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Re: how many users is enough? (was Re: Debian Installer 7.0 Beta4 release)

Jon Dowland wrote:
On Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 03:47:46PM +0100, Slavko wrote:
Ubuntu leaves 93 % of packages untouched and changes/additions are done
only to 7 % from them (statistic by some Ubuntu & Debian developer -
sorry i have no link). Then Ubuntu has significantly less to do...
That's a flawed argument. It takes no notice of how big the changes in
those 7% of packages might be. And it does not consider packages which
do not exist in Debian.

That's an even more flawed argument. We're talking about packaging, not development.

Ubuntu is based on Debian and uses the same packaging format. So what "big changes" might we be talking about that are distro-specific? Major changes are generally applied upstream, and then packages are update. (Personally, I'm suspicious of software and changes that are distribution-specific.)

What that 7% statistic really suggests is some combination of:

a. Some of those packages are developed by folks who use Ubuntu, and don't get around to releasing a separate package for Debian (or nobody has stepped up to maintain a Debian package). I expect this doesn't matter very much - just as most Debian packages work just fine under Ubuntu, I expect most Ubuntu packages would work just fine under Debian (haven't tried this, though).

b. Some small percentage of Debian packages need to be "tweaked" to accommodate minor differences between the Ubuntu and Debian environments.

Personally, I find that all the common packages are available for both environments, and the less common packages are so out-of-date that I end up building them from upstream, and using alien or checkinstall so I can keep track of them with apt. For the purposes of this discussion, what really seems to matter is whether or not the upstream developers have provided configure and make files that work under both Debian and Ubuntu - the size of respective user bases might influence whether the developers actually test under one distro or another.

Now where the number of users/contributors might really come into play is when it comes to maintaining/developing those aspects of Debian and Ubuntu that are unique to the respective distros (e.g., their installers and package repositories).

Miles Fidelman

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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