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Re: the importance of defaults ( was: Debian default desktop environment )

On 20140413_1651+1200, Chris Bannister wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 12:17:47PM +0200, alberto fuentes wrote:
> > tl;dr 
> http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/tldr
> > My point is that gnome3 is even more disruptive than unity. Do we want
> > to attract users or scare them away?
> Neither. I suggest that the lack of one option doesn't automatically
> imply the other.
> OTOH, the features which attract some users could be the very features
> which scare others away. 
> Consider NetBSD vs PC-BSD
> https://www.netbsd.org/./about/
> http://www.pcbsd.org/en/about/
> I've always considered Debian to be closer to the NetBSD goals and
> objectives and the derivatives closer to the PC-BSD goals and
> objectives.
> I believe this distinction is important and is currently the source of
> contention within the Debian project.
> Thoughts?

Defaults are important, but so are people.  

My discovery of Debian came in the days of 'Y2K'. I think my first
install of Debian was Potato. Coming from distributions of RedHat
purchased in a red box at a retail store, it was a revelation. What
impressed me about Debian then was that the people giving answers on
debian-user seemed to be real, knowledgeable 'SysAdmins', but without
the anger, people who were clearly able to help, and clearly hoping
that the questioner would succeeded, not just go away quickly. I had
already been exposed to big, 'main frame' computers in my work in
Physics research, and had recently retired. I had some thought of
learning the internals of how computers worked as a retirement
hobby. Compared to Red Hat, back then, there was much less frustration
in getting useful help, and, for me more importantly, the help came
with some education. I remember reading the File Hierarchy Standard
(FHS). It must have been suggested to me in the answer to one of my
questions. Otherwise, I would never have found it.

I began to develop an idea of the organization that was developing
inside the Debian organization. To me it seemed that the people had a
shared view of how Debian might take over the world, and they realized
that they needed more people to join their ranks. Yes, defaults are
important, but, in this context, namely a reply to a request for
opinion about the value of defaults, I think 'default' is really
'context'.  That is to say the default for a decision or an action is
determined by the context.

Now the context is very different from what it was in the time of
Potato.  But for Debian, there is still the organizational imperative
of recruiting and training the next generation. There is so much more
work to be done. The organization has to be so much larger. The people
'at the top' have to be in touch with what is needed in so many new
issues that never troubled Debian way back when... 

When I read OP's post, I took it to be a comment on the contending
'desk tops', and that people were worrying that somebody else's desk
top would win top billing (i.e. default) position. If desk-tops are
in an alphabetically ordered list, my preference will surely lose,
but so be it. The tradition of Debian is that so long as a qualified
maintainer can be found for a package, that package will not be 
dropped, just because it not appropriate for some view of the modern
computer market context. But maybe I shouldn't be so complacient. 

Maybe I should be afraid, very afraid.
Oh well,
Paul E Condon           

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