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Conflicting Goals Create Tension in OSS Community

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the clearing-the-air dept.

135

An anonymous reader writes "Mark Shuttleworth, of Ubuntu, has a post up meant to clear the air and clarify the project's place in the Debian community. He's specifically referring to comments made by Matthew Garrett earlier this month." From the post: "A little introspection is healthy, and Debian will benefit from the discussion. Matt is to be credited for his open commentary - a lesser person would simply have disengaged, quietly. I hope that Matt will in fact stay involved in Debian, either directly or through Ubuntu, because his talent and humour are both of enormous benefit to the project. I also hope that Debian developers will make better use of the work we do in Ubuntu, integrating relevant bits of it back into Debian so as to help uplift some of those other peaks - Xandros, Linspire, Maemo, Skolelinux and of course Etch."

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Please (5, Insightful)

sofar (317980) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074586)

Don't confuse debian with "The OSS Community". They are really not the same, and there is no such thing as "The OSS Community".

Re:Please (-1, Troll)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074611)

Don't confuse debian with "The OSS Community". They are really not the same, and there is no such thing as "The OSS Community".
FYI: "The OSS Community" is never mentioned in the post or the article. It says "...in OSS Community". In Soviet-Russia english fails you, yes?

Re:Please (1, Redundant)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074626)

That's kind of mean, considering that the words "OSS Community" appear in the title of the post. The original poster has a good point.

Re:Please (0, Offtopic)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074643)

That's kind of mean, considering that the words "OSS Community" appear in the title of the post. The original poster has a good point.
Not in this this particular discussion he hasn't. It's merely a misstatement that can be used as a rhetorical device to deflect the discussion from the real issue. One of the important points of the moderation systems is to keep discussions on-topic. And putting words in the mouth of people hardly is on-topic.

Re:Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074677)

I don't get what you guys are trolling about, it doesn't even make sense, lets replace some words:

Don't confuse 'a fork' with "a spoon". They are really not the same, and there is no such thing as "a spoon".

Re:Please (5, Insightful)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074686)

Interesting. Whenever there's a trace of disagreement or problem then there is no such thing as a "community". When everything is going great and there's a "common enemy" like Microsoft or whatever, then the "community" comes together and fights like a team.

You really can't have it both ways.

And not to imply that this is "bad" in any way - I was just struck by this comment attached to this particular story. The next time Slashdork posts the usual "what does the community think?" or "the community must do something about this!!" I wonder if I'll see a post making this same point. Probably not.

Re:Please (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074729)

When everything is going great and there's a "common enemy" like Microsoft or whatever, then the "community" comes together and fights like a team.

I must have been out when that was going on. Can you give an example of when it's happened?

Re:Please (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074745)

Yes, JACKASS, you where out. Wipe the shit out of your eyes.

Re:Please (1)

dlrow olleh (886534) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075148)

Oh yeah I want to troll too :). So go fuck yourself you insensitive clod ! Asshole, I fuck your mama in the ass

Re:Please (1)

Miguel de Icaza (660439) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074773)

What a vacuous point

Re:Please (1)

Selanit (192811) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074988)

You really can't have it both ways.
Sure he can. People regularly live with multiple, contradictory definitions of important concepts.

The definition of "community" seems to be what's at stake here. One possible definition would be something like "a group of people who always think in exactly the same way as one another." If everybody always thinks the same, then there's never any conflict, and everyone is happy. Hooray, bounce bounce.

This is an unworkable definition, but there are people who sincerely believe it's attainable. (Those kind of people scare me, because all too often they wind up suppressing debate, torturing rebels, fighting religious wars, and other unpleasant things.) There are also people who know it's unattainable, but still wish it could work. The grandparent poster may well be one of these, since the claim "there's no such thing as community" is a logical consequence of holding an unworkable definition of "community." (This sort scares me, too, since they sometimes adopt the "nature red in tooth and claw" outlook - everyone everywhere is always out for themselves and no one else, so stab your neighbor before he stabs you.)

A more workable definition of "community" might be something like this: "a group of people who share a set of common values, which drive them to work toward similar goals despite occasional disagreement over methods." If we work with a definition like this, then it is indeed possible to speak of an "open source community," even in the face of disagreement. Note that nobody in this debate is proposing that we stop writing open source code. The debate that Mark Shuttleworth is commenting on seems to be over which method of writing open souce code works best. Yep. Still a community.

Re:Please (1)

screenrc (670781) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075001)

You are playing with words. The claim was
that there is no OSS community; which you
have turned it into just "community". In effect,
it is like claiming that the Blue community
exists simply because (any) community exists.

Re:Please (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075010)

That's because you are not thinking about this correctly. It' s more like a coalition of the willing type of thing. People come together for a cause, then drift apart only to come together again at some other time.

Re:Please (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075966)

"Interesting. Whenever there's a trace of disagreement or problem then there is no such thing as a "community". When everything is going great and there's a "common enemy" like Microsoft or whatever, then the "community" comes together and fights like a team.

You really can't have it both ways.
"

Why can't we have it both ways? When faced with a common enemy, people put aside their petty differences and work co-operatively towards a common goal. Then, when there is no longer a larger threat, they return to arguing with their friends/neighbors. It's the same in every human community, from the village, to the state, to the corporation, to the OSS community.

Just another example of OSS failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074693)

And this, my friends is why proprietary software is vastly superior to OSS. With proprietary software there is a clear vision, and clear management structure that is able to execute on that vision, and make the tough decisions.

