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Debian The Almighty Buck

Debian Not Looking For Commercial Fortune 45

Posted by timothy
from the but-they've-found-it-anyhow-really dept.
Geoffery writes "Some analysts foresee a less than rosy future for projects such as Debian, claiming free coding is all well and good, but that without a solid financial backing — such as the models adopted by Red Hat and to a greater degree Novell/Suse — Debian will ultimately hit a brick wall. ZDNet interviews Steve McIntyre, the new man leading the organization on issues of 'community registrations' and future plans."
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Debian Not Looking For Commercial Fortune

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  • by Daishiman (698845) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:25AM (#23238652)
    News at 11.
    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:34AM (#23238812) Homepage Journal
      If only they could agree on who "They" were. :-)

      Heck, with some old sid packaging contibutions, I am a "They".

      Don't f*ck with Deb. You'll bring down six or seven other distros downstream.
    • The article itself is far more positive than the description. No one but the submitter is questioning Debian's future. The interview asked some pointed questions and was obviously impressed with the answers as the first paragraph or two show.

      The Debian GNU/Linux operating system continues to generate interest from developers around the world, keen to sign up and contribute code to the open-source project now in its 15th year. But this popularity has been a mixed blessing. The project came under fire r

      • by locokamil (850008)
        Have to agree with you there... also, in a pleasant change from the rest of the OSS world, their systems are superbly documented. I find the debian-amdministration site particularly well-grounded in the real world.
      • by AceJohnny (253840)
        It's not so much a problem of too much popularity rather than stupid bottlenecks. Until a couple of weeks ago, there was one single person who was responsible for creating the accounts of newly accepted DDs (Debian Developers). That person had been MIA for a few months, and it was infuriating for the applicants to have finished all the painful evaluation, only to be blocked by a silly administrative failure.
        This has been fixed.
        • by gnutoo (1154137) *

          That's interesting but the result has been good anyway. Bottlenecks that lock out malice are very good to have. If one person has been good enough for the last 15 years, two should be enough for the next seven.

      • Way back when or back in the day as the kids say I worked on the ARPANET which was at the time going to go to TCP/IP. I was asked how things worked and I explained to people how it worked with RFCs and the like. People thought I was crazy and that it couldn't possibly work that way or continue to work that way or at the very least couldn't go on in anything close to the way it was going. This is now coming up on like 25 years ago. Have Fun, Sends Steve
    • by westlake (615356)
      Non-profit does not mean there are no bills to pay. Non-profit does not mean that volunteers can do all the work - in their own good time.
    • No, no-way.
      I think that the problem is in the term "non-profit". In my language, Greek, we use a term which translates like "an organization who's aim is not the profit".
      Non-profit organizations do not have profit as a goal. However they do need it as a medium in order to succeed at their higher purpose.
      So, Debian needs money. However they will not sacrifice their "social contract" (Gentoo term) in order to maximize income.
  • by SilentBob0727 (974090) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:36AM (#23238838) Homepage
    As long as there are people who are looking for a challenge and want to write code for the fun of it, there will always be open source software.
    • Yeah, I don't know what kind of a "brick wall" Debian is supposed to hit. It's released under the GPL. There are people interested in working on it. Therefore, it will continue to be developed. QED.

  • My first (and only) experience with debian was installing it on my ARM-based NSLU2. Red Hat, ubuntu, gentoo, etc weren't an option. Sadly, we've seen a convergence towards x86 (with gcc and linux). I'm glad debian exists. Maybe I'll chuck a couple bucks their way.
    • by zappepcs (820751)
      Try to remember that the GNU/Linux family trees are diverse, yet not. Debian is what Ubuntu is built upon. I'm not sure the author of TFA has been drinking the right kind of tea lately.

      http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/kk288/debian_choosing_distribution.html [cornell.edu] is a place to find some of the Debian based distributions.

      Just because Windows is only a single sourced OS, and older versions are deprecated, it does not follow that ALL OS software follows the same crooked path.

      How many versions of DOS were there? T
  • I read through TFA (Score:3, Informative)

    by guruevi (827432) <evi@smok[ ]cube.be ['ing' in gap]> on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:48AM (#23239104) Homepage
    Apparently the only person that thinks non-commercial Linux development is a bust is the reporter from ZD Asia. The interviewed thinks about it totally different although 3 questions border on that subject and one is even somewhat insulting, Steve keeps hammering that this is a non-profit and they've been doing it like that for 15 years. There is no "problem" here as the interviewer makes it out to be.
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Considering that you don't need much of anything to be a non-commercial Linux developer since the libraries and tools are free and the rest is mainly time and interest, how could that die? Sure it could morph into a different non-commercial distro that did things better, but it wouldn't disappear. I suppose commercial development could speed things up and leave hobbyists "in the dust" but for one the source would still be there, two they wouldn't develop commercially unviable things and three it'd be the sa

  • Congratulations to the Debian team for letting themselves define what success is, not others.

    Just because success to the many means building a huge company, profits, power. It absolutely doesn't mean it's the same for everyone. It's hard not to find it fascinating when groups get fixated on this.

