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Ian Murdock: Debian "Missing a Big Opportunity" 330

Posted by Hemos
from the tsk-tsk-tsk dept.
Natester writes "While Debian struggles to get its next release (Etch) out the door, the project's founder, Ian Murdock, has spoken out about politics, the lack of firm leadership, and Ubuntu's meteoric rise in prominence. Murdock believes that Debian is "process run amok" — nobody feels empowered to make decisions, leading to the sluggish rate of progress."
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Ian Murdock: Debian "Missing a Big Opportunity"

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  • Firm Leadership (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Monday March 19, 2007 @12:18PM (#18402439)
    Sometimes you need firm leadership to make decisions rather than stagnate by trying to please everyone all the time and doing nothing.
    • by athloi (1075845) on Monday March 19, 2007 @12:47PM (#18402829) Homepage Journal
      I thought Open Source was about each of us having it our way instead. Compilation without representation is tyranny!
      • Re:Firm Leadership (Score:5, Insightful)

        by diegocgteleline.es (653730) on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:10PM (#18403097)
        Open source is about choice, but Debian is about providing a distro that does what most of their users are supposed to want. It's still a tyranny - the tyrany of democracy.
      • Re:Firm Leadership (Score:5, Insightful)

        by iabervon (1971) on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:58PM (#18403713) Homepage Journal
        If we all wanted it our own way, we wouldn't need Open Source. We'd just write all of our software ourselves. Really, everybody wants to tweak a couple of things slightly, and leave the vast majority of everything entirely unchanged. The point of Open Source is that we can make just a couple of slight modifications, and we don't need to start from scratch. But this, then, relies on there being software that is close to solving our problems.

        It's the bikeshed problem: everybody agrees that we want a bikeshed, and that it needs to be painted to keep from rotting, and nobody has a particular color it has to be, but nobody feels empowered to go out and buy paint, in case somebody turns out to be deeply offended by the color choice. Someone needs to take the initiative and pick something, and if anyone turns out to care, they can repaint it later.
    • Re:Firm Leadership (Score:5, Interesting)

      by i_should_be_working (720372) on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:42PM (#18403507)
      I'm skeptical as to whether a firm leader would be able to keep all those developers together working on Debian. It may work for Ubuntu, but Ubuntu has much fewer developers. And they get paid.

      If I were a coder I would be much more likely to volunteer my time to Debian than Ubuntu. I'd rather donate to a fully democratic system than a benevolent dictatorship. And if I'm already coding for a project and they decide that they're going to "empower" someone to ultimately say what goes and what doesn't, I'd be more likely to quit contributing code.
      • Re:Firm Leadership (Score:5, Interesting)

        by networkBoy (774728) on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:54PM (#18403657) Homepage Journal
        Dam I wanted to mod in this thread but I can't mod you fairly: "fair point but I really disagree" (underrated I suppose?)

        Anyway, I feel that a benevolent dictatorship is actually the prize winner in the dev cycle. Once you get into the "please everyone, get a majority vote" mode of operation you run into endless debate as one side tries to convince the other side of the merits of their idea(s). Now I want a unanimous decision on a jury, but for a distro I want a clear path and direction. The dictatorship forces that path to exist. While I may want the path a different color, so long as it's going the same general direction I am then I'm OK with it.

        The direction I'm interested in is a mainstream linux that I can deploy on joe sixpack's computer. I want a linux that is as friendly as OSX, and as compatible with hardware as Windows. I want a distro for the masses, and thus while you are entitled to fork it and tweak it, I think the main tree should be ruled by an authoritarian, rather than a committee.

        I also think that the "open market" will decide this for us. Suppliers (donors of code and money) will "sell" to their ideals and buyers will install to their needs.
        -nB
        • Re:Firm Leadership (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Monday March 19, 2007 @02:40PM (#18404253) Homepage

          The direction I'm interested in is a mainstream linux that I can deploy on joe sixpack's computer.

          That niche is well supplied by Ubuntu. If you think the space needs competition to keep things fresh, it has it: Linspire and Mandriva.

          Debian *doesn't* need to target that niche at all. The existing policy of slow, steady progress and periodic rock-solid server releases produces a distro that's an excellent basis for projects ranging from Ubuntu to Embedded Debian to build from. There are occasionally cases where Debian is a bit slower than it should be (multiarch for example), but that doesn't mean that what Debian is should be thrown away to make an Ubuntu replica.