2006 the year of linux on the deskop? NO - to much infighting, just like this.

Whilst the subject of this post may appear to be a troll, the contents are fact.

Re:Just another example of OSS failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074796)

Ok, let's suppose I'm not feeding a troll here. You forgot that there are two approaches to Open Source development.

1) Open to everyone, without strong lead (Wikipedia-style where anyone can contribute anything to anything anytime).

2) "Closed" group (usually smaller) with strong leaders and clearly set and kept goals (e.g. TrueCrypt). This model focuses on quality of code rather than speed of development and quantity of code.

There are of course many, if not most, projects between these two models somewhere in the continuum. The bottom line, don't confuse OSS with "undirected and wild" Wikipedia. OSS exists in many flavours, each with its own pros and cons, and only some pieces of OSS are like Wikipedia.

Re:Just another example of OSS failure (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074974)

I, too, am suckered into feeding the troll...

Just in the super-unlikely case that you haven't actually ever worked on commercial software, I thought I'd give you the link that best describes the real world:

http://www.dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/inde x.html [dilbert.com]

There's a good reason geeks who love code development do so much of it for free. In general, I'd say that OSS projects are better run and executed than commercial projects. They just aren't as well funded :-)

Re:Just another example of OSS failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16075007)

With proprietary software there is a clear vision, and clear management structure that is able to execute on that vision, and make the tough decisions.

Talk about being stuck in your parents' basement. You've obviously never had a job at a real world company, or even talked to anybody that has. Otherwise you'd know that the vast majority of the time there's no clear vision, the management structure is messed up, execution is lacking, and the toughest decisions involve deciding who gets the ax at the next round of layoffs.

Re:Just another example of OSS failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16075041)


: )

I was trolling... Only 3 comments to this one in 4 hours. I posed 6 trolls here today, most have around the same number of repliw..

I've noticed that the traffic on /. has dropped a lot recently..

Re:Please (3, Insightful)

clacke (214199) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074721)

Don't overinterpret the headline. Debian is, in fact, a OSS Community...

Re:Please (2)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074767)

The problem is vague headlines, a carryover from newspapers where there was limited room for a headline; they tend to drop words that don't carry lots of meaning. In this case, the full headline should be "Conflicting Goals Create Tension in an OSS Community". You have interpreted it to mean "Conflicting Goals Create Tension in the OSS Community"; the headline leaves both interpretations open. They're designed as a draw to read the article, which prevents the real facts, not to actually prevent facts themselves. Incidentally, it's also a reason to avoid net speak. In a similar way to headlines, net speak simplifies the language to the point where the one sentance can easily lend itself to multiple interpretations, which could have been avoided by using the full language rather than a simplified sub-set.

Re:Please (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075142)

Those "prevents" should be "presents", sorry.

Re:Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074856)

there is no such thing as "The OSS Community"

This, my friend, is exactly the problem in hand.

And I'm not implying that some other method of producing code is better in this regard.

Re:Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074935)

Don't confuse Bill Gates or Microsoft's management lietenants with Microsoft.

a mile away (5, Interesting)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074616)

Conflicting Goals Create Tension in OSS Community

Yeah, anyone who's ever gotten even remotely involved in wikipedia could have seen this one coming a mile away. This is why, at work, you have "project managers", that have final say (and yet, also take the burden and responsibility of making decisions).

Re:a mile away (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074624)

Windows seems to be the answer!

Re:a mile away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074706)

Windows has evolved more, in less time, and is installed on a whole lot more machines than linux. I'd take a guess that in 10 years time Windows will still own the desktop, and linux will still be 'nearley there'

Re:a mile away (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075005)

I'm getting suckered into every anonymous coward troll bait...

There is exactly one remaining MAJOR application area where Windows still rules, unchallenged. Without it, I think Linux of some flavor (probably Ubuntu), would be taking over the desktop right now.

Games.

It's as simple as that. There is no other major high-volume application that Linux doesn't do well. Games are not only good news for Microsoft, but Intel as well. Who the heck needs a Core Duo to run Word? It seems very strange that the top two US technology companies owe their monopolies to games. It's as if God consults with Dilbert regularly.

However, I agree that Linux will not take over the desktop in the next 10 years. I see no reason for the game companies to suddenly embrace Linux.

Re:a mile away & OSS fantasies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16075059)

If what you were saying about games being the only thing holding linux back was true then linux would rule the business desk-top. It does not.

Every major linux app is a poor rip off on it's windows counterpart. Take Open Office - much slower, has less features and crashes more often then MSWord. Why on earth would anyone want to go though that pain, when for $300 they can have the absolute best office suite?

$300 is nothing compared to that pain that is OO.

BTW - your reply (above) was the second time you have taken my one of my trolls in the same article. The fun part about the linux sucks trolls is that they are true..

Re:a mile away & OSS fantasies (1)

camcorder (759720) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075958)

It is not only games, but also not the applications that drive the bussiness desktop today. There's no argument that MS Office suite is more stable than OO.o. On feature-wise though who can argue that OOo is not sufficient for bussiness office needs? The problem with bussiness is support. MS had used vast majority of its resources (at least in past) for this area. And with the name they got from consumer market they had good penetration to bussiness market. And games was a big part of consumer market. If MS was not strong on consumer market, they would not release Windows XP, at least with that much end-user enhancement to Windows 2000.

To be successful in bussiness you need commercial support, and only last couple of years brought that to Linux. RedHat and Novell are doing this, and Cannonical will do that as well. So that bussinesses will rely on Linux because they know that they will have commercial support if they need (and they actually need).

