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Re: Debian defaults: Are them a democratic process?

On Wed, 03 Nov 2004, ROBERTOJIMENOCA wrote:
> Lately, I've seen how Debian is not following the wishes of many users.

Debian as a whole has never done that.  Maintainers most often do, but we
are actually supposed to ignore user requests if we have a technical reason
to.  That the technical reason for why their request was denied is to be
explained to the users goes without saying.

Debian as a whole tries to do what it (as a collective, disjoint mind)
thinks is better in the long run for its users.  This is certainly different
from following the *wishes* of the users.

> having the defaults most users want. Like using the more secure, scalable
> and easier to use MTA Postfix by default (like Ubuntu does) instead of Exim

You are, of course, aware that whether postfix is easier to use than exim4
is a matter of personal taste, and that exim4 is actually more scalable for
certain configurations (MTA HUBs in certain setups) than postfix?  Also,
exim does some stuff that are just impossible with postfix right now.  I
won't argue for secure, though... but I would not call exim unsecure either:
it has a good track record.

Note: I use postfix in all servers and workstations under my administration,
which is quite a few.

We could replace exim with postfix as the default MTA, I suppose.  But to do
that, one must:

 1. Get a signed email from the postfix maintainer stating that he would
    not oppose such a thing (i.e. that the postfix packaging and his time 
    both are up to the task).  No such mail, no postfix as default MTA.  
    This is common sense, being the default package can make quite a 
    difference on the user base of a package, even if it ends up being only 
    in numbers...

 2. Either get a signed email from the exim maintainer acknowledging that
    this would be a good idea, in which case there is no dispute, and they
    just need to file the bugs requesting the priorities to be swapped...


    Start a thread on debian-devel that manages to convince enough devels
    that the switch is a good thing, to the point that we override the exim
    maintainer's wishes.  [ IMHO this is unlikely to happen, since it is
    extremely easy to switch MTAs anyway, and exim is not considered a bad
    one or unsafe one by most ].

> or having a boot log that most distributions share where you can see
> easily what daemons started correctly and what not. Example from Ubuntu:
>  * Starting internet superserver...                             [ ok ]

That would be for sarge+1.  Anyway, there is a way of doing it that would
not get much opposition from most devels.  But it is NOT the usual way it is
done by other distros I think (I did not look into what Ubuntu is doing),
and it would be done in the name of supporting parallel execution of
initscripts, and not "for pretty printing".  That it would support 
*optional* pretty printing and logging as a side effect is only a bonus :)

> I'd like to know if there's a formal process where defaults like the
> ones I proposed can be voted to please the majority of the users.

Wishlist bugs, and discursion on debian-devel, AFAIK.  Votes you will have
to hold them yourself, and post the summaries to debian-devel, I think.

> The main problem is this one:
> What happens in Debian if I submit a patch or an easy to apply default
> and the maintainer of that packages just says no. Is there a formal
> process where the voice of other uses/developers can be heard?

Yes.  But we try to never resort to it.  A developer can appeal to the
technical commitee to overrule another (and the tech commitee which will
rule as it will...)  Enough users can easily find one developer to appeal
for them (I am not sure they can request action from the tech commitee
directly, but maybe they can).

  "One disk to rule them all, One disk to find them. One disk to bring
  them all and in the darkness grind them. In the Land of Redmond
  where the shadows lie." -- The Silicon Valley Tarot
  Henrique Holschuh

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