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Re: On cadence and collaboration

[ Marc Haber ]
> this is kind of a personal reply; I am therefore writing this to you
> directly and only Cc'ing debian-project, and I do not know whether you
> read that mailing list.

Kind of a personal reply? Considering all of the accusations, and the
snide, cynical, and sarcastic remarks, I'd say it's quite personal.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't see anything in your response that
adds anything to the discussion. If you feel compelled to send such
"personal replies", could at least spare the list?


> On Wed, Aug 05, 2009 at 10:21:38AM +0100, Mark Shuttleworth wrote:
> > I've stayed quiet in this discussion, though several folks have invoked
> > my name and ascribed motivations to me that were a little upsetting. I'm
> > not responding to that here,
> A pity. I bet many people would like to hear that response.
> > I hear this story all the time from upstreams. "We'd like to help
> > distributions, but WHICH distribution should we pick?"
> I have never heard that story from an upstream, neither have I heard
> that other maintainers have heard that. Especially not from the
> upstream who consider themselves big and powerful.
> > Adopting a broad pattern of cadence and collaboration between many
> > distributions won't be a silver bullet for ALL of those problems, but it
> > will go a very long way to simplifying the life of both upstreams and
> > distribution maintainers.
> It will also cost the free software ecosystem a lot of what's one of
> its most major properties: diversity.