MS has the great advantage of first comer to GUI Workstation for mass deployment. They backed this with pre-installs of bussiness choice of hardware suppliers, like Dell and HP. And Boom!.

Not to mention turf was empty for them *for a while*. It's only matter of time and competition that will get their monopoly in that market, and once you have no monopoly there will be more standarized environment for everyone which means a good advantage to Linux as it's not only liberal but also free.

Re:a mile away (2, Insightful)

asuffield (111848) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075169)

Games basically don't matter.

There, it's said. Sure, they make huge amounts of money (for publishers; developers rarely break even) and they're important to a lot of people. But they're mostly one-shot, throw-away pieces of software that aren't maintained over a period of time and have a very short marketable lifespan. As such they don't benefit much from free software development (which excels at maintainance, not short time-to-market) and it doesn't really matter what platform they run on.

So what if they keep running on Windows? That just means Windows becomes the fourth console system. I wouldn't be very surprised if someday, Windows merged with the xbox, after all the 'serious' applications migrate over to Linux-based platforms.

You could argue that they slow down adoption of Linux in the home, but realistically, Linux on the desktop is happening first in businesses, and then the home users will follow. And businesses don't care about games.

Re:a mile away (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075352)

Good point. Businesses are adopting Linux rapidly. That's why I'm using it - as an EDA developer for work.

However, a major problem for Linux is the natural tension between businesses and the free software movement. OSS is threatening big software money. See:

https://launchpad.net/distros/ubuntu/+bug/1 [launchpad.net]

Oddly enough, business managers don't like using stuff that threatens business. Funny how that works.

The name "Ubunutu" is unfortunate. Managers naturally ask me what it means when I recommend it, and the feel-good granola-crunchy meaning reinforces their feeling that I'm a granola-crunchy sort of guy promoting software written by acid-inspired junkies.

The home market is MUCH more promising, since most of those kids at home are busy downloading free stuff illegally anyway. They are on the side of free stuff, and love to stick it to the man. An OS for free? Sure thing! Kill Microsoft? Sign me up! It wont run the latest first-person shooter? Um... maybe not.

So, neither the business nor the home markets are truely open to Linux. Solving the game problem would do the trick for the home market, but that's not likely to happen. How can we ever get businesses to buy into anti-business software? It may be doable, but moving that mountain will take time.

Re:a mile away (2, Insightful)

asuffield (111848) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075765)

The name "Ubunutu" is unfortunate. Managers naturally ask me what it means when I recommend it, and the feel-good granola-crunchy meaning reinforces their feeling that I'm a granola-crunchy sort of guy promoting software written by acid-inspired junkies.


Ubuntu is noise here. They talk a lot, but they sound like hippies because they mostly are hippies. RedHat and Novell are the ones to bring in. Especially Novell, with a well-known brand that managers are probably already familiar with, from Netware. Those guys can sell to management.

The obvious evidence for this: RedHat and Novell are making profits. Ubuntu aren't even making revenue (but are always talking about how they're going to get a big contract in 'real soon now'). Linux adoption is business is happening, and it's happening largely because of those two.

If you're trying to get corporate types to buy into it, call the corporates. Not the hippies.

Re:a mile away (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075952)

You're probably right. In EDA, most of our customers run old version of RedHat. I don't even mention Ubuntu or Fedora to customers.

However, what we run in our development team is up to us. Everyone else runs RedHat, except for one guy running Fedora. I run Ubuntu to help increase coverage of the user-space, but it's probably fairly pointless.

Re:a mile away (1)

mjg59 (864833) | more than 8 years ago | (#16076031)

Ubuntu aren't even making revenue

Untrue.

they're going to get a big contract in 'real soon now'

Already happened.

And why they have to pay people to go there (NS) (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074648)

Nuff Said.

Re:And why they have to pay people to go there (NS (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074698)

LOL
I have to say I have never found Ubuntu easier to install than Debian. (Well I guess Ubuntu has a live cd installer but for me that just takes longer. If I am going to install it, I don't need to good into a full KDE or Gnome environment to do it.)

Re:And why they have to pay people to go there (NS (1)

Slithe (894946) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075108)

So install it using the Failsafe (I think that is the term) option. It boots into an ncurses menu program, just like Debian.

Re:a mile away (5, Informative)

Penguin Programmer (241752) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074670)

Of course, most open-source projects also have project managers. Of course, usually we call them maintainers, but they essentially serve the same purpose: review submitted code/content and decide whether it should be included in the production version of the product.

Maintainers != Project Managers (4, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074743)

Project managers do a lot more than "review submitted code/content and decide whether it should be included in the production version of the product." They drive the process, not just filter it.

Re:Maintainers != Project Managers (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075326)

Is that what they're supposed to do? It seems like they mostly call meetings so that
they can have something to report up the chain.

Re:Maintainers != Project Managers (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075466)

Project managers do a lot more than "review submitted code/content and decide whether it should be included in the production version of the product." They drive the process, not just filter it.

Maintainers drive the process, not just filter it. In most cases that's because the maintainers are also the primary developers on the project. The only project I know of where the maintainers act simply as filters is the Linux kernel, and in the kernel the volume of submissions is so large and so many are rejected that filtering is equivalent to driving. When there are hordes of developers pushing every possible option, choosing is as good as directing. In fact, Linux and his lieutenants do a fair bit of actual directing as well, by telling people what sorts of things they will and will not accept and by providing direction on what kinds of solutions they would like to see to problems.

