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Re: On cadence and collaboration

Mark Shuttleworth <mark@ubuntu.com> wrote:

>> 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.

Releasing (or freezing, FWIW) at the same time as everyone else is a
part of that. Your developement then becomes bound in just the same
way as everyone else's, with all the consequences you can think of.

As the ultimate goal is to get pretty much all the free software world
to sync up for distro releases, this means everyone will work on the
same fixed schedule (with ca. 2-year development periods). I'm
wondering about the impact this will have on roadmaps in different
projects. I fear it may bring to free software some of the worst
issues of the proprietary/commercial software world (no vision past
the next big release, for instance).

> 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.

I'm not sure our governance model is of much interest to the lambda
end-user, she probably also doesn't give a damn about debian-legal and
architecture support.

> 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.

If it works that way already, why bother?

Also, what are we really talking about here? Desktop? Is that it? All
of this seems very desktop-centric to me.

What's the story on the server front, and what are the implications?
Do we set an Apache version everybody will ship, too? What impact does
that have on security? When everyone gets the same Apache version
accross all distributions, with the same issues? Does that buy us
anything? Isn't diversity better here?

You are on a fight against proprietary software (you made that clear
through your wording in your first mail). One of the issues with
proprietary platforms is that everyone running a given platform runs
the same security holes.

Now, that obviously applies equally if platform = Debian, but not if
platform = Linux. There aren't different Windows vendors. There's only
one. There are different Linux vendors. If they all offer the same
thing, then we have another monoculture and we lose something,
something very real.

In the free software world, the diversity we have today, which is
partly due to unaligned releases from the major vendors, is an asset.

You have been talking a lot about the implications at our level and
a bit about upstream, but there are implications downstream too that
must not be overlooked and they might not be the most obvious.

>> 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

Wishful thinking. Community members can also rally to the most popular
proposer, regardless of the proposal she puts forward. Not meant at
you, but to illustrate that things don't necessarily work as they

> 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"?

I get your point.


 Julien BLACHE - Debian & GNU/Linux Developer - <jblache@debian.org> 
 Public key available on <http://www.jblache.org> - KeyID: F5D6 5169 
 GPG Fingerprint : 935A 79F1 C8B3 3521 FD62 7CC7 CD61 4FD7 F5D6 5169 

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