This is my first time on the Debian mailing list. I wanted to bring up
a number of things I have been thinking about as of late. I had a long
loooong chat in #debian-offtopic if some of you remember.
Abrotman - you're gonna love this :P
Apologies in advance for the anti-ubuntu-ness, it's just my opinion...
please don't take it personally
First of all I want to bring up the idea of a FSF Debian GNU/Linux,
everyone I have spoken to on IRC so far are in support of this idea so I
thought I'd outline it here so that theres a record of it.
I'm tired of seeing projects like gNewSense and Gobuntu. Debian is
miles more in tune with FSF expectations on 'the free operating system'
idea than Ubuntu is, for example Firefox is a problem which Ubuntu don't
mind but we do. It would take far less effort for us to create a FSF
compliant operating system than it is out of a 'Ubuntu Base' <- (that
makes my stomach churn).
All we have to do is form an official sister project that makes a
slightly tweaked version of stable (Etch) with a different Kernel that
doesn't contain the binary firmware. Possibly if you wanted to get even
more favour with the FSF you could swap IceWeasel for IceCat (since they
are practically identical and serve the same purpose, but IceCat is GNU
FSF endorsing an OS that has a 'Ubuntu Base' <- (again, *vomits*)
only serves to give even more attention publicity to the Ubuntu
community than to its daddy... Debian. Ubuntu being used as a 'base'
for new operating systems (I can name many now, see wikipedia), or even
as a 'Server OS' (are they Microsoft or what?) is a threat to what
Debian is renounced for and could (one day) make us potentially defunct.
This sister project can act as a constant reminder we use binary
firmware and keep us focussed on (one day, I admit its a long way off)
moving towards that goal. And hopefully eventually (personal opinion
here) GNU/Hurd... so it no longer matters anyway.
Debian has the upper hand in servers, stability, and multi
architecture... it's time we show FSF why endorsing an OS that _only_ a
x86 desktop-orientated OS is not enough.
NOTE: I only use Dreamlinux occasionally to see how its doing, I'm not a
regular user and this isn't an advert - I'm using it as an example of a
'not so bad fork'.
Second! I spent a long time in #debian-offtopic (points at abrotman)
arguing that Dreamlinux is a worthy Operating System. And the reason
why I say it is 'worthy' is they (for the most part) actually use our
repositories. If we were to declare lenny as stable tomorrow, all of
their users would immediately start trying to upgrade to Sid (which is a
little silly in my opinion, but hey).
I was trying to say that Ubuntu is a fork in that they have wholly
taken a separate copy of Debian and re-branded it their own. The Ubuntu
front-page doesn't even mention it is based on Debian any more now,
although the server page does say... "The Ubuntu Server Edition - built
on the solid foundation of Debian... blah blah"... but that does make me
scream... WELL USE DEBIAN THEN. But that's a little off topic :P.
So Ubuntu is a definite fork... but I was trying to say Dreamlinux is
at least _less_ of a fork in that it is very very much reliant on us.
If you want to fix something in Dreamlinux there's a 99% chance that
'the something' is actually a Debian component... and to fix it you
would be fixing it for Debian too as we host it.
I will admit... Dreamlinux IS A FORK... and it is not Debian (only based
on) -- so you can be happy abrotman
I would like it to be mentioned on www.debian.org/misc/children-distros
as I think it is an admirable project and is now in the top 10 of
distrowatch. Also I think Sidux works in a similar way by using our
real repositories (I like calling these Sporks not Forks :P but I'm just
odd) and that isn't on the list either. Dreamlinux devs and admins make
a repeated habit of saying they are Debian based, and they do not ever
intend to go with their own repository - the developers are proud Debian
users looking to make something preconfigured for desktop use out of the
To some degree these Sporks (less than forks) make me think a win for
them, is at the very least a small win for us... if we can have official
KDE leaning and XFCE leaning editions of Debian (alternate CD1's) then
these are like unofficial editions of debian with their own cause... but
not straying totally on two feet from our project like Ubuntu.
Now for my final rant...
I've been using testing (Lenny) at work for a number of months now, I
know its not meant for production environments but I get by. There's a
few packages (e.g. grsync) that I like to use and I need their latest
versions to get the features/fixes I need. Backport doesn't really have
much in it... I got Pidgin out of it one day, then wondered what else
was in there and found out not much was. Before I continue I would
_really_ like to point out (because I'm new you may not know) I have to
up more respect for this project and the length of time needed to create
a truly stable operating system.
Every day there's a good twenty odd updates which makes sense since
it is -testing-. A few months back I couldn't even boot up because lilo
had updated and screwed the boot up process (don't say use grub, there's
a good reason why I use lilo) but I fixed it, woo! I don't really mind
the fixing of stuff and that was barely a problem (only a few hours
:S). At the moment I can't use my number pad keys and every now and
then focus gets stuck on an individual object (like a text box) in a
program and you can't click or do anything else _on_ anything else.
This occurred a could of week back... _after_ updates ;P DUN DUN
I don't know why it happens and I'm not asking for ideas on fixing
them... seriously don't try as I don't care. My suggestion however is
this... In the process of lenny being created it can't possibly go from
0% done straight to 100% done. If we had Alpha releases, say
'lenny-alpha1' release at a point where there's no major
block/crash-like problems being caused then people could download that
milestone release. 'lenny-alpha1' could then not update until
'lenny-alpha2' is released... I'm not saying change how the testing
development process already works, just have these additional milestones
for people who want to try it in a production environment as a stop gap
until lenny is ready. Essentially it would be something
'almost-stable'... 'testing' can go on adding more unstable packages
after an Alpha release without affecting those users who liked being on
Without this 'stop gap' I feel a lot of people probably just get
frustrated and hop to Ubuntu with its 6 monthly release cycle. Many
many other projects have alpha releases, I think this could work for
Debian too and would keep a lot of people happy while we wait for the
next stable release... which should _not_ be speeded up under any
pressure - it takes... as long as it takes. These milestones don't have
to affect the way it is developed, just someone keeping an eagle eye out
for a weekly generated ISO that -kinda works OK- that can be relabelled
Alpha 1, 2, 3 etc... and with a tweaked apt so it doesn't update until
the next Alpha.
Please let me know what you think about all this stuff
I'm hoping your all friendly and don't bite.
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