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Re: Q to all candidates: what is the long-term role of traditional Linux distributions?

Hi Matthew

On 2019/04/03 00:22, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> Given these upstream shifts, is attempting to package as much software 
> as possible something that actually benefits Debian and our users, or is 
> it something that brings us a duplication of effort?

I'm not quite convinced that these upstream shifts are as pronounced as
you make it out to be. Packaging software in Debian is both beneficial
to its users, and a duplication of effort. Some things are a
double-edged sword and you have to weigh up the positives and the
negatives. I don't think it's a valid "or" question.

> If we spent time on building tooling to automatically identify that (say) installed Go 
> applications that contain dependencies with security vulnerabilities and 
> alert users, would that be time better spent than independendly
> packaging and maintaining those dependencies ourselves?

I think it's up to people who use hacky distribution methods to try to
solve the problems that they create, not us.

> Are our current priorities the best way to serve the free software
> community over the next 10 years?

Do you mind being more clear about which priorities you're referring to?

Regardless, the answer is likely to be no. I think there will be too
much change over the next ten years for any project to have the luxury
of having the same exact priorities over such a period.

As for our official priorities in terms of our social contract, I hope
that those priorities will be the same in 10 years from now.

> Would we be better off focusing Debian as a high-quality base for users
> who then largely consume software from other sources?

I don't think so. However, I do think we can do a lot more to make it
easier for users to consume software from 3rd party sources. There has
been some good discussions on this topic on this list recently, and its
clear that it's not going to be a problem that you can fix by just
throwing random quick and convenient ideas at it. Flatpacks, Snaps and
AppImages are a reasonable stopgap but they don't come close to solving
all the problems that they try to address and also cause new problems.
Personally I would rather us focus on bringing Debian's distribution
methods to the point where it's second to none. Based on the discussions
we've had on this list recently, it certainly seems possible to get
there, even if it may take some time.

Debian as it exists now is already very usable as a high quality base
that can be used to consume 3rd party sources, so if that aspect had
more attention and focus, what would you like to see better in Debian as
a base system?


  ⢀⣴⠾⠻⢶⣦⠀  Jonathan Carter (highvoltage) <jcc>
  ⣾⠁⢠⠒⠀⣿⡁  Debian Developer - https://wiki.debian.org/highvoltage
  ⢿⡄⠘⠷⠚⠋   https://debian.org | https://jonathancarter.org
  ⠈⠳⣄⠀⠀⠀⠀  Be Bold. Be brave. Debian has got your back.

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