back to article Debian discord over de-classified developer proposal

Members of the Debian community are up in arms following a surprise announcement over the way project participants are vetted and organized. The announcement, posted by Debian developer and administrator Joerg Jaspert, proposed - among other things - that a new class of non-technical Debian contributor be introduced. This …


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  1. John H Woods Silver badge

    ... if it stops idiots breaking the security ...

    ... what's the problem?

  2. Pete Silver badge

    this may be a dumb question

    (though that's never stopped me before), but does anyone in the Debian community represent the users? Has anyone been given, or has assumed, the responsibility to ask questions like "why would anyone want this [feature]?", or even to act as a gatekeeper to prevent new stuff getting in if it's not properly debugged, documented or simply too slow, resource-hungry or bloated.

    While it can be argued that why would the Debian want to lumber itself with such a thing, when they're all having such a nice time doing whatever the hell they please - and more importantly, none of the other O/S's appear to, either (including the obvious commercial alternatives). I can't help thinking that looking at their stuff from a user's perspective would be a giant leap forward in gaining acceptance by the "average user" and maybe even making linux's share of the desktop something to be proud of.

    After all, how many movie viewing, or CD burning programs does the average linux distribution need?

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    How is it that one of the most stable distros seems to have the least stable developers?

  4. Pierre

    Good problems (also, @Pete)

    These problem only arise because the Debian community is growing very large. In a way, these are "good" problems as it reflects Debian's success. Now the point is to avoid a Wikipedia-like drift.

    @ Pete: historically one doesn't care about what the users want, one develops a solution that suits them and make it available to the community (that's why you'll find tons of semi-equivalent small end-user apps like media players or mail clients). Of course an organized backbone is necessary, so that have been developped in a more "customer-oriented" way. Also, some people now want to make a living out of their coding activities. But these approaches are not as close to the open source culture (IMVHO). And if the end-user wants something specific, he can build it or bend existing code to his needs. That's the beauty of it.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    Why do you think Ubuntu is so successful?

    Even if sound and network browsing is broken in 8.10

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tee Hee

    money has it usages :)

    Community projects are hilarious, it all about the ego, whereas if cash is involved it can be about something else.

    Such is the human condition, no one gives without wanting something back, those who want respect are just one step away from slavery, show me the value backed currency!

    Though as soon as you add non tech to the endeavour, it gets even worse, that causes it all to fracture - hmm a few more distros on the horizon, oh well you can never have too many :)

  7. Anonymous Coward

    i know folks won't like this but....

    but that's how BSD rolls, well openBSD anyway. i'm not terribly familiar with the other varieties. they have two classes of applications: packages which are heavily vetted and worked on/over by devs, and ports, which are source only and have more flexibility when it comes to approval and whatnot.

    anyway, the BSD way is more about building a smaller core of fanatically tested and maintained code while still providing a good platform to run the largest possible number of applications.

    i'm not trying to sound like a BSD nut, but i think a big problem with a number of linux distros is bloat and creeping dependency drama, which a highly focused core devoted to the core of the distribution could help address.

    as long as the net install version stays lean and clean i really don't care what they do :-)

  8. Tzvetan Mikov

    @Pete: not a dumb question

    It is not a dumb question, but it is kind of irrelevant in the Debian context. Debian is not a commercial distribution. Nobody gets paid. Enthusiasm is key. So, Debian developers maintain software which they like and like to use themselves. It doesn't matter if there are a dozen different applications doing the same thing, as long as all of them have happy maintainers.

    In my opinion this actually results in a distribution which may not be easily approachable by the average user, but is consistently superior technically and is a boon for developers like me.

    In a way it is like music - the best music is not created for the fans; it is just something that the artist loves to do.

    If you think about it, it is impossible to work for free in any other way.

  9. Matt Ryan

    Same old, same old...

    Can someone explain how arguments within Debian about the new maintainer process are news?

  10. Roger Lancefield

    @ Pete

    Pete wrote:

    "I can't help thinking that looking at their stuff from a user's perspective would be a giant leap forward in gaining acceptance by the "average user" and maybe even making linux's share of the desktop something to be proud of."

    Pete, isn't that what Ubuntu is for? After all, Ubuntu is an African word meaning "can't be arsed to configure Debian".

  11. Anonymous Coward

    @this may be a dumb question

    Screw the average user. I want a distro that gives me control over everything...if that means some moron who just switched from winblows can't figure anything out then it's even better. Why all this nonsense about giving the newbies an easy to use distro? If they want to use a GNU/Linux distro they better read the bloody man pages and mail archives to get answers instead of relying on some crappy GUI that more flash than bang.


  12. Peyton

    Enmity between users and maintainers?

    So Debian has decided to follow the Gentoo model then?

  13. Steve Evans


    Not sure I understand the politics involved, but anything that gets the views of the non-technical user to the techies can only be good.

    Linux will never break into the big time desktop market if common configurations continually require running for the console. Laptop centrino wireless for example. Sure, *I* know this is due to the non-open source drivers, but does a non-techie user really care? They would just like their laptop to work via wifi... In fact *I* would like my laptop to work via wifi... /me mutters about wpa2...

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Nail above


    It's time for some usability

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Small storm in irrelevant teacup

    Handbags and flouncing around at Debian? Wow-ee, this is nearly as important as PH breaking a fingernail ...

  16. BioTube


    There are distros that attempt to configure everything for you; Debian isn't one of those. As for the console, acceptance has been spreading despite the frequent need for it. Maybe people are just learning to stop worrying and love the CLI.

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