        • Re:Firm Leadership (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hey! (33014) on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:43PM (#18405037) Homepage Journal
          I think we have to be careful about drawing analogies and using terms national politics when we talk about group dynamics. We shouldn't let our justifiable aversion to political dictatorship poison our attitude towards the idea of strong leadership, which is a completely different thing.

          What we call "benevolent dictatorship" in a group like this means decisive leadership with power make its decisions stick within the confines of the project. This is a very different thing than a political dictatorship (benevolent or otherwise), because in national politics there are no practical limits to which the power of a dictator is confined.

          Philosophically, strong leadership within a voluntary project is consistent with the status of an individual contributor as a rational being. The contributor has the practical option of "voting with his feet", by jumping to a different project. A wise leader who relies upon voluntary contributors keeps the best of them happier contributing than leaving. A true dictatorship is inconsistent with the status of an individual citizen as a rational being, because a citizen cannot vote with his feet. The dictator can choose to make any trivial dissent a matter of life and death, and choose in a completely arbitrary way.

          I once heard Prince Bandar claim that absolute monarchy wasn't really different than democracy, only in a monarchy people "vote out" the government by taking to the streets. While this might be wise for abolute monarchs to bear in mind, it conveniently ignores the fact that the subject of a true monarchy must be willing to risk everthing, his life, the life of his friends and family, in order to act in accordance with his reason or conscience. It sidesteps the question of whether it is necessary or beneficial to make the exercise of individual reason a life or death decision.

          In the Debian case, anybody unsatisfied with Debian can join a different Linux distro project. Not only that, they can walk away still in posession of their entire body of contribution, as well as the entire contribution of everybody else. The only things the can't take with them is the community (they'd have to build their own or convince others to move with them) and the name.

          The irony here is that the apparent anarchy of the free software paradigm makes it possible to exercise extremely decisive leadership with little or no ethical risk. There is nothing a free software leader can do to a contributor, other than refuse to take his contributions.

          The utter inability of a project leader to inflict meaningful harm on a contributor makes elaborate safeguards for the dignity of the individual redundant. That respect is built into the software development paradigm, not the organization.

          It's very important not to confuse strong leadership with dictatorship. Leadership is securing the voluntary cooperation of individuals, sometimes to a course of action that the individual does not favor. While leadership might be useful in a dictatorship, the key job skill for a dictator is the infliction of fear.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2007 @12:19PM (#18402447)
    Hi all,

    It's being announced today that I'm joining Sun as chief operating
    platforms officer, which basically means I'll be in charge of Sun's
    operating system strategy, spanning Solaris and Linux. I just posted the
    announcement on my blog (http://ianmurdock.com/2007/03/19/joining-sun/),
    and it'll likely be making the rounds soon. Just wanted to
    make sure you heard the news directly from me and to introduce myself.

    First things first: I'm a long time Linux user, developer, and advocate.
    I founded Debian in 1993, co-founded a Linux distribution company called
    Progeny in 1999, and most recently served as CTO of the new Linux
    Foundation, where I was (and still am) chair of the LSB, the Linux
    platform interoperability standard. I'm also a long time Sun fan.

    As for what I'll be doing: While I'm coming in with some fairly formed
    opinions about what Sun/Solaris/OpenSolaris ought to do (peruse my
    blog a bit to learn more), I'm also a big believer in listening
    before talking, and I have a lot of listening to do in the weeks
    to come. So, please, feel free to drop me a line if you have
    anything to tell me. And, please, be gentle while I get settled. :-)

    Gotta get on a call in a few minutes. In the meantime, I just wanted
    to say hello, and to make sure you heard the news directly from me.

    Later,

    -ian
    --
    Ian Murdock
    http://ianmurdock.com/ [ianmurdock.com]
    • Good luck and we all hope you'll do well over there at Sun.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:19PM (#18403205)

      by Anonymous Coward
      +

      I'm a long time Linux user, developer, and advocate.
      = WTF? Not every linux dev is a slashdot user?
    • For one scary moment, that could be "Rupert Murdock joining Sun"!
  • It's sad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Monday March 19, 2007 @12:26PM (#18402549) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunately, Debian has suffered from a concatenation of problems this year. Dunc-tank (a scheme to pay some developers) sapped a lot of good-will and motivation, and made some developers actually work to hold back the release in protest, and as a result it's another "who knows when it'll happen" Debian release. There has been a lot of bickering on other topics - Debian should never hold face-to-face meetings, something bad always happens - and unfortunately the current DPL hasn't been able to rally the troops or lead effectively in any way I can see. I hope they recover, I think they are still our best hope among Linux distributions.

