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Re: Possibly moving Debian services to a CDN

On Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 03:40:48PM +0200, Thijs Kinkhorst wrote:
> It is of course a good target to strive for, but putting such a demand on
> a service is probably not fair, because our current distribution system
> also does not run on 100% Free Software. We do not know what software our
> mirrors are running (we can make a guess that there will be Debian hosts
> in there, but just as well we can be quite sure there will be some Solaris
> or commercial Linux variants) so it's just as opaque as a commercial CDN
> offering would be.

I disagree with that, both on a principle basis and on a practical
one. Right now, as a project, we do not take any stance on the free-ness
of our mirror network. It's some sort of "don't ask, don't tell" regime.
In practical terms I'm myself convinced that many mirrors are run
entirely on Free Software (see about network equipment below), and I can
guarantee that was the case for mirrors I've been running myself in the

Switching *by default* to a CDN could make the situation much better (if
the offer is 100% Free Software, which is unfortunately unlikely) or
much worse (the most likely case).  If the situation is going to get
much worse, I frankly prefer the status quo.

BTW, I forgot to add a very important note to the previous mail. I
realize that switching to a CDN could make things much better for DSA,
and that's why it pains me to object to the idea by being someone that
is not contributing in anyway to the DSA team. I do that only because I
think we're here on a topic where what I believe to be Debian principles
are at stake.

> The principled point that everything Debian does should involve 100% Free
> Software is not the status quo nor is it attainable. We will deliver bits
> using equipment running Cisco IOS, and we will not have the source of the
> bank software that processes our donations. The question is therefore: do
> we consider such CDN services to be more like network- or financial
> services, which we source externally, or is it a core aspect of developing
> Debian?

Right, that's indeed the question. And I realize that different people
will place their bars at different levels. My bar is that content
delivery is indeed a core aspect for a project producing a Free Software
distribution. YMMV, and I've no desire of trying to convince otherwise
people who place their bars differently.  But this thread was about
opinions on the idea; this is mine :-)

Stefano Zacchiroli  . . . . . . .  zack@upsilon.cc . . . . o . . . o . o
Maître de conférences . . . . . http://upsilon.cc/zack . . . o . . . o o
Former Debian Project Leader  . . @zack on identi.ca . . o o o . . . o .
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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