julien BLACHE wrote:
Debian stands out in many respects, yes. But being different for the
sake of it isn't a laudable goal: if there's a good idea, it deserves to
be considered, even if others are already considering it.
Being different and independent actually enables us to be better at
what we're doing than anyone else.
I agree, that conscious, planned and considered differences are the best way to beat the competition or stand for your brand. If you do the same thing as everyone else it's very difficult to be better.

But it is wise to think carefully about the things that one really wants to do differently. In business it makes sense to standardise on as much as possible, then be different on the key things that really do define you vs your competition. In Debian's case, I can think of several things that really define the brand and the values. Supporting more architectures. Having the most democratic processes. debian-legal. And many more. None of them depend on having the same, or different base versions of the major components as any other distro.

There's a great _expression_ that says "if you always do what you always did, you can only expect to get again what you got before". In other words, it's always worth thinking about what can be done differently.

 If we were tied to something or
someone one way or another, this would not be possible.
Having a cadence and discussion across many distros to try and find opportunities for common base versions of major components does not tie anybody. If Debian wants to have a different version of ANY component to any other distro, of course it can! And if it wants to take 9 months to bake the release, instead of 6 months, of course it can too. There are real differences in approach (architectures etc) that will always drive some delta. It's worth paying the cost of that delta if it helps you be you. It's not worth having a delta just because nobody bothered to sit down and talk about it.

Overall, it's been working fine for the last 16 years.
A lot has been achieved, yes. Could more be done? Could Debian be
stronger? Are there weaknesses that may be addressed? I think it's
always worth considering how things can be improved.
Indeed. And I truly don't see how being tied to and restricted by
other projects with differing interests can help us there. Quite to
the contrary.
This proposal does not tie Debian in any way.

Well, we believe differently, and that's OK. I think it's easy enough to
go and speak to a few upstreams, and ask them this: "what would you do
differently if you knew that multiple distributions would all sit down
and think about which version of your code to ship with their big 2010
release?" I think you'd find most of them say "that would be amazing".
I don't really care about what they say, I care about how they act
upon it afterwards. And unfortunately there's no guarantee that
they'll support us better than they do today. Especially if those
statements were made without community backing.
There's no guarantee, no. But community members rally to a good, inspiring, intellectually true vision. You may not get them all, and you may not get the leader, but you will ensure that on every mailing list *someone* will be asking the question "what can we do to help those guys with their noble cause"?


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