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Debian The Almighty Buck

Debian Delayed by Disenchanted Developers 329

Torus Kas writes "Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 was supposed to be due by December 4 and development is currently frozen. Apparently the saga was triggered by disenchantment towards funding of $6,000 for each of the 2 release managers to work full-time in order to speed up the development. Many unpaid developers simply put off Debian work to work on something else."
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Debian Delayed by Disenchanted Developers

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  • by inigo_jones ( 1041346 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @03:59PM (#17316416)
    >> "Cut the distro down to what will fit on one CD (two max)...."

    dont do it Debian... its great to be able to apt-cache search and apt-get install almost anything. such a huge collection of available software that JUST WORKS is great. a little (or lot) longer release cycle doesnt really effect the bulk of users who just use "testing" anyway.

    my 2 cents. Debian's base of huge packages, and apt are great assets. apt-get into it :-)
  • by gek ( 634926 ) <gkorte&gmail,com> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @04:02PM (#17316466)
    Cut the distro down to what will fit on one CD (two max). That will reduce a lot of Debian's headaches. Less for them to maintain and less to test between releases. Everything else can be put into contributed non-official repositories

    I don't agree with you on this one. The biggest power of Debian is that most packages, even obscure one, fit into one distribution with all the testing and dependancies being resolved. I have experience with Red hat, Suze, and solaris (ouch on that one) systems where installing off the beat application can sometimes be hell. Debian provides a quick way of testing application before deciding to start a buld process where you get to spend half your evening building the newest of the newest libraries. Been using Debian since Hamm and I hav gotten used to delays... If you feel lucky you can always dist-up to Unstable.

  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @04:04PM (#17316508)
    open source is often made by paid developers, including major chunks of the Linux kernel. Open source just means you get the source code to modify or inspect, nothing to do with compensation or lack thereof.
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:2, Informative)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @04:07PM (#17316564) Journal

    hiring some full-time workers seems to have had precisely the opposite effective of the intended.

    not workers... managers. I think most technical/coder/slashdot types have the same general opinion of managers and management (*cough* parasites *cough*). Many open source projects have paid individual programmers with no backlash. And many companies pay for programmers to write open source code. Sometimes it doesn't work out (ie, the XEmacs/Emacs split), but it doesn't usually outrage other developers.

  • by mpapet ( 761907 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @04:09PM (#17316602) Homepage
    This email from October 26 is pretty darn informative when it comes to dunc-tank. http://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2006/10/msg 00260.html [debian.org]

    This email from November 16 will pretty much bring everyone up to date on Etch status: http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006 /11/msg00004.html [debian.org]
    Since its publication, Etch has gone into bug-fixing only.

    Nice little bonus for debian users on the end if you read it all the way through.

    Please, please /.ers just go straight to http://www.debian.org/News/weekly/ [debian.org] and get the news. I certainly wish the editors at /. would.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @04:19PM (#17316744) Homepage
    About the project being "frozen", I don't know about that. I have a laptop running etch-testing. I did an apt-get dist-upgrade in mid-Nov , put it away for a few weeks and ran it again in early-Dec (don't remember exact dates). Something like 70 packages needed upgrades.

    Well, debian goes through a few stages of freeze. Base freeze was some time ago, general freeze was Dec 11th, but still there's something like 130 RC bugs that needs to be solved. I think the original plan called for something like 1.5mo of freeze, so probably sometime in January.

    In any case, this is not what I call a big delay, it's maybe a month behind a release schedule of every 18 months, whereas the last took something like three years. 18 months is basicly the same as Ubuntu LTS and many other server oriented distros, if you want quicker updates go for (K)Ubuntu.

    From what I gather the Debian system does a lot more than simply packing up whatever upstream does, but I think they could differentiate on levels of support. For non-server software I imagine that for many of the packages, there's no upstream support for so old versions anyway.
  • by bubkus_jones ( 561139 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @04:56PM (#17317280)
    Apt works with non-official repositories. What the parent wants is the official, default, debian sources to be slimmed down to something more managable, the main packages people use, while the rest of it can be set to third-party repositories that people can add in (or activate) as they need. Hell, they could be included in the sources.list file, just commented out until those who need them activate them (like Ubuntu does).

  • WIR (Score:5, Informative)

    by Digana ( 1018720 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @04:58PM (#17317322)

    Debian ships When It's Ready.