    Bruce

    • Re:It's sad (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cyclop (780354) on Monday March 19, 2007 @12:42PM (#18402777) Homepage Journal

      Sorry for the naivete, but I don't plain understand the rationale behind the DuncTank failure.

      I mean, even if I'm a non-paid developer, what's bad in having me collaborating with payed developers if it helps getting the work done? Isn't it a bit like the GSoC? People in GSoC-funded projects should whine and hold back releases because "hey, why is he paid and I am not?" I just don't understand it, but I don't know the exact story behind the Dunc Tank collapse, so I'd like some enlightenment.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816)
        The only important part of the story is that some big-egos felt that they deserved monetary recognition more than people who were receiving it, so they got upset. These people are selfish and arrogant. If it was worth it to develop Debian for free before some people started getting paid, then it was still worth it after; nothing changed for these particular developers. You could google around to find more information on why people are upset about this, but no matter what it boils down to immaturity and petu
        • Re:It's sad (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Aladrin (926209) on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:26PM (#18403295)
          I'm afraid I'm 'immature' then.

          If I was helping create a distro, and nobody was being paid... Then only a few people got money for doing exactly the same thing as before, exactly the same thing as I'm doing... I'd be upset, then disgusted, then I'd probably quit. (I wouldn't be so immature as to remain and hold back the project, though.) Then I'd either find something else to do with my life, find another distro to help, or make my own.

          Yes, there's ego involved... Everyone on a 'team' wants to feel like their at least equal to everyone else. With some people being paid and others not, it draws a very clear 'you're not as valuable' line. This is exactly the reason that many businesses make it a fire-able offense to discuss wages with other employees. And I whole-heartedly agree with that policy.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by drinkypoo (153816)

            I'm afraid I'm 'immature' then.

            Most of us are. It's how you handle your immaturity that defines you. When you can be held accountable for your thoughts, we're ALL going to the chair.

            If I was helping create a distro, and nobody was being paid... Then only a few people got money for doing exactly the same thing as before, exactly the same thing as I'm doing... I'd be upset, then disgusted, then I'd probably quit.

            As long as you admit that your reaction isn't about them, but about you, then at least you're n

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Toby_Tyke (797359)
          These people are selfish and arrogant. If it was worth it to develop Debian for free before some people started getting paid, then it was still worth it after; nothing changed

          While what you say is true, the problems stemming from paying some developers should have been anticipated. If you and I are both working on a project for free, and the organization running that project decide to pay you but not me, what they are essentially saying is "tyke, you're contribution is not as important as drinkypoo's". T
          • Re:It's sad (Score:5, Insightful)

            by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:44PM (#18403535) Homepage Journal

            While what you say is true, the problems stemming from paying some developers should have been anticipated.

            I think it was anticipated. I don't think the full fury of their immature response was, however. I don't think they believed that people would put their effort into making a project succeed, then turn around and put it into making it fail by deliberately holding it back.

            I think that while their contributions may be highly valuable and are in any case appreciated, the people who would do such things should be removed from the project. Their actions prove that they are interested more in their own reputation than in actually making the project succeed. If their efforts in some other place can assist the project, then so be it, but I think that keeping them around where they can enjoy further self-aggrandizement is only rewarding bad behavior, which encourages more bad behavior. When my little parrot squawks at me over and over again, fit to burst my eardrums (what bird experts typically refer to as "inappropriate vocalization") I don't yell at her; that just gives her attention. I cover her cage with a sheet, and wait for her to calm down. Perhaps the same response is appropriate in this situation.

            I'd say that our continuous tendency to reward bad behavior is the biggest problem in the world today.

            If you and I are both working on a project for free, and the organization running that project decide to pay you but not me, what they are essentially saying is "tyke, you're contribution is not as important as drinkypoo's". That is a slap in the face, especially if I think my contribution is as important as yours. True, I haven't lost anything, but you can't overlook the de-motivational impact of rewarding some people but not others.

            It IS saying that. In so many words! And as a contributor to the Debian project, these people have to decide what is more important; their own ego, or the Debian project. If they feel the former is true, then rather than deliberately holding Debian back, they need to go somewhere where they will receive the appreciation they feel they so richly deserve. Because there should never be room for someone whose ego is larger than the project.

