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Re: IMPORTANT: RSA Data Security Challenge participants please read

> From: Mike Neuffer <mike@i-Connect.Net>
> > So far the only thing that Bruce accomplished with his uncoordinated
> > action is that numerous hosts dropped entirely out of the key-search.
> Big deal. They have years to go. We might ask ourselves some questions
> about this kind of publicity.
> 1. Do we want it? Do we really want free software to be associated with
>    code-breaking in the eyes of the uneducated public? I'm not sure that
>    would not hurt us. Just think about the articles on a government code
>    being broken using a "hacker" tool called "Debian". Also, some of the
>    people participating most likely don't have permission to use their
>    employer's machines for outside cryptography projects (I'm thinking of
>    a certain person at a U.S. military facility). I don't want to be around
>    when that gets exposed.

I don't think anyone is going to present it that way.  Good, strong 
cryptography solves an awful lot of problems.  We have been using PGP
extensively within the Debian project.  The reason RSA is sponsoring
this is to prove a political point -- the U.S. export controls cost
them real money.
> 2. Does it hurt us in other ways? For example, will we be perceived
>    as working against people we should be working with?

The real purpose of the contest is to crunch numbers and prove a 
political point.  A little bit of rivalry helps, I think.  Anyways,
nobody has alot invested in this and I really doubt that many egos
were being bent out of shape by the debian entry.  Except maybe
Bruce's?  :-)
> 3. Are there better ways for us to spend our time? I sure think so.

I thought it was sort of cool.  Considering how negative much of the
discussion in the mailing lists has been lately (ie. debmake vs. debstd,
RPM vs. deb, etc.) -- I was impressed by how the Debian community
was able to come together for some fun and games.

Bruce, don't spend all your time worrying about how Debian is going to
be viewed by the rest of the Linux community.  The main reason I
use Debian is not for the quality of the distribution.  Instead, I use it 
because it has a "real" user and developer community.  I suspect 
that's why most people here use it too.  Red Hat doesn't stand up
to the same criteria.

I believe the role of the leader of the Debian project should be more
like being the "mayor" of the community, with the board of directors
acting like city counsel-people.  The real strength of the Debian is
in building a strong community.  Therefore, I don't think that it is
very constructive when the leader independently scuttles a project
the community was solidly behind without even consulting anyone.

Other than that, you're doing a good job as a leader.

That's my take on it anyways...


 - Jim

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