    But for those of us who are holding our breath for release time, a good and rough indicator of when it will ship is the number of release critical bugs [debian.org]. When the number hits zero, Debian is (almost?) ready. Since the etch freeze was announced about a week ago [debian.org], the number of release bugs has wavered around 130, with a slight downward trend. This is the stock market of the free software world. :-) The etch freeze means that no packages can move down from unstable (sid) to the current testing (etch) automatically anymore (normally, packages in unstable are automatically moved down to testing by a script if no bugs are filed against them for some time, several days, iirc). Packages can still be moved from unstable to testing, but only manually if it's clear that they are stable enough for the next release.

    The dunk-tank drama in the Debian mailing lists [debian.org] is old news. Yes, some developers expressed concerns about the dunc-tank project [dunc-tank.org], but I would hardly call this "frozen development". Developers are working hard to get the Debian release. I estimate January or February at the latest will be beer and pizza party time for all the Debian developers that have produced the largest binary free GNU/Linux distribution amongst which so many other distros depend [ubuntulinux.com].

    Personally, I'm very excited. I'm not sure how much truth there is in this, but Ubuntu has probably put pressure in Debian to more timely releases, and this release will be much more in time than the previous sarge release was. I've been given permission to install Debian in 20 workstations of our local network, and I'm waiting for the stable release and the renowned Debian quality and security to do so. I'll probably be tracking the next testing release after I install them, though, since testing works well for desktop use and workstations.

  • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) * on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @07:20PM (#17319478) Homepage Journal
    >That's one of the most self-righteous, idiotic statements I've ever heard.
    NO U.

    >You're saying that anybody who gets paid to do something does it for the money and doesn't care about the quality of what they do.

    No, I'm saying that a lot of people would prefer that whoever is commiting to debian does so for the right reasons, and not because they're simply collecting a bounty.

    >I get paid for most of what I do, but I take pride in my work.
    So you're working in a stable and fulfilling job as opposed to collecting bounties on random projects then, I assume?

    >If you had, you'd know that sometimes people have to say, "God, I'd love to work on that, but I need to be doing something that brings in some money." ...and being in the work force, you should know that often times people say "hey, I can cobble together some shit in five minutes and move on to the next thing I don't want to be doing".
  • Gross Exaggeration (Score:3, Informative)

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @07:31PM (#17319586) Homepage
    > Many unpaid developers simply put off Debian work to work on something else.

    This is a gross exaggeration.

    > ...development is currently frozen.

    This is false. Etch (Testing) is frozen in that packages are no longer automatically moving into it from Sid (Unstable) but this is a normal part of the release cycle: it happens just before a release. Development continues apace in Sid.

  • by murdocj ( 543661 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @07:49PM (#17319782)
    Sure, and while you're at it, fuck feeding the poor -- if I'm going to feed the poor, shouldn't I get paid for it? And fuck shelters for battered women -- what am I, a hippie? Obviously, anybody who believes anyone could actually afford to volunteer their time for a worthwhile cause must be an independently wealthy, elitist snob. Out here in the real world it's all about the money, baby. You want code? Fuck you, pay me.

    Well, actually, shelters that feed the poor and help battered women DO take donations to support the staff and the facility. Pretty much exactly what the folks paying the Debian guys were doing... put a little money in the pot so the facility can be open. So I'm afraid you came up with an example for the other side.

  • by ghostbar38 ( 982287 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:18PM (#17320560) Homepage Journal

    So you suggests that exists a lot of repositories instead of just add a repository with their three sections? I prefer one repository instead of a lot of them that I have to check if some of them fail, but if I have one I know wich one fails and can change it to another official repo that I know will works as I hope that work!

    I don't want to add a diferent repository each time I want to install a new package... That sucks!

  • by Louis Guerin ( 728805 ) <guerin@gm[ ]et ['x.n' in gap]> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:56PM (#17320838)
    They call it `Ubuntu', and Debian persists because a bunch of people still want 15,000+ supported packages.

    Yes, Ubuntu has {un,mult}iverse, but only *because* Debian continues to support those packages.

  • by baldass_newbie ( 136609 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @11:34PM (#17321542) Homepage Journal
    I call bullshit.
    Have you EVER cleaned up your libraries? I'm fucking serious. Regardless of whether they're shared or not (and good luck with that one.)
    Nobody keeps their house completely clean and the size of libraries is nothing compared to thee amount of pr0n or other shit on a hard drive.

    Just STOP with the 'shared' library argument. One thing you can give Windows credit for is that it will even uninstall .dll files when you uninstall the app that it came with. The only exception is if something in the reg changed.