Not that there aren't very large differences between a PM role and a maintainer, there certainly are. But you seem to imply that OSS projects have no one driving them, which simply isn't true.

Re:Maintainers != Project Managers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16075593)

By the same token, employees could be said do a lot less than volunteers because they're trying to achieve someone else's goal and they are motivated first and foremost by a paycheck rather than personal desire- so a project manager's role is somewhat different from that of the maintainer of a free software project.

Re:a mile away (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075199)

That's not what a project manager does - if anything, that's a subset of what a lead programmer or technical lead would do. Project managers generally know nothing about code.

let the arguments rage (2, Insightful)

popsicle67 (929681) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074621)

So far the system has worked well for the end user.

Re:let the arguments rage (2, Insightful)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074671)

If it falls apart because of unresolvable conflicts at the top, it won't keep working so well for the end user.

Re:let the arguments rage (5, Insightful)

popsicle67 (929681) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074692)

No such thing as an unresolvable conflict, there are only unresolvable egos

Re:let the arguments rage (3, Interesting)

Arimus (198136) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074746)

Unresolvable egos have killed many a commercial project stone dead (especially when the subcontractor thinks it knows what the prime contractor wants rather than actually doing what they're told by the relevant subject metter experts).

Unfortunatly along with outstanding coding skills the OSS comunity has its share of egos, and as with an OSS project your job (usually) isn't on the line you can make your point more forceably and with less tact than in a work situation. The only problem is alot of the time both sides of a row are right - just unable to see the common ground and resolve their egos for the good of the project.

I do wonder whether some of this is down to lack of face to face in person meetings between the various parties...

Re: Raging Arguments... (2, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074725)

The two opposite sides of the scale appeared in consecutive posts.

The thorough discussions apparently remove the risk of mistakes associated with conformity, called "groupspeak" by some consulting firms.

However, when all is said and done, the code for a function needs to be stable. At what point does the free-for-all become a liability?

*nix projects a somewhat splintered image. There is a group of users who are unhappy with the other two closed OS vendors, and are surveying the state of affairs. I at least am baffled trying to objectively rate all the variants out there. Does anyone know of a comprehensive feature chart that allows prospective users to scrutinize the specs for their favorite purpose across most of the builds?

We all know what MS is about. Apple's entire existence has been positioned as "the Friendly Branded OS". I have remarked that I will ease into one of the OSS builds. But which one? Red Hat? Debian? uBuntu? Xandros? When I go reseaching, who is a neutral source?

I am quite satisfied that we don't need Every Last User on OSS. There are net jokes about AOL users, and the stereotype exists for a reason. But for the midline user who wants to promote OSS, what if ALL the variants remain incomplete because of the flamewars?

Re: Raging Arguments... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074992)

First of all... googling "Linux Distros" I got this page
http://lcic.org/distros.html [lcic.org]
which not only has information on distros but links to helpful sites such as distrowatch which do exactly what you say, list the features of nearly all of the linux distro's out there. Dude, don't complain it's not there without even looking.

Second, they are all incomplete, and always will be. None of the distro's is right for you, and never will be. Once you start really using a tool, it's never QUITE right, it's always got some little thing you want to be different. The biggest thing differentiating the distro's is in fact exactly this, ease of configurability for the 100% computer geek in trade for easy of discoverability/usability for the part time user. How to do both is a difficult question, and the many linux distro's pick somewhere in between. The number of distro's merely reflects this fact of life. I personally HATE having some user friendly thing try and guess and my device drivers, because 2 days later I'll decide that I don't like the driver they chose for that card or need a weird unstable feature and have compile my own kernel anyway. Why deal with card detection which by it's very nature guaranteed to not be 100% stable? Debian is at the admin level of control, enough control for any web/sys admin, but difficult to use for the desktop environment. Being used by this class of control freek yet practical people with things to get done has made it one of the best distro's out there. It has the best package management to this day, the largest archive, runs on the most archs, and is arguably the easiest of the major distros to secure. As a result it's a wonderful baseline for Ubuntu: a userfriendly desktop distro that doesn't show you boot up information, and makes you go through the silly simon says sudo dance to do root operations without a password. It's a wonderful distro for the normal user (read, not me).

TFA states that Debian can't be everything to everybody, this may be true now, but we don't know if it actually can eventually. Linux was a crappy as hell desktop kernel, now it runs XEN, or on a multibox NUMA system, or can be fully preemtable for graphics, or it can run on your pocket watch without even an MMU. The kernel is doing it, Linux is becoming everything (except admitadly, stable). The fighting in debian means that no-one debeloper takes it and runs with it, off into there own little la-la land and it continues to be useful for everyone. As everyone pulls in every direction at once, Debian may break. But if it doesn't, as it stretches people fill in the slowly growing holes in the middle, the fabric will only get stronger, the code more stable, as people do more and more rediculas things with the same codebase. Gentoo's strongest point to me is that it's a source distro, and in essence supplies an easy way for people to horribly break their computer systems. This causes code to get fixed, Gentoo packages compile with O3 and horrific cflags, because people ask them too. The same sort of strain on Debian's codebase can be good for it. As it stands debian actually does something similar via ports to other archs. I think the same can hold true in general "ports" to different goals. Pulling can be good, it makes for configurability, and that's good for a distro like debian. Let Ubuntu package the results up, and hide it all for the normal user (pulling in fact in that direction, and yet again improving the source base as a result).

