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Re: Debian decides to adopt time-based release freezes

On Mon, Aug 03, 2009 at 09:34:39PM +0200, Sandro Tosi wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 3, 2009 at 20:07, Patrick Schoenfeld<schoenfeld@debian.org> wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > On Mon, Aug 03, 2009 at 06:40:06PM +0200, Sandro Tosi wrote:
> >> THEY STEAL our packages
> >
> > Uarg. That sentence let me discard everything sensible/intelligent
> > you might have said in your mail. I often read sentences like that
> > in the discussion.
> the mail was (intentionally) quite extremist, but it's not that far
> away from: taking everything giving back very *very* few.

If you really feel that way about Ubuntu, why don't you start yelling
and screaming murder about any of the other derivatives?

Of all the Debian derivatives out there, Ubuntu is the one that is the
*most* collaborative with Debian. Yet they are also the ones that get
the hardest time from Debian developers.

Taking our Free Software is *NOT* stealing. Saying that it is, is
dishonest. If you really and truly feel that Ubuntu is 'stealing' from
Debian, then please confirm this in a signed mail so that I can use that
to ask the DAM to revoke your account.

> It's not about licenses, legal or what, it's about honesty. If you
> promise to give back, you should do it.

Colin Watson, one of the more active developers on debian-installer
within Debian, is a Canonical employee who does most of their installer
development too.

Matthias Klose, the main Debian gcc maintainer, is also the Ubuntu gcc
maintainer (I'm not sure whether he works for Canonical at this point in
time, but at the very least he used to have an @canonical.com email
address, so it is reasonable to assume that he is a current or past
employee of Canonical).

Someone posted links to the BTS in this thread that shows bugs and
patches which the Ubuntu people have filed against Debian packages,
thereby contributing back to us.

For a very long time, Scott James Remnant used to be the main dpkg
developer while he was working for Canonical (he stopped contributing to
Debian, mainly because he lost interest; this happens to many people,
not just Canonical employees).

James Troup, while not very active in Debian anymore these days, used to
be an archive maintainer and active DSA member while doing similar work
for Ubuntu.

These are just examples. I'm sure that anyone who cares can find more.

> Noone have forced them to promise that, and noone will force them to
> stick to their promises, but when I give my word I do my best to
> maintain it. Maybe it's only me...

They are sticking to that promise. Of all the derivative distributions
out there, Ubuntu is the only one that actively, as a matter of policy,
does contribute back bugreports and patches. Sure, they're not feeding
back 100% of their changes. Sure, sometimes they miss out a patch that
really should be forwarded to Debian. But what do you really want? They
can't automatically forward all their patches -- some of them just don't
make sense from a Debian POV -- so they need to do this manually. When a
manual process is involved, sometimes that just means it doesn't happen,
because of lack of time, lack of experience with Debian's processes (as
opposed to Ubuntu's), and similar.

I usually find that if you yourself are interested enough in getting
more contributions from Ubuntu on one or more of your packages, all you
need to do is ask. A good and recent example was the 1:2.9.11-2ubuntu1
upload for nbd. When I looked at it, I couldn't understand parts of it,
so I asked the person who'd done the upload for more information (you
know, their name and email address are *right there*, below the
changelog entry). That took all of a two-mail conversation, and I
directly knew which hunks made sense to the Debian package, and which
hunks didn't.

Other things that can help to fetch patches from Ubuntu include
#ubuntu-devel on freenode (they're usually very friendly and helpful
towards Debian Developers asking about the state of their packages
inside Ubuntu), patches.ubuntu.com (which indeed isn't useful for every
patch, but it is when the packages don't diverge too much), and heck,
our own PTS. Bottom line is, if you want it, collaboration exists, and
questions will be answered; and there is no need for any Debian
Developer to understand anything about Ubuntu's processes. If you yawn
about how bad they are at collaborating, however, people will be less
motivated to do so, and with good reason.

I won't say that it wouldn't be nice if Ubuntu were to contribute more.
Every contribution is good, and the more the merrier. However, if you
say that there are other Debian derivatives that contribute more
than Ubuntu, you're dishonest; and if you say that they do /not/
contribute, then you're outright lying.

The biometric identification system at the gates of the CIA headquarters
works because there's a guard with a large gun making sure no one is
trying to fool the system.

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