            Because let's face it, I might HAVE a greater contribution to make than you do, and there is only so much money to be shared. So I might get that money, and you might not. My contribution might BE more valuable than yours is. Does that mean yours is not valuable? Of course not. Does it mean that YOU are not valuable? By the same logic, it cannot mean that. It can only mean that I am more critical to the project than you are, and thus it is worth it to pay me to be sure of retaining me. In this world we all have to accept that we are not at the pinnacle of every scale, not least because many are contradictory. Even if I were the most badass programmer to ever have lived (which I clearly am not, but bear with me) I would probably not be the best person on the planet. There's only so much of each of us to go around, if you are spread thin then you never reach much of a height in any category.

            It sounds to me like some of these people are good programmers, but not very good people.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by bjourne (1034822)
          The only important part of the story is that some big-egos felt that they deserved monetary recognition more than people who were receiving it, so they got upset.

          Maybe they did? If some of my colleagues where I work got a big payraise and I did not, despite me performing just as well or maybe even better than them, of course I am going to be immature and petulant. Such are the traits of humanity and I am sure most other would feel the same way. Every manager at every company could tell you that. Money re
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Raenex (947668)
          Debian's whole reason for coming into existence was to create a distribution by volunteers collaborating over the internet. Introducing paid employees into that equation was just a really bad idea.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by k8to (9046)
        Sure, the response is dumb. But the response should not be _surprising_ when you realize that it was done in a back-room-deal fashion and brought to the greater community fait accompli. It's supposed to be a community project and doing things (sun java include, dunc tank) out of sight weakens that sensibility, which engenders ill will.

        That people could have expressed their views and then moved on is given. That some people did not is no shock. Dunc tank, while not a bad idea, was poorly executed, and I'
    • Re:It's sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NoWhereMan (3539) on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:51PM (#18403621) Homepage Journal
      Debian should never hold face-to-face meetings, something bad always happens

      The lack of social skills is a really sad aspect in our community. I suspect it is at the root of your comment. Some geeks take a long time to mature (and some never do ;-). You had your shot as DPL, and the recent voting for SPI director suggests there is still room for improvement. Claiming that we should never meet seems defeatist to me. Meeting together and working on our social skills looks like a better choice to me. If we start out by recognizing we need to practice our social skills, we can improve.

      Times have changed. The old joke about no one on the internet knowing you are a dog still applies. But our respect is still based upon skills and knowledge. We just need to augment our view of what a person accomplishes to contain a social aspect too. The process may not be pain free. If we must deal with expulsion requests [debian.org] or a myriad of flamefests, then so be it. The Debian core values remain intact. We need to learn how to scale to larger numbers without diluting them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DrJimbo (594231)
        NoWhereMan said:

        Claiming that we should never meet seems defeatist to me. Meeting together and working on our social skills looks like a better choice to me. If we start out by recognizing we need to practice our social skills, we can improve.

        I very much disagree with the premise behind these statements. You seem to be ignoring the very existence of Asperger's Syndrome. From The Geek Syndrome [thegeeksyndrome.com]:

        Asperger's Syndrome is another term for high-functioning autism. Individuals with Aspergers (also known as "aspie

  • by wiredog (43288) on Monday March 19, 2007 @12:30PM (#18402603) Journal
    is Deb and Ian. That's what an IBM guy told me at FOSE a few years back.
  • IDNRTA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by crhylove (205956)
    I did not read the article, but here's my two cents:

    Ubuntu is trying to be a Windows killer. And it could be. Wine is "good enough" with the right settings for 90% of what most people want to do coming from a Windows world. Drivers exist. No, they're not FOSS, and I understand why people want FOSS ones, but....

    Why doesn't Ubuntu seal the deal?

    With beryl, good drivers, and built in FOSS apps that beat MS at every turn (Firefox > IE, Beryl > Aero, Thunderbird > Outlook, and VLC > WMP), it seem
    • it could take some design cues from Windows 98 with regards to menu structure


      You mean, having a "Start" menu that spans over 3 columns, filled with sub-folders that have only 1 single application and are cryptically named after some taiwaneese constructor ?

      Sorry, but I prefere much more the "Office / Games / Internet / Graphics / ..." menu structure of my linux disto. And in fact use the same structure in Windows too.
    • Re:IDNRTA (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday March 19, 2007 @12:45PM (#18402803) Homepage
      But nobody has. It's like people take pride in allowing the world of uneducated masses sucking on the corporate tit of MS. I just don't understand it.