Re: Raging Arguments... (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075209)

Personally, I recommend Ubuntu 6.06. I myself recently switched over to it, and have found it to be a very pleasant experiance. I even managed to convince a friend that he should totally switch after, within the space of about 20 minutes, everything "worked." Unlike in previous distos, he was able to get 3d acceleration working properly, dvd+MP3+Other Proprietary codecs, ut2k4, and he just loves the simplicity of apt-get and synaptic. Immediatly before running Ubuntu, he tried running openSUSE, which didn't quite work out for him (couldn't get anything to simply "work"). After 3 days, he removed openSUSE.

Truth be told, I don't think your going to be able to find a Neutral Source. Really, the closest you are going to get to a source you consider Neutral would be yourself. As for a feauter chart, however, that is a bit easier. Wikipedia has one here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Linux_d istributions [wikipedia.org]

As far as the debate on the semantics of Mark's post are concerned, I think that it is laughable that the discussion is even taking place. If anyone actually read and understood it, they would see how comical it is that they are arguing over the semantics.

Re: Raging Arguments... (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075477)

openSUSE is the project I want to love, but so far can't. I think if it were the same as the Enterprise version, then I would love it. But since I couldn't get YaST to do almost anything I had to drop it, and now love the Ubuntu set up I have with XGL, Compiz, and Slab. I think one of the most important factors in Ubutuntu is its active forums filled with hacks, scripts, and help.

Fuck you in your ugly face (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074714)

Go fucking cut out your ribs and blow your sick slimy stump of a chode.

Re:let the arguments rage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16075089)

Obviously. The Debian team were real quick to make installing easier for "the end user".

we are never going to agree on how to do things... (5, Insightful)

karlk79 (604866) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074632)

And that is a good thing. Linux is moving along at a great pace, even with the little spats here and there. I love that there is alot of different ideas, with people to push them through.

Re:we are never going to agree on how to do things (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074726)

we are never going to agree on how to do things... And that is a good thing.
Yeah, that's also why we have dozens of different versions of TCP/IP and HTTP, for example. Freedom of choice!

Oh wait...

Lick my balls. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074751)

Lick them. They are tasty.

[Debian|Ubuntu] can't be everything to everyone (4, Insightful)

grylnsmn (460178) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074647)

I posted this first to Mark's blog, but I'll repeat it here:

This is a very well-written summation of the issues.

To paraphrase a comment from a message board I visit, "[Debian|Ubuntu] can't be everything to everyone."

Debian provides a wonderful base for many other distributions, not just Ubuntu, and it is a rock-solid platform for servers. It runs on many different architectures, and can be used on machines from a handheld up to a massive server. This is one of its greatest strengths, but also one of its greatest weaknesses.

Ubuntu, on the other hand, is far more focused than Debian is. Starting with the general base (the plateau, as Mark called it), it builds a strong distribution targeted to only 3-4 architectures (counting SPARC), which opens many more options. This is no different than many other distributions have done. For example, Knoppix is another version of Debian with customizations on top of it for a specific platform (or platforms).

Ubuntu can't be everything to everyone, because everyone has different needs and goals, and Ubuntu has a specific focus. Similarly, Debian can't be everything to everyone, because it is a more general distribution, a jack of all trades (and master of none).

Re:[Debian|Ubuntu] can't be everything to everyone (5, Insightful)

Deb-fanboy (959444) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074711)

Although [Debian|Ubuntu] can't be everything to everyone, I am amazed by the breadth of Debian. If I set-up a standard linux PC for a friend then I would use Ubuntu but there are so many niches that can be filled by Debian and huge choice for the user. For example I recently set up Debian testing on a laptop with no cdrom by using a couple of floppy instal disks and an ethernet connection to an internet connected router. On the web there are a huge number of friendly resources and articles to help set-up your debian system.

Re:[Debian|Ubuntu] can't be everything to everyone (2, Insightful)

grylnsmn (460178) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074716)

I fully agree. Like I said, that's one of Debian's biggest strengths. It is a wonderful general distribution, and that is the reason why it is the starting point for so many other distributions (like Ubuntu, Knoppix, and Linspire). It is extremely versitile and customizable (sp?).

There's absolutely no reason for there to be any antagonism between Debian and any of the Debian-derived distributions. Debian can't be everything for everyone, but it certainly provides a wonderful starting point for others to build upon. It's the foundation stones, but you can build many different buildings on the same foundation.

Re:[Debian|Ubuntu] can't be everything to everyone (0, Flamebait)

portmapper (991533) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074901)

> Ubuntu, on the other hand, is far more focused than Debian is. Starting with the general base
> (the plateau, as Mark called it), it builds a strong distribution targeted to only 3-4
> architectures (counting SPARC), which opens many more options.

Ubuntu's focus is to be the "market leader". Part of that is to encourage hardware manufacturers
to make binary-only drivers to be included in Ubuntu. This undermines efforts to get the
hardware manufacturers to release hardware specs.

Is the problem maturity? (3, Interesting)

HRbnjR (12398) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074679)

IMHO, Gnu/Linux on the desktop still kinda sucks right now, but it is advancing rapidly. This makes me want to upgrade my distribution to get the latest and greatest, because it fixes features I really want (multimedia these days). We are quickly getting to a place where most the needs of average users will be well met. Then I won't mind if Debian is a little behind. It's like Windows XP being good enough that most people don't really care about upgrading to Vista. I can't wait until we are in that place, and I hope that then, the impedus to move forward so rapidly is lightened enough to relieve some of the stress on the Debian devs, allowing them more time to work through some of these issues.

