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Re: Questions about Ubuntu

(I'm taking the liberty to reorder your questions)

On Tue, Feb 28, 2006 at 07:23:08PM +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> 1/ What is your personal opinion about Ubuntu ?

It's reportedly a good distribution (I never tried it myself), and they
definitely have done a great job on making Linux more popular and
accessible by reaching a lot of new Linux users.

I do think it's been a healthy thing, as competition can make both parties
stronger. I believe Debian will remain the universal distribution, and
because of the nature of open source, any general improvements they
apply technically, will eventually make their way into Debian. Having 15
or so full-time employees on a distribution that is similar to Debian
unstable can only benefit Debian in the end.

But yes, Ubuntu does take away users that could otherwise have been
using Debian. But so does Red Hat, and why would our response be
different w.r.t. Ubuntu than with Red Hat? We should simply ensure our
distribution is the best. Also w.r.t. media approach, and
Code-of-Conduct, we can possibly learn in some aspects from Ubuntu, and
I intend to look into that. I just think that copying shipit.ubuntu.com
won't be feasible for us... (however, sponsors interested in that,
should definitely contact leader@ :)

> 3/ What changes do you wish concerning the Debian-Ubuntu collaboration ?

Their intentions are good, and I can understand that with a startup
project like it is, they can not always keep up to their promises.
However, it'd really like to see that they were a bit more realistic in
their outwards communication about contributing back to Debian. It is
not a shame that they don't always manage to do so (I hope it'll
improve, though), but then they need to be realistic about it.

However, it would be unfair to put the onus completely with Ubuntu,
because it's also Debian's responsibility to collaborate if we are
interested in that. I can easily imagine an Ubuntu contributor not
giving highest priority to forwarding his latest patch to Debian when the
previous dozen or so are still lingering without maintainer response in
our BTS.

Cooperation needs to come from both sides, and I think some improvements
are possible, but they mostly should happen at the maintainer(-team)
level. One cannot really enforce cooperation from above. Let teams like
the debian-installer team be a good example for everyone, also, I will
warmly support the Utnubu project. Where I can assist with
infrastructure to get patches more easily contributed back, I will do

> 2/ What explains in your opinion the bad feelings that some DD have against
> Ubuntu ?

I am not a psychologist, nor aspire to be one (my brother is studying to
be one, maybe I should ask him :). Anyway, I think a large part has to
do with fear of Ubuntu getting more popular than Debian, which hurts our
ego in varying degrees, and another reason is the feeling that Ubuntu is
showing off with the work done in Debian. At least the latter thing
definitely seems to be the root for the whole "What should
Derivates^WUbuntu do with the Maintainer field" issue.

I think we should be confident in our own distribution.


Jeroen van Wolffelaar
Jeroen@wolffelaar.nl (also for Jabber & MSN; ICQ: 33944357)

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