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Old 07-22-2010, 12:10 PM
Russ Allbery
 
Default How to make Debian more attractive for users

Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org> writes:
> Le jeudi 22 juillet 2010 * 16:09 +1000, Ben Finney a écrit :
>> Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org> writes:

>>> This one [claim of Debian's libraries being out-of-date] always
>>> boggles me and makes me wonder if we should present Debian unstable or
>>> testing as the "typical" installation. Debian testing (and often
>>> Debian unstable) is more stable than the distributions with equivalent
>>> up-to-date libraries, and those distributions generally never offer
>>> anything remotely like Debian stable. (RHEL is considerably more
>>> unstable than Debian stable *and* has even older software, for
>>> example.)

>> Which of the above uses of “stable” refers to stability (“slow rate of
>> change”), and which refers to reliability (“high likelihood of working
>> when needed”)? Too many conversations conflate the two, and in this
>> case I think the distinction is important.

> Having already seen a major postfix upgrade which broke all existing
> installations in a RHEL update, I think we can talk of both stability
> and reliability in both contexts.

Amen. The experience for us with RHEL was kernel updates, but similar
principle.

Also, I think you can't have one without the other, really. It's very,
very hard to do reliable change of software, particularly when you're not
the institution writing the software or doing comprehensive QA (not that
there's much in the way of comprehensive QA in the free software world
other than lots of people running it and reporting bugs -- traditional QA
is usually too expensive for the benefit). I'm dubious that we'd ever
achieve the stability that Debian stable offers without the update policy
we use.

--
Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>


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Old 07-22-2010, 01:10 PM
Steffen Mller
 
Default How to make Debian more attractive for users

Hello,

after reading through this long thread, I find many somewhat diverging
opinions, but not a single posting I could not at least partially agree
to. This includes Lucas with "we should not include Debian money", while
I hope we could somehow have him agreeing to a separate account from
which any "Debian phone number and/or friendlier face" could possibly be
financed, with the community voting on what to do with profits (if any).
The problem I see with any Debian-independent solution is that we as a
community would have less of a control over it, and there is again the
problem of additional insecurity on the users' side if the number dialed
was the correct one. Maybe this analogon helps: I have one number on my
mobile called "Taxi" which will get me to the closest Taxi company,
wherever I happen to travel. A Debian number should ask for more than
GPS coordinates but also try to figure out what company is closest with
its spectrum of services/products, .... etc. I can imagine that many
smaller companies are also afraid of doing contracts or so in a foreign
language, i.e. there is a lot to which a central contact point may
contribute.

>From Cate

On 07/22/2010 11:55 AM, Giacomo A. Catenazzi wrote:
> On 22.07.2010 10:38, Andreas Tille wrote:
>
>> On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 10:28:36AM +0200, Giacomo A. Catenazzi wrote:
>> [..]
>
>>
>>> So, let see how to improve Debian, not how to increase
>>> our userbase!
>>
>> I do not think that we succeed in improving Debian if the userbase is
>> decreasing. IMHO this would mean we are trapped in an ivory tower. So
>> both parameters "quality of distribution" and "number of users" are
>> somehow connected and you can not ignore this relation.
>
> Yes, my point is that we should think how to improve Debian (from
> our selfish point of view: an happy hacker programs more), and
> then users will follow us.
+1 we should always do that. And we are doing so at the very moment, I
think.
>
> But the thread seems like: what we could steal from other distributions
Ooops, no, I definitely don't want to take users from other distros
away. When
pointers are made to others then because they may seem to do something
better
than us and this should make us think more.

I am after the many Linux users that are still isolated from us
distribution makers
for various reasons. I want to make them happier with us. This happiness
will
then shine over to other Linux distributions (sorry for that) but more
so I hope
to improve our product and get fewer people migrate to the Mac or come to us
from closed source OSes.
> to gain some market share. But I think all distribution are different
> and should try to be different, so ok to copy if we improve ourself,
> but not copying only to attract users.
We have so far mentioned the distributed-community-ness of Debian as a
disadvantage.
And it certainly is when one thinks about making deals of various sorts.
But it is
a plus when a vendor wants to feel a part of a Linux distro. How can you
feel part of
SuSE? Well, you could buy some Novell stock, but this does not get you
in. You can
contribute to OpenSuSE, but this is not SuSE, still. Hence, I think we need
a <metaphoric>phone number</metaphoric> and the confidence of the community
that when that phone number is called that they would contacted as a member
of our community when the caller actually meant to call them but just
did not
know about their prior existance.
> IMHO the priorities are:
> 1- enjoy us (thus indirectly also to be proud of our product, so
> enjoying users)
> 2- quality and freedom
> 3- increase GNU/Linux (and other free kernels) users
> 4- increase our users
+1
>
> IMHO most of this thread discusses only to the last point, without
> thinking some negative effects on the other points
This thread is about the observed _decrease_ of users (ok, probably some
contribution
is just from people on vacation having switched their machine off) and
we wonder
why this happens and what we should possibly change. The phone number(s)
shall
help to weaken what separates "us" from "them", but I am otherwise fully
with you.


Many greetings

Steffen


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Old 07-22-2010, 01:21 PM
Nicholas Bamber
 
Default How to make Debian more attractive for users

I reckon a forum would be much easier to finance (even with moderators)
than a phone line. It could probably be integrated with one of the
mailing lists which would go a long way to make it look friendlier.