      Feisty could win the OS wars decisively, but given the over all FOSS community attitude towards ordinary people....


      Um, if this attitude was such an obstacle, then Ubuntu wouldn't exist in the first place. If anything, Ubuntu is proof that there is a significant portion of the FOSS community that wants to bring FOSS to "ordinary people". Sure there are people who don't, and they're running Slackware.

      So given that, I must have completely missed the part where you specified what it is that is preventing Ubuntu from winning the OS wars decisively. You say it's comes preconfigured in a way superior to Windows. Personally I think Ubuntu, and Linux in general, has a ways to go before it's really an "ordinary people" as in "Windows replacement for everyone" kind of OS. I think they're a long way from winning the OS wars decisively or otherwise. But it is getting there, by leaps and bounds. You seem to think it's even farther along this path than I do, poised and ready to claim victory, so I'm again left wondering what it is you think is holding Ubuntu back.
    • by nuzak (959558)
      > Why doesn't Ubuntu seal the deal?

      It's called Linspire. It still doesn't run over half the printers or wireless NICs out there. You'd have to sell the box too, and people interested in that sort of thing will buy a Mac.

      > Oh yeah, and it's open source, so anybody who doesn't like part of it can fix it themselves.

      Way to know your market.
    • Re:IDNRTA (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Bright Apollo (988736) on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:02PM (#18402993) Journal
      I'll explain it to you.

      Thunderbird Outlook and in some cases, *nothing* = Outlook for calendaring, contact management, etc. When Linux has a drop-in replacement for Outlook that connects to Exchange Servers and can handle PSTs, they'll have the killer app needed to crush Office. Until then, it'll be no sale. Believe me, programmers would probably love to switch but they still need to get email at work from the Exchange Server.

      And no, solutions that require interdiction with Exchange administration do not count. Drop-in replacement is exactly that, just your Windows domain username and password.

      -BA

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Zonk (troll) (1026140)

        Thunderbird Outlook and in some cases, *nothing*

        I agree that Thunderbird+Lightning doesn't even come near Outlook. The people who keep claiming it have obviously never used Outlook.

        Outlook for calendaring, contact management, etc.

        Evolution. Though, they really need to fix it's pathetic IMAP support (crashes fairly regularly while using IMAP, POP3 support is solid). It's been my client for over three years now. Mainly I connect to a few POP3 servers and the Scalix server at work.

        When Linux has a drop-in replacement for Outlook that connects to Exchange Servers and can handle PSTs, they'll have the killer app needed to crush Office.

        Sure. That will happen the same day that OpenOffice supports MS Office formats 100%. That is, never. Exchange and th

    • Re:IDNRTA (Score:4, Interesting)

      by repvik (96666) on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:02PM (#18403009)

      Why doesn't Ubuntu seal the deal?

      With beryl, good drivers, and built in FOSS apps that beat MS at every turn (Firefox > IE, Beryl > Aero, Thunderbird > Outlook, and VLC > WMP), it seems like the win would be fast and clear. Nobody wants Vista, especially when you have to pay. Ubuntu comes preconfigured in a way that is over all superior to every Windows that has ever existed. It's more solid and reliable, it has four desktops (though they moronically all have the same wallpaper by default, and it happens to be shit brown), it has a very nice user interface (though *i* and many others feel it could take some design cues from Windows 98 with regards to menu structure and some other minor details), and it's free. Oh yeah, and it's open source, so anybody who doesn't like part of it can fix it themselves.

      rant:
      Thunderbird > Outlook? Seriously? Outlook is one of the very, very few apps that Microsoft got somewhat right. As opposed to Thunderbird, it can be used to share calendards, contacts and stuff easily. Thunderbird is just an E-Mail app. Outlook isn't.
      VLC > WMP? For some values of VLC, that is correct. But the userinterface is better on WMP. How on earth do you get a slider in fullscreen mode on VLC?

      And your statemend about open source is just plain wrong. I can't see my mom "fixing" the freaking lameness that is "cut and paste" in gnome. It's simply broken, it doesn't work. When it does work, you have to try pasting in three different ways! Open Source doesn't mean anybody can fix. It means that the knowledgeable *may* fix stuff that they find annoying. Even then, it might not go upstream so other users can benefit from it.