Re:Is the problem maturity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074742)

linux on the desktop will always suck... 2020 will still be "the year of linux on the desktop"

Re:Is the problem maturity? (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075516)

I think Linux on the desktop is finally exciting. I have started using Compiz and Slab, and I now think it is the best choice for any desktop that can't run OS-X. I will concede the Compiz needs a bit more polish before this becomes and option for Joe Sixpack, but Compiz is a very young project and updating rapidly.

wtf on his blog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074682)

This has got to be my settings (which seem to be just fine anyplace else) or mark shuttleworth uses a monitor 17 feet tall and six inches wide. I have never seen such a weird layed out page before. Anyone else see this skinny vision thing on the linked page?

Re:wtf on his blog? (0, Offtopic)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075024)

running firefox when i find a wierd page like that in the top menu i click "View" > "Page Style" > "No Style" and it pretty much makes it all plain text...

thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16075484)

That worked perfectly on that page, looks normal and readable now. Before it had like two words per line and an endless scroll to try and read it.

It's a conspiracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074697)

Commercial interests are conspiring to conquer and divide OSS.

And I've already switched back to Debian (1)

diablo-d3 (175104) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074757)

For nine years I ran Debian. Then, a few people convinced me to switch to Ubuntu. For one year I used Ubuntu, and I hated it, and I switched back. Now I am back on Debian, and I love it. Then, like many people, I decided to blog about it [adterrasperaspera.com] .

Re:And I've already switched back to Debian (0, Offtopic)

kernelpanicked (882802) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074772)

Well that blog post was a waste of five minutes of my life. Oh and from your blog "Fedora simply isn't relevant in the Linux world anymore. Ubuntu has almost single-handedly replaced all major desktop-oriented distros."

On behalf of myself and all other Fedora users out there, you sir are a dipshit.

And you're a tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074865)

So, you're bitter about an intelligently written blog post which serves as a brilliant attempt to reconcile tension between two of the larger communities in linux because on another blog post he offended your distro? Grow up.

Re:And I've already switched back to Debian (1)

Simon Garlick (104721) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075180)

On behalf of myself and all other Fedora users out there, you sir are a dipshit.

I notice you didn't disagree with him.

A disturbing lack of thought is manifest. (5, Insightful)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074764)

I would say that the line, "Ubuntu could not exist without Debian," is not an opinion. It is fact. Does this mean that Ubuntu owes anything to Debian? Not really. Other than the GPL obligations, there really isn't anything that Debian could or should ask for in return from Ubuntu.

Anybody who has worked with Debian already should have a deep and profound respect for the fact that Debian is plain and broad. When you sit down at a Debian computer, you are seated before a gateway to what might be the most customizable distribution in existence. All of the packages are roughly as far away as "$ sudo aptitude", and it is all but guaranteed that no matter how complicated or convoluted the package you want is, it will be downloaded and installed, along with dependencies, and you don't have to worry about a damn thing. (If you've ever compiled your own VLC or GIMP, you know what I'm talking about.)

The problem is that people would like to see specialization in Debian. Debian is not for specialization. It's for everybody to make what they want. Taking that away from Debian compromises the entire goal of the project...

Re:A disturbing lack of thought is manifest. (1)

jsebrech (525647) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074969)

The problem is that people would like to see specialization in Debian. Debian is not for specialization. It's for everybody to make what they want. Taking that away from Debian compromises the entire goal of the project...

The problem with debian is not that there is too much choice, it's that there is too much required choice. You HAVE to put in all the effort of selecting what you want from the package database. And you HAVE to mix and match apps, themes and add-ons until you get a consistent and usable desktop experience.

Choice does not conflict with good defaults. Debian lacks good defaults (for the desktop), and that's why it has such low usability in the default install. This isn't just a debian problem, it is very common in the OSS world, but debian is imho very representative of it.

Re:A disturbing lack of thought is manifest. (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075095)

You HAVE to put in all the effort of selecting what you want from the package database.

Perhaps you should actually try installing a recent version of Debian sometime soon. In the meantime, these screenshots [osdir.com] of Debian Etch's installer should reassure anyone who might be feeling a bit nervous after reading so much FUD.

Re:A disturbing lack of thought is manifest. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075560)

I would say that the line, "Ubuntu could not exist without Debian," is not an opinion. It is fact.

A fact, maybe, but I think only from a limited perspective. Maybe it could not exist exactly as it is in its current form without Debian. If Debian didn't exist, they might have used another distribution as its base.

Slashdot discovers journalism (4, Insightful)

njdj (458173) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074805)

You take a straightforward, uncontroversial statement (Shuttleworth's blog entry) that practically everyone agrees with. Then you publish a headline saying there's a "conflict", and pretend there's a huge row going on.

Pretty soon you've got a heated argument going on, mostly between people who haven't read the statement that allegedly started it all.

What does it all prove? That Slashdot isn't "stuff that matters" any more, it's stuff that draws mass readership. Just what we were trying to get away from when we first started reading Slashdot ...

Re:Slashdot discovers journalism (4, Interesting)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074881)

Intresting post, but may I point out that Slashdot doesn't need to pander to people any more? They can post more or less anything they want and they'll find it very difficult to drive the fanbase off. Slashdot is just a really large forum to most people, we come here for the latest (ahem) news/waste a bit of time and take part in the commenting. Slashdot isn't a news site in the traditional sense, it's a blog with thousands of people reading it.