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Old 07-22-2010, 01:36 PM
Bjrn Mork
 
Default How to make Debian more attractive for users

"Jess M. Navarro" <jesus.navarro@undominio.net> writes:

> "so good that *I* will prefer it over others".

The problem with this is that we all(?) already prefer Debian.

In my eyes, there is no question about which distro to choose. I prefer
Debian for so many reasons that I'm not sure I'm able to list them all.
But some of them are
- active mailing lists
- bug tracker with actual content
- reliability and managebility
- responsive developers
- large package base
- a per package choice between stability and bleeding egde

The only downside I can think of is the extremist "free" definition, but
I can live with that.

But I don't think my reasons for choosing Debian can be applied to the
masses. They probably don't care much about how easy bug fixing is, and
a large number of packages is not important if the version of package X
is "too old". I believe they only care about:
business user: "can I buy a Linux OS from someone, inluding support?"
home user: "what do my friends use?"

And the answers to those two questions are currenly "RHEL" and "Ubuntu".


Bjrn


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Old 07-22-2010, 01:36 PM
Steffen Mller
 
Default How to make Debian more attractive for users

On 07/22/2010 03:21 PM, Nicholas Bamber wrote:
> I reckon a forum would be much easier to finance (even with
> moderators) than a phone line. It could probably be integrated with
> one of the mailing lists which would go a long way to make it look
> friendlier.
+1 there are various Debian support forums already, but I agree that
to have one closer to us would be helpful. Actually I very much like
your notion of a Moderator. The disadvantage of a forum is that
everything is public and I could imagine that someone would like to call
or email in without that call to be reported somewhere publicly (like:
"we have this IT staff, they could have told that", or "uh, they use
GENtle, we should email them so they use our commercial alternative"). I
still think the (team of) moderator(s) should have a phone with a
publicly known number.

Steffen


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Old 07-22-2010, 03:05 PM
Paul Wise
 
Default How to make Debian more attractive for users

On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 9:21 PM, Nicholas Bamber <nicholas@periapt.co.uk> wrote:

> I reckon a forum would be much easier to finance (even with moderators) than
> a phone line. It could probably be integrated with one of the mailing lists
> which would go a long way to make it look friendlier.

forums.debian.net has existed for years.

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pabs

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Old 07-22-2010, 03:14 PM
Paul Wise
 
Default How to make Debian more attractive for users

On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 4:28 PM, Giacomo A. Catenazzi <cate@debian.org> wrote:

> I think it is bugous to ask such question.
>
> IMHO we should care about improving Debian, going toward the perfection, not
> about increasing the number of users (which should
> be a nice secondary effect).
>
> I don't think increasing the number of Debian user is per se
> a nice things, after looking Ubuntu.
...
> So, let see how to improve Debian, not how to increase
> our userbase!

The two are not entirely unrelated. I was a user of Debian before I
was a Debian contributor. All developers come from a pool of users and
with more developers we can make a better distro. Figuring out how to
convert users into developers is the hard part though.

--
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pabs

http://wiki.debian.org/PaulWise


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Old 07-22-2010, 03:24 PM
Nicholas Bamber
 
Default How to make Debian more attractive for users

Okay so that's what I learnt in school today. Could we have a link to it
on the from page? There is room in that red menu bar. Actually I tried
to look for it under "support" and various other places, but I could not
find it.



Paul Wise wrote:

On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 9:21 PM, Nicholas Bamber <nicholas@periapt.co.uk> wrote:



I reckon a forum would be much easier to finance (even with moderators) than
a phone line. It could probably be integrated with one of the mailing lists
which would go a long way to make it look friendlier.



forums.debian.net has existed for years.





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Old 07-22-2010, 03:27 PM
Charles Plessy
 
Default How to make Debian more attractive for users

Le Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 11:54:16AM +0300, Teemu Likonen a crit :
>
> Debian's attractiveness (or perhaps the lack of it) is probably a sum of
> several different things. I think one of those things is the front page
> <http://www.debian.org>. The page may implicitly suggest that there is
> nothing happening in the project. It looks almost always the same,
> almost like one of those abandoned projects.
>
> I understand the "patched are welcome" nature of the project but there
> has already been an example implementations for the front page. A couple
> of years back there was lengthy discussion which even made me feel that
> now it's really happening, the front page will change soon, but still
> nothing. Were do those suggestions go?

Hi all,

in my opinion, it is not only a question of design, but of infrastructure. For
me, the combination of CVS and WML finally eroded all my motivation over the
years for keeping some life in the pages under /devel/debian-med. I would
welcome any change of VCS and language, even if it means losing the history or
rewriting the pages from scratch.

Cheers,

--
Charles Plessy
Debian Med packaging team,
http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-med
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan


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Old 07-22-2010, 03:29 PM
Paul Wise
 
Default How to make Debian more attractive for users

On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 11:24 PM, Nicholas Bamber
<nicholas@periapt.co.uk> wrote:

> Okay so that's what I learnt in school today. Could we have a link to it on
> the from page? There is room in that red menu bar. Actually I tried to look
> for it under "support" and various other places, but I could not find it.

Please file a bug on the www.debian.org pseudo-package.

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pabs

http://wiki.debian.org/PaulWise


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