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Some thoughts for Debian.

I've been watching the debates about Cds, dividing up non-free, and etc..
And I had a few thoughts I wanted to throw out at everyone.

I think if debian is going to succeed, it's going to have to be reduced
to a standard set of "core" applications that will make up the "offical"
distribution of debian. Right now, the distribution is huge and it's
getting bigger. In the process, it seems less is getting done in the way of
providing comprehensive testing, marketing, etc.. of each new release.
Many people are handling multiple packages and getting either burnt out
or don't have enough time to adequatly test the packages they do maintain.

While I understand and applaud the basic concepts behind Debian, it's
success will depend on what the commercial community does with it.
Therefor, I think the following needs to be done to help Debian get
going in the right direction.

1) I realize this process will start a religious debate over what
	program is the best, but, someone ( everyone? ) needs to decide
	on the core packages that will make up the offcial distribution.
	ie.... smail, sendmail, qmail, etc. which one will debian choose
	as the default for the distribution?

	in the case of user apps, one application could be choosen that
	works on terminals and one that works in X. ( where possible )
	ie.... users will need a mail reader.
	for terminals: elm
	for X: exmh

	this will create a standardized distribution that commercial vendors
	can easily support. it will reduce greatly the size of the main
	distribution and will allow devlopers to focus on just the applications
	that make up the offical distribution plus allow easier beta testing
	of the distribution as a whole.

	some things, like games, should definatly not be part of the
	offcial distribution. while i dearly love xtetris, you can't consider
	it a necessity.

2) Everything else could be moved over to contrib.
	ie... since mutt ( a mail reader ) wasn't choosen as part of the offical
	distribution, it gets put in contrib/mail 

	this will provide alternatives while allowing for a so-called
	"official" distribution.

	someone could be put in charge of "maintaining" the contrib directory
	( oversee the layout of dirs, etc ) but the packages shouldn't be
	a concern of the "core" developers... 
	its basically the same system that is in place now, but it shouldn't
	be bruce's or any other "core" developers problem if the program
	doesn't work.

3) revamp the web pages. its the first place a user might check for info
	on debian and they look really bad right now. ( i know this has
	already been discussed )

4) open up the release dates a bit. last i heard, the push was for 3 month
	cycles. open it to 6 months. while those who want to stay on the
	cutting edge can do so, some people and most companies want stabilty.
	this is one area i don't have a clear understanding of.
	alot of people were excited about the release of "slackware96" but
	the release of debian 1.2 came and went. weird.

5) the quest for a debian logo has produced some really good work from
	users of debian. i think a similiar push should be made for
	debian documentation. i know there are some debian users out there
	who are good at writing and debian could use some really well written
	FAQs, installation procedures, HOWTOs, etc...

just some thoughts....

                                Willie Daniel

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