> >  If upstream knows, for example, that MANY distributions will be
> >  shipping a particular version of their code and supporting it for
> >  several years (in fact, if they can sit down with those distributions
> >  and make suggestions as to which version would be best!) then they
> >  are more likely to be able to justify doing point releases with
> >  security fixes for that version... which in turn makes it easier for
> >  the security teams and maintainers in the distribution.
> In practice, most upstreams adopt a "you're using a version that's two
> weeks old, go update to our current development snapshot and see
> yourself whether the bug is still there" attitude.
> > Well, the first thing is to agree on the idea of a predictable cadence.
> > Although the big threads on this list are a little heartbreaking for me
> > to watch, I'm glad that there hasn't been a lot of upset at the idea of
> > a cadence in Debian so much as *which* cadence. We can solve the latter,
> > we couldn't solve the former. So I'm happy at least at that :-)
> Most upset that happened on the lists and in real life was about that
> Debian learned about your collaboration from a Debian press release.
> > As pointed out on this list, Debian and Ubuntu share a great deal.
> I wouldn't call that "share".
> >  We have largely common package names (imagine what a difference that
> >  will make to practical discussions over IRC ;-))
> Right, this makes it much easier for Ubuntu users to pester Debian
> people with the problems that the Ubuntu community wasn't able to
> solve by itself.
> >  (most of the strongest Ubuntu
> >  contributors are or have been very strong Debian contributors too,
> yes, and have usually stopped doing their debian duties without
> properly stepping down upon their engagement with Ubuntu. This has
> greatly harmed Debian a few years ago when Ubuntu was still hatching,
> and has obviously also helped Ubuntu in getting more momentum than
> Debian since Ubuntu took privileges from Debian which slowed down
> Debian a great deal.
> >  and many new Debian maintainers have come to the project through
> >  Ubuntu)
> Yes. Ubuntu should think about the reason for Ubuntu people changing
> over to Debian.
> > . When I look over the commentary on debian-devel and in debbugs and
> > on #debian-devel, I see a lot of familiar names from Ubuntu,
> > especially on the deep, hard problems that need solving at the core.
> >From new people that weren't hired over to Ubuntu from Debian?
> > So, practically, we would be in a good position to collaborate.
> Of course. Ubuntu _is_ Debian in a very big part.
> > I see mails
> > on this list saying it would be easier and better for Debian to
> > coordinate with distributions that I think would be almost *impossible*
> > to work with practically,
> It is almost impossible to work with Ubuntu as soon as one doesn't agree.
> > How do I think it could work in practice? Well, if Debian and Ubuntu
> > went ahead with the summit in December, where we reviewed plans for 2010
> > and identified opportunities to collaborate, I think we would get (a)
> > several other smaller distributions to participate, and (b) several
> > upstreams to participate.
> You're a true visionary.
> > A December summit is not about tying anybody's hands. It's about looking
> > for opportunities, where they exist naturally, and communicating those
> > more widely.
> At least Debian has epically failed in "wide communication" of this
> decision by first putting out a press release before informing the
> community itself.
> > First, there has been no secret cabal or skunkworks effort to influence
> > Debian.
> Not?
> >  As best I can tell, folks from both Debian and Ubuntu who have deep
> >  insight into release management established a shared interest in
> >  working together better, at many levels, and this was one idea that
> >  came forward. The fact that those discussions were open and ongoing
> >  was no secret
> It surely was. The Debian world outside of the Release Team didn't
> know zilch.
> >  - I wouldn't have talked about it in the media if it were!
> >  (Ironically, someone suggested that the fact that I was talking
> >  publicly about something in Debian implied there was a secret cabal.
> You were talking publicly about things that were happening inside
> Debian that Debian didn't know of.
> > I have always tried to make sure that I speak regularly with the DPL -
> > some DPL's have not responded to that at all, others have been happy to
> > speak. Steve and I have spoken about every quarter, which is great, and
> > we focus those conversations on ways we can make collaboration better.
> So you have better contact to the DPL than Debian itself has. A
> disturbing thought. Are you going to run as DPL next term?
> > Finding teams we can introduce to one another. Finding ways to
> > communicate better.
> I don't think that Debian needs to find ways to communicate with
> Ubuntu. It needs to find ways to communicate with Debian.
> > In both cases, the individuals and teams concerned have a mandate from
> > their organisations to think problems through and speak for the project.
> They have the mandate, but I consider it a courtesy to not exercise
> that mandate without prior discussion for a decision _this_ important.
> Debian failed to have this courtesy.
> > Large organisations can't work any other way. I was stunned when I saw
> > the announcement of a "decision" because I know that Debian works by
> > building steady consensus
> That's what I thought before July this year.
> > Second, this is not about Debian changing to meet the needs of Ubuntu.
> It isn't?
> > As I've said elsewhere, Ubuntu would be happy to reach a compromise if
> > needed to work with Debian and others.
> Not necessary, Debian submitted to Ubuntu's demands immediately. Lucky
> Ubuntu.
> >  Alternatively, with Debian specifically, we can contribute
> >  resources to help Debian meet a stretch (or squeeze ;-)) goal.
> As you did in the past, for examply by hiring away half of the already
> understaffed ftp team and not enouraging them to step back from their
> Debian posts after reducing their time spent on Debian even more?
> > But most importantly, this whole thing will have it's best and biggest
> > impact if it goes beyond Ubuntu and Debian.
> I don't think it will.
> >  The debate on this list has mostly been about "Ubuntu vs Debian",
> >  which misses the real goal: let's send a signal to upstreams that
> >  they can participate and help shape the way end users will experience
> >  their software.
> KDE will most probably not shift their release schedules for two
> distributions that ship GNOME as their default.
> > I see many mails on this list from people who are clearly absolutely
> > certain in their minds that "Ubuntu is an evil thief of Debian's work".
> I am not one of these. I just think that Ubuntu doesn't give a lot of
> the praise it gets for distributing "foolproof Linux" back to Debian.
> And I am disturbed that Canonical/Ubuntu actually manages to get the
> impression of a commericially supported Linux distribution along to
> the commercial world, a discipline which Debian has epically failed in
> the last ten years. But, again, not your fault.
> > I'm saddened that the loudest voices
> > seem to be those who are vociferous in their opposition to Ubuntu,
> > rather than those who are finding ways to make things better.
> Do you have an idea why this is so?
> >  I'm saddened that a good idea - a sounder basis for collaboration,
> >  backed by real investment and effort - gets crushed on the rocks of
> >  hate from folks who do not make the bulk of the contribution.
> Do you propose that one can only voice his opinion if one maintains a
> lot of important packages?
> > There are very good people, with long histories in Debian, who have
> > pointed out the positive things that have come from Ubuntu. Listen to
> > them
> And why not to the others?
> > Ubuntu is in a great position to help with big and deep changes that
> > need to be made.
> Why doesn't Ubuntu simply do that? Why didn't Ubuntu do these things
> in the past?
> > I stayed away from DebConf this year - the
> > first time in six years - because I didn't want to be a flashpoint for
> > division
> ... or because you knew there was a bombshell going to be placed?
> > To achieve anything together, we'll both need to work together, we'll
> > need to make compromises or we'll need to contribute effort to the other
> > side.
> Debian has always contributed effort to the other side, even before
> before deciding to have freezes in a way that would allow Ubuntu to
> always have more recent software in their LTS release than Debian has
> in stable.
> >  If the Debian community is willing to consider a December freeze,
> >  then Ubuntu (and Canonical) will commit resources to help Debian meet
> >  that goal.
> I will only believe this happening if I saw it.

Eric Evans

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