    For the Debian folks, independence and freedom is success, of that they've done a great job!

  • last couple years (Score:3, Informative)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:57AM (#23239238)
    Debian project has really come around and come alive in the last two years. it doesn't need any power/money-grubbing scum trying to change its direction or management. And remember, those 30% of you desktop GNU/Linux users with Ubuntu, that's 95%+ Debian.
  • Ubuntu, Linspire, Xandros, DSL, MEPIS, Knoppix, and several other distributions all depend on Debian's code base. If Debian suddenly finds themselves without resources, these other distros will pitch in, if only so that they themselves can continue to exist.
  • Nothing like a little hyperbole to put your ad hits through the roof. I think the last question proves that this was cynical and intentional: "Debian will be 15 years old this August. Where would you like to see the project in another decade and a half?"
    • by sl3xd (111641) *
      You know, I moved back to Debian after trying ubuntu for a couple of weeks; I doubt I'm alone in this preference. Debian isn't going anywhere, and rumors of its demise are ill-founded. Frankly, so are thoughts of getting ad revenue. Who but a computer geek has a clue about what Debian is - and what computer geek doesn't have some sort of ad filtering?
      • by mollymoo (202721) *
        Out of curiosity, why did you change back to Debian? I've just started running Debian as a desktop for the first time (been running it headless for years) and, as a desktop, it lacks some polish (eg WPA doesn't work in Gnome) and there are the ever-present annoyances (eg no clean way to send a DHCP hostname). Nothing I can't work around, but these days I like to hack the things I want to hack and have the things I don't fancy hacking Just Work. I rather hoped Ubuntu would be Debian with a polished desktop e
        • by kriebz (258828)
          Send a dhcp hostname?
          Add
          use-host-decl-names on;
          to dhcpd.conf

          I really don't think there's any way else to do this in Ubuntu. If you're doing stuff like that, run Debian. If you don't know you even can do that, run Ubuntu.
          • by mollymoo (202721) *
            I mean with the default DHCP client (dhcpcd), not server. You have to configure it by hand in dhcpcd.conf; the installer doesn't do that for you and dhcpcd can't use the system's hostname. Having to manually duplicate and update the same information in two different places is just plain wrong - that's what I meant by "no clean way". Ubuntu and RedHat both patch dhcpcd to fix this - they add an option to send the system hostname to dhcpcd. Debian is waiting for upstream to fix it, which might take many more
    • Quite somebody check netcraft! is it true?
  • What the writer is missing is the symbiotic relationship of Ubuntu and Debian. Debian does many things really really well. Somethings, like frequent releases, not so well. But for those of us who use Debian, that would be a beautiful design on top of the cake and frosting we already have... Without it, that cake tastes pretty darn good.

    Ubuntu came along and tackled this problem, so Debian can continue doing what it does best. To top it off, Ubuntu has funding. And they aren't greedy leeches who take De

    • This is purely selfish, but since I use sid, I wish Debian would release less often. When the "freeze" comes, I am left with a computer that doesn't have much to do.
      • by JoshJ (1009085)
        You define "having something to do" as "apt-get update"? If you're a developer I would expect you to be working on the Stable release; if you're just an end user, why do you care if some package doesn't update for a month or so?
        • Same reason I run sid in the first place.
          • by JoshJ (1009085)
            If you really want to be on the bleeding edge, shouldn't you be on one of the distros that has a genuine rolling schedule, such as Gentoo or whatever? That way it's always "up to date" and there's never really a point in time where the packages halt (though I suppose a new Linux kernel or GCC version could slow things down for a day or two).
            AFAIK you can use gentoo without actually compiling everything from source.
  • Over 50% of desktop Linux users use a Debian-based distro. My virtual hosting plan at Dreamhost uses Debian. Dell sells computers with a Debian-based distro installed. I'm pretty sure there are many companies that will support and administer Debian installations, as I know there is for FreeBSD, a slightly older operating system.

    I don't use Debian on my computer, but it's definitely not dying.
  • "Will Debian always suffer from existing at the hobbyist programmer level and its inherent proximity to the archetypal non-business-minded software engineer mentality?"

    Suffer? 12 years of working with linux, and Debian has consistently been the only distribution I've seen that doesn't really "suffer" from anything at all. In fact, I'd say that the so-called "archetypal non-business-minded engineers" have time and again produced the creme de la creme of distros and done it right. There's no other distribu
  • If there is any problem facing Debian (and it's debatable whether or not there is any at all), it's not a lack of commercial backing, but rather the management structure within the project. In the past it has been prone to a fair amount of in-fighting, where there are lots of conflicting opinions about how things should be done, and things don't move forward until they're resolved. This is partly why the move from Sarge to Etch took as long as it did. Sometimes, someone needs to take charge and make a decis
  • If anything Debian is MORE LIKELY to still be around long after commercial enterprises have closed up shop.

    When you don't depend on a steady stream of income to keep a project running, the only threat to it is loss of interest. And since RedHat and SuSE aren't genuinely free (ie you can't get ISOs from the vendors), I think Debian will have substantial interest for a very long time.

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