    But this old canard about Windows adding a library every time is horseshit. Let it die unless and until there's a decent package system that includes backing out old libraries. And no, 'checkinstall' doesn't cut it.
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @11:58PM (#17321700)
    If you want a single package-management system... stick with one Linux distro.
    This doesn't work because it moves the burden of packaging onto distro maintainers. This model has proven infeasible, since no distro in existence has even a significant fraction of all the linux software in it, not to mention reasonably up to date. If there were one de-facto standard package type, and vastly fewer inter-package dependencies, then developers could package their programs themselves.
    Some people don't even want binary packages, so how can you expect there to be just one type?
    So let's all do ebuilds. I've used them all and I don't care which wins.
    Also, about the dependency system: how much wasted space will a Windows install contain when every little program has its own libraries? With this dependency system, every one can share the same library, rather than having two only a minor revision apart stored like in Windows.
    It's a horrible tradeoff. Wasting hours of time trying to install a package because it's not in your distro, or using out-of-date software, or being unable to use a program alltogether, just to save a few megabytes. I don't care if it's a few hundred megabytes, it's not worth it.
    In fact, if two programs use a library to communicate, they'll work better if they share the same version; just look at D-Bus.
    There are a few such instances, but I think over 95% of package sharing is a huge waste of effort in return for a couple cents worth of disk space. The status quo simply doesn't work well enough.
  • Re:No surprise (Score:2, Informative)

    by Orochimaru ( 945515 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:30AM (#17322434)

    They claim it's because they care about principle...in reality, what they really care about is retaining the ability to tell other people what to do and how to think.

    Debian is one of the most flexible distributions availible. I don't give a rats arse about what some random Debian developer thinks about how I use my system or what programs I install because it doesn't affect me.

    Personally I'd like to see Debian (as it currently exists organisationally) collapse entirely, and for the codebase to be adopted by Ubuntu, or other projects which will hopefully be run by people who are not so interested in dominating others.

    How the hell is Debian collapsing going to help Ubuntu? Ubuntu already uses the Debian codebase. If anything Debian collapsing would hider Ubuntu. Your comment makes no sense.

  • by Respect_my_Authority ( 967217 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @08:32AM (#17323678)

    IMO, this is a bad article. It's full of misinformation and factual errors, and it paints a very inaccurate picture of the current state of Debian.

    From the article:

    Debian has a long history of being late, ever since its first version in 1997. This is one of the reasons why entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth launched alternative Linux distribution Ubuntu two years ago.

    The date of Debian's first release given in this article is only one of the many factual errors that it contains. The Wikipedia article on Debian ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debian [wikipedia.org] ) tells that "The Debian distribution was first announced on August 16, 1993 by Ian Murdock" and "The Debian Project grew slowly at first and released its first 0.9x versions in 1994 and 1995." Debian version 1.1 was released in June 1996, version 1.2 in December 1996, and version 1.3 in June 1997.

    Of course, the article also fails to mention that the Ubuntu distribution is based on Debian and Ubuntu's each new release relies heavily on the work that is constantly being done in Debian, and the article also fails to tell that Ubuntu takes most of the code it releases from Debian's development branch.

    http://mako.cc/writing/to_fork_or_not_to_fork.html [mako.cc]

    From the article:

    The upcoming release of Debian is being delayed because of a slowdown by key developers.

    Actually, there's no factual evidence at all that the delay in Debian's release schedule is caused by developers doing their work slower than usual. It is not easy to grasp how large and complex the Debian project has grown and many journalists also obviously fail to understand the not-for-profit and volunteer nature of the work that is done in Debian. The huge size of the project and the volunteer nature of its work are sufficient reasons alone to explain why the release has been delayed for a month or two. Such delays can happen for purely organizational reasons even if every developer is working as hard as they can.

    Debian is a non-profit volunteer organization where all the important decisions are made democratically. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy [wikipedia.org] ) This means that all important issues in the project management are openly discussed over a period of time and every developer has a chance to get their voice heard. From time to time there are disagreements among the developers and these disagreements are settled by voting where the opinion of the majority wins.

    There was recently some disagreement among the Debian Developers about the experimental idea to fund two release managers' full-time work for a short period of time just before the upcoming Debian release. The Debian Developers voted about this issue and the majority of them decided to support the experiment. ( http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006 /10/msg00019.html [debian.org] ) Most of the developers accepted this result but 17 of them have been protesting even after the results of the voting were published. It is perhaps worth mentioning here that Debian has over one thousand officially accepted developers and many more who contribute to the project without having the official developer status. 17 developers out of 1000 is a small minority but they can still make a lot of noise. Those other developers concentrate on coding instead of public arguing, so it is only too easy for the scandal-hungry journalists to ignore all these hard-working silent developers and concentrate on the loud complainers.

    http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006 /10/msg00026.html [debian.org]

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"