      I'm an ubuntu-only user, so I think I am semi-qualified to know what I'm talking about. I dig linux. I've been digging linux since '93. I've had windows too periodically, but linux usage far outweighs windows usage.
      Linux sucks, unless you're somewhat skilled. Take the Gnome copy-paste dysfunction for example. When copying in the terminal, *sometimes* it picks up what I've marked with my cursor, so that I can just press shift-insert. Sometimes it doesn't. WTF? WHY NOT?. Oh well, then I have to right-click to make it put the text on the clipboard. So... now I've got the text on the clipboard, everything should be fine and dandy, right? NO! I still can't use shift-insert in a sane way. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't and I have to rightclick *again* to paste! WTFISTHAT? I've switched to Kubuntu not long ago, and thank god... The copy and paste functionality appears to actually WORK AT ALL. It works pretty good. The even better part is that you can predict if it works or not. With gnome you just can't.

      How do you suppose I fix that? It's open source isn't it? Then I should be able to fix that easily!

      To all the proponents of Linux On The Desktop:

      1. Please stop flounting linux as totally superior. Be realistic. It sucks in many ways, but it sucks in other ways than Windows
      2. Make sure that you point out that learning linux isn't as easy as windows. Really. Do it. Please.
      3. Make sure you've pointed out 2.
      4. Accept that Linux is a Tool, just like Windows. Every tool has its good and bad sides. Windows has a (mostly) coherent user experience, linux has not. Windows has (inflexible) wizards, Linux has extreme flexibility (at the cost of complexity). You can't have it all. EVER. /rant

      You can mod me down now. Just had to get that out. Should be incoherent enough to make it hard to read :-P
      • by abigor (540274)
        "How on earth do you get a slider in fullscreen mode on VLC?"

        I use VLC under OS X, and I get the slider by simply moving the mouse. It sort of just appears, then fades away when you're done with it. It's probably the same under Linux, although I mostly just use Kaffeine.

        The main thing you missed was this: software, software, software. There is no tax software under Linux, no accounting software, and on and on. People argue about the OS, updates, installs, and other irrelevant crap. But no one in the real wo
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by caseih (160668)
        I keep hearing that the clipboard is broken but I have yet to see evidence of that. First of all, Terminal is a special case, and always is. That's because the standard cut/copy/paste shortcuts cannot be used directly as they are control keys meant to be received by whatever program you are running in the terminal. So of course you have to right-click and select "copy." For heaven's sake Mac OS X does the same thing.

        Apparently you are confused by the traditional copy/paste X11 method, which still exists
    • Follow these instructions: http://wiki.beryl-project.org/wiki/Install/Debian [beryl-project.org]

      Works beautifully on the graphics chips listed.

      KDE has some minor issues, but the whole 3D desktop and animated windows works perfectly.

      Like other posts, I don't see the huge technical advantage Ubuntu has. I see Mark Shuttleworth spending money giving ubuntu more visibility.
    • by danpsmith (922127)

      Feisty could win the OS wars decisively, but given the over all FOSS community attitude towards ordinary people....

      Unfortunately, I believe the war is over, to risk a cliche. I think the best we can do now is just chip slowly away at MS's structure by recommending a linux switch to people who complain about MS or by putting linux on our own computers. Perhaps more people should start foundations where they give out computers for free by taking an older computer that someone wants to get rid of and puttin

  • by Kjella (173770) on Monday March 19, 2007 @12:37PM (#18402701) Homepage
    ...is sorta like the "no deaths in traffic" ideal, nice ideal but if you live it to the letter everything wlll stop. What gets Debian every time is the long tail of RC bugs, some long-lived bugs in e.g. the kernel linger on while less critical software go through many cycles. They go into a sort of meta-support stage where they're busy backporting fixes to etch, before it's even released. Sure every distro has those but for Debian it seems to go on for months and months.
    • The no RC bug ideal is sorta like the "no deaths in traffic" ideal