Does all this matter in all honesty? To most people probably not. We're a bunch of nerds discussing things from America's movement into a police state like society to the latest gimmick software. Both cannot be "news for nerds" and "stuff that matters" in all cases.

As for addressing the article it's self. OSS does have 3 sides and we have to remember this. As long as we keep everyones goal in sight (good free software with the freedom to do whatever we like to it) then our paths may cross at times but we'll work together for the greater good. My biggest worry for OSS is when it gets too big and it's flooded by people who think they can make money out of it instead of the love of good software as we have now.

Re:Slashdot discovers journalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074949)

Your post is also interesting. Its an example of how a site when it has become popular/status-quo starts becoming less inclined from its original roots because people will use/read it anyway. Sortof like a cult or movement. If you want the more interesting stuff you need to look for the to-be Slashdots which may or may not be popular but who do incline to get the "stuff that matters" better than Slashdot. Some may say Digg is just that, or Technocrat.net. I don't know yet what my alternative will be. Then again, the users sortof also make the content here. You can post here, moderate, submit news, etcetera. You have some influence.

Net stats shows Linux use drop in bucket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074847)

http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2006/August/os.php

OS Stats
Tue Aug 1 00:01:02 2006 - Thu Aug 31 23:58:00 2006   31.0 Days

1. Windows XP    97428486 (82%)
2. Win 2000       9007785 (7%)
3. Win 98         5287418 (4%)
4. Mac            3867642 (3%)
5. Unknown        1852643 (1%)
6. Linux           485138 (0%)
7. Win NT          338596 (0%)
8. Win 95          234157 (0%)
9. Win 3.x         166530 (0%)
10. Unix            93793 (0%)
11. WebTV           30425 (0%)
12. Windows ME       6217 (0%)
13. OS/2             1567 (0%)
14. Amiga             333 (0%)

Those that think Linux has, is, or soon will, make inroads on the desktop -- pft!

Re:Net stats shows Linux use drop in bucket (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074928)

The Operating System Sucks-Rules-O-Meter suggests otherwise....

http://srom.zgp.org/ [zgp.org]

It's a salesman speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16074893)

The main point which is also the main flaw of the product he is trying to sell is this sentence:
You could only perceive that as an outcome if you assumed that the two have exactly the same goals.
So he said it, you can't come back later and say he didnt warn you.

Then he takes extra care not talking about it anymore and try to sell his product: HIS vision of the situation.
Dear debian people, be happy with your rules, with your development version,hack things, and let me take care of the current version.
And of course, of the business.

The problem is that it is quite possible and even obvious that personal goals of many members of the community, or users of debian could be exactly the same than ubuntu's , that they first saw ubuntu as a way to reach those goals and they now understand that thay are not only competing for them but even helping ubuntu reaching them first hand when ubuntu profits from debian's development and not the other way around and when developpers are sucked in.

In which case, one of them will succeed and the other fail. Don't say then he didnt warn you now. Well, I did.

Re:It's a salesman speech (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075137)

. . .sell his product: HIS vision of the situation.

Well, just whose point of view do you expect him to present?

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, although I wish you to find my client not guilty let me go over some points that the prosecution has raised, as I think they are entirely valid. . ."

KFG

People love to read about conflicts (1)

file-exists-p (681756) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074899)

The moral of all this is that to make the front page of /. it's better to have a conflict (which are unavoidable with any project the size of Debian) than to have thousands of hours of hard work.

--
Go Debian!

Re:People love to read about conflicts (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 8 years ago | (#16074921)

If you like to read about good news and hard work you can read the other OSTG site freshmeat.net [freshmeat.net] , but personally I don't find it very interesting.

I come here to read interesting points of view (even if /. makes up debates that don't exist, as here, interesting comments usually come up).

It's all M$' fault (0, Troll)

tvvitter (1000880) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075061)

These divisions simply do not exist. Ubuntu is another sign that free software is advancing, and that non-free junk will just fall by the wayside. M$ obviously doesn't want this, they know their business model is failing, so they're plunging money into astroturfing to make OSS look divided. They've done it before and they'll do it again. Everyone knows Vi$ta will fail.

What (0, Troll)

Konster (252488) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075081)

What I want out of Linux:

1.One GUI.

2. Ability to play DirectX games.

3. Double click driver and application installs. "Fire and forget"

4. No preaching. I don't really give a rat's ass about what is free and what isn't. I care about things that work and have minimum user input to make them work. The days of $500 printer drivers have been replaced with $75/hour Linux distro experts.

5. Uniformity in how things work. This should be #1, but it's late. Currently, Google is the #1 tool that Linux admins use for tracking down errors. Why?

There is a uniformity that exists with windows that linux lacks.

Ubuntu...all the others. Of them all, SUSE has a clue.

I will be *retired* long before Linux gets a grip...if it ever does.

Re:What (2, Insightful)

wateriestfire (962915) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075182)

what you want is Microsoft Windows, you should really just use that. Linux isn't Windows, It is made and supported by the people that work hard to make the idea of open source work. Linux is more kinda like art. It is abstract and works and gets features from the millions of ideas that flow into it. Users help users understand it and they help others. It is also really fun to work with. I don't know why you would want it to be Windows.. the world already has one.