      The problem with Debian RCs is that it has more than 15.000 packages and except for the "base system", all of them are equally important. So a RC bug in a crappy package that has 3 users is just as important as a RC in firefox/iceweasel, which lots of people use. It's stupid, but it's the way debian works.
  • If you're looking for the latest drivers/kernel tweaks, it seems like Debian is perpetually behind. Every so often I try installing it (and Ubuntu/Kubuntu also), but with any new hardware it breaks and I end up re-installing SuSE again. Not that SuSE is perfect but at least it works with my hardware better than Debian/Ubuntu/Kubuntu.
    • by Clazzy (958719)
      I've had no problems installing Etch and every version of Ubuntu from 5.04 onwards and every piece of hardware I've thrown at it (admittedly not a great deal being on a laptop) has been perfect. Perhaps I've just had the good side of it all but I've considered Debian and its derivatives to be good when it comes to driver support
  • Slowness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Monday March 19, 2007 @12:58PM (#18402957) Journal
    The slowness of Debian updates is a feature, not a bug. When you have a server 4,000 miles away from home (where a major OS upgrade can quite easily leave the machine an unbootable lump of metal), having a long time between major releases, and the updates to the current release being rock solid - it's a BIG feature. It's why I run Debian on those servers - because it's a lot less stressful than running a faster moving distribution.

    On a point of pedantry, also you cannot have a meteoric rise. Meteors fall!
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      "On a point of pedantry, also you cannot have a meteoric rise. Meteors fall!"

      I believe that's a reference to a 'rising star', not a real meteor. It's supposed to be clever. I always liked these from school:

      http://www.personal.psu.edu/wxk116/vocab.html [psu.edu]
    • Different markets (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zCyl (14362) on Monday March 19, 2007 @03:49PM (#18405115)

      The slowness of Debian updates is a feature, not a bug. ... It's why I run Debian on those servers - because it's a lot less stressful than running a faster moving distribution.

      Definitely. I've been using Debian for over a decade, but what I'm seeing now is that Debian and Ubuntu are cooperatively focusing on two different markets. They aren't really duplicating effort, because they seem to be sharing packages and patches back and forth, and even users can setup hybrid systems if desired. But what they are doing is aiming for two different things.

      For the moment, Debian seems to be producing a more stable distribution with server packages kept up-to-date and good attention to security fixes. Ubuntu seems to be producing a more user friendly distribution with simpler installation, ease of use, and more up-to-date desktop packages.

      I see this as being beneficial so far. Any software developed for one of them can be ported to the other, and so having two separate organizations developing two different lines for two different purposes can make progress and quality better on the whole.
  • I used debian for years on my servers and desktop and really enjoyed it. Then one day I went to install a hauppauge video capture card and a couple other devices that aren't very standard. After weeks of recompiling the kernel, out-of-branch kernel sources, and various other things it became very tedious. A friend gave me an Ubuntu CD to try it out and everything just worked out of the box. Every piece of hardware was configured and working nicely out of the install, and the universe/multiverse feature was
  • by mpapet (761907) on Monday March 19, 2007 @01:06PM (#18403045) Homepage
    Let's get a few things straight.

    1. Another post mentions a concatenation of problems. I agree with this post.

    2. Ubuntu is not a good server distro!
    Stable and well-tested older packages are a strength of Debian. Yes there is a large class of sysadmins that like keeping odd hours running buggier systems. They generally burnout or learn how valuable stable is. To address the rather immature "needs newer packages" complaints, may I refer you to http://www.backports.org/dokuwiki/doku.php [backports.org]

    3. Depth of Knowledge
    There are still, many excellent Debian sysadmins out there that share and certainly have brought my skills up to a higher level. I don't see the same depth in Ubuntu forums.

    4. Ubuntu Money
    Mark's bringing money to the table, he gets to call the shots. That's well and good because the honeymoon is on right now. What happens when the honeymoon is over? Debian doesn't look organized compared to a guy calling the shots with his bankroll. It's an apples-and-oranges comparison.

    5. Etch
    I'm running etch right now on my desktop and in testing. It was ubuntu-release quality months ago.
  • Ditch Stable (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fozzmeister (160968)
    They should ditch stable, testing should be given more direct-oversight. Stable is always released way out of date, and all the news is just how out-of-date Debian is. Let organisations that can make decisions take testing and "stabalize" it.
  • by myowntrueself (607117) on Monday March 19, 2007 @04:21PM (#18405551)
    http://www.debian.org/News/weekly/ [debian.org] says it all really...

    It is *called* 'weekly' news yet, in most cases, it comes out monthly.

  • by MS-06FZ (832329) on Monday March 19, 2007 @04:25PM (#18405611) Homepage Journal
    Hardly surprises me that every few years, a group so rigorously dedicated to a set of strongly defined principles would suffer a period of amok time. It's simply logical.

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis

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