Re:What (3, Insightful)

VZ (143926) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075208)

> What I want out of Linux:
>
> 1.One GUI.
>
> 2. Ability to play DirectX games.
>
> 3. Double click driver and application installs. "Fire and forget"
>
> 4. No preaching. I don't really give a rat's ass about what is free and what isn't.

As your points, especially the last one, make it abundantly clear, what you want is not Linux but a free[*] clone of Windows. Nothing wrong with this, of course, but what does it have to do with Linux and why any of the developers working on Linux [desktop] should care about what you want?

[*] I presume the cost is the only thing which keeps you from just using the original right now

Re:What (1)

Wylfing (144940) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075258)

And you want it all to still remain at a cost of zero, I bet.

It always fries my ass when people scream about stuff like "I want to play DirectX games" but aren't willing to pay a single cent to see it happen. How do you think it can be done when you won't pay? Do you think Microsoft are magnanimously giving away DirectX technology? They aren't even giving it to their own products anymore (i.e., DX10 only for Vista).

Ah, screw it, I know I'm feeding trolls but I will go ahead and bash a few more of your idiotic statements.

Double click driver and application installs. Already happens. It's not "double-click" but just as easy. How about the lack of working uninstalls in Windows? When, oh when, will Windows have applications that actually uninstall cleanly? We've had that on Linux forever.

Currently, Google is the #1 tool that Linux admins use for tracking down errors. I can't even figure out why this is a criticism (and not, say, praise for Google). Currently Google is the #1 way Windows admins track down errors too. Why?

Re:What (1)

shrykk (747039) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075264)

What I want out of Linux:
[5-point list elided]


That's cool, and it ties in fine with this discussion: Mark Shuttleworth wrote about a large group of people with conflicting goals. For all that you want a single GUI and consistency, other people love having lots of choice. You don't "give a rat's ass about what is free and what isn't"; lots of people care a lot about it.

Now you can almost certainly find a distro that gives you what you want (well, maybe not DirectX), while others can find distros that suit them. And other people claim that there are too many distributions and that efforts are too spread out. You can't win :-)

Re:What (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075296)

4. No preaching. I don't really give a rat's ass about what is free and what isn't.

That's okay. I, to be totally frank, don't particularly care if you become a linux user or not.

Re:What (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075506)

Exactly.

Blog post more about Debian's focus and sid (2, Insightful)

olau (314197) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075156)

I read the blog post (yes, I know reading the actual articles is unusual for Slashdot, I'm sorry), and as I see it Shuttleworth's point is mostly that Debian should focus on the work on the unstable branch because, plainly, that's what working best.

Maybe he's right. Debian's never been succesful at meeting the scheduled release dates. If Ubuntu is capable of delivering better desktop releases, and in soon perhaps also better server releases, then what's the point of struggling and perpertually flamewaring to do the same inside Debian? Food for thought. Maybe a Debian developer would like to comment on that?

By the way, he openly admits that the unstable branch is vital for Ubuntu which could explain why he thinks that it is better to focus on it.

A bit of a collective mea culpa? (2, Insightful)

xoundmind (932373) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075272)

The main - and subtlely articulated - point that I gathered from this:
Shuttleworth is ackowledging that many of the Ubuntu users/booster club members are thinking out of their ass. Cruise over to the Uubuntu forums (or any of the unbearable "I just installed Ubuntu" threads on Digg) and you'll see a blatant ignorance of Debian. Not of its existence necessarily, but of Debian's immense role in the Linux world for all of these years. Mark knows it, the Slackware folks know it (but don't want to deal with those sysv scripts), but the "my laptop spins like a floating cube with Ubuntu" crowd don't always get. And their brash attitude is a bit of an embarrassment.

Re:A bit of a collective mea culpa? (1)

Trinn (523103) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075490)

(note, I registered before I took the handle QuinnStorm) I think I should install a pbuilder for debian etch and start emitting compiz packages for that too... maybe then people will stop associating that with ubuntu, as it works just as well with debian if you have the right packages

Well (1)

xinu (64069) | more than 8 years ago | (#16075448)

Just makes the meme pool that much larger to draw from I suppose

Has the Shuttleworth parasite written any GPL code (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16075706)

The punk Shuttleworth grabbed the best programmers from Gnome, Debian, KDE and now pontificates about Linux evolution.

We dont need you Mark. Go back to space. Or wait a couple of years for your United Nations award before gpoing back to your kraal.

Meanwhile, STFU.

Ubuntu not immune to conflicts (2, Insightful)

Respect_my_Authority (967217) | more than 8 years ago | (#16076023)

Mark Shuttleworth is not in a position to tell other projects how to manage a project without conflicts. I recall that just before the Dapper release some German Kubuntu developers threatened to leave the project because Canonical refused to communicate with them. One of these rebelling German guys was the main developer of K/Ubuntu's new live-cd.

Part of the problem seemed to be that these Kubuntu developers were not paid employees. There was one paid employee in the lead of the Kubuntu project and this employee did his best trying to convince people that there was no conflict, although obviously there was. Hiding problems and denying conflicts seems to be the official policy of Mark Shuttleworth's pet project and this carefully built image of easy success that they want to project to the public makes Shuttleworth now think that he can advise other projects about their goals.

"Let he who is without sin throw the first stone," but Mark Shuttleworth is not as innocent as he'd like to appear. He has faced conflicts in managing his own project and I'm not at all sure that he's the right man to tell other projects how to avoid conflicts. And advising Debian to concentrate its efforts on improving Sid is definitely a bad advice, although such decision would certainly suit Ubuntu that is built upon snapshots of Sid.

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