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Debian Not Looking For Commercial Fortune

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the but-they've-found-it-anyhow-really dept.

Debian 45

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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Non-profit group does not seek profit (4, Insightful)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 6 years ago | (#23238652)

News at 11.

They Could Make a Shuttle's Worth of Money (3, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23238812)

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.

Re:Non-profit group does not seek profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23239148)

Why would you ever give anything away when there's a small possibility of profit? No organization can possibly survive without being solely dedicated to greed and consumption! Let's go to the mall before American Idol is on!

Really bad summary. Debian is Rocking. (2, Insightful)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23239158)

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 recently when programmers who wanted to get on board were unable to sign up and become registered participants.

So the big problem is too much participation? OMG, they are doomed! The bottom line is that Debian is community generated, excellent and growing. The interviewer presented this well, let's not spin it into something it's not.

Re:Really bad summary. Debian is Rocking. (1)

locokamil (850008) | more than 6 years ago | (#23240052)

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.

Warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23240904)

this account is a twitter sockpuppet [slashdot.org]

Re:Warning (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 6 years ago | (#23241374)

I'm sorry, but who cares? Judge a post based on its content. The twitter outing posts are becoming more irritating than anything I remember twitter doing. (In fact, until these warnings came out, I had no idea who twitter was.)

Re:Warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23241684)

Right, I read the "by" line of a slashdot post right after I read the post title, which is almost never. I really don't care who twitter is, just like I don't care who the anti-twitter people are. Say something on topic or something funny or shut the hell up.

Re:Warning (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23241740)

Agreed. I find it pathetic that these people are running around chasing after the guy. It's almost as if they're scared of him. They are almost certainly the same people who downmodded Twitter into -1 land in the first place, otherwise, why would they care so much?

Re:Warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23241910)

I disagree. I appreciate the warnings, even though I already knew about this particular account. Just yesterday it was being used [slashdot.org] to run a first post troll thread with at least four twitter sockpuppets. And yesterday he also created yet another [slashdot.org] account, which I wouldn't know about otherwise.

Quite frankly, *nothing* is as irritating as this guy and his merry troupe of socks.

Re:Warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23242198)

So how do people "outing" him help him be less annoying? They don't. If anything, they just encourage him. Ignore him or laugh at him. It's not like he's going to "trick" you by making an insightful post and you'll be ruined for replying to him

Re:Really bad summary. Debian is Rocking. (1)

AceJohnny (253840) | more than 6 years ago | (#23243678)

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.

Re:Really bad summary. Debian is Rocking. (1)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23248510)

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.

Re:Really bad summary. Debian is Rocking. (1)

izelrenevato (1279062) | more than 6 years ago | (#23250946)

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

Re:Non-profit group does not seek profit (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23245506)

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.

Yes, they do! (1)

galanom (1021665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23265112)

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.

What the OSS haters forget (2, Insightful)

SilentBob0727 (974090) | more than 6 years ago | (#23238838)

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.

This just in from the analyists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23239132)

All your hobbies are stupid, you should quit rebuilding old cars, building model rockets, collecting coins or stamps, planting flower gardens, writing programs and all those other things you do to make life bearable but that won't ultimately make you filthy rich. Life is all about money. Money! Moneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoneymoney!
--Average analyst.

Re:This just in from the analyists! (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 6 years ago | (#23239464)

You forgot to charge us a consulting fee for your advice.

Re:What the OSS haters forget (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23239582)

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.

captain obvious of the redundancies brigade (-1, Flamebait)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#23238842)

In other news, water is wet, wheels are generally pretty round, and Liberace liked bling.

Re:captain obvious of the redundancies brigade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23239900)

Not so long ago this was 'obvious' about Red Hat and any number of other distros too. But things change, and it's not redundant or obvious or unwelcome to see a solid distro that's committing itself to a non-profit route.

debian has a place (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23238854)

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.

Re:debian has a place (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23239300)

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? They all worked... well, till MS put them out of business. *nix systems will always exists as a group, not as a single player. Yes, I said always. This is due to the fact that each of them is customized to suit a particular hardware or purpose. There are several OS's for mobile devices and no one is questioning if they all need to be there or not... except for those with a vested interest in the others going away.

There are a lot of OS's that are not going to make a commercial fortune, and commercial fortunes are not the only measure of success. There are lots of people who benefit every day from WindRiver systems, fromi CentOS, and other operating systems that are not wild commercial successes like Windows or Mac et al.

This is a blind man picking race horses at the track by the smell of the beer spills next to the betting window.

I read through TFA (2, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#23239104)

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.

Re:I read through TFA (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23243308)

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 same damn people just getting paid as well. And it's not like they'd possibly be able to hire everyone, or well if they did I'd sure there'd be plenty to take their place for the chance of a paid job.

Success is very relative, even subjective. (1)

Pengo (28814) | more than 6 years ago | (#23239232)


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 (2, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 et al. will bail them out (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23239516)

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.

OMG Debian's dying!1!! (1)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23239908)

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?"

Re:OMG Debian's dying!1!! (1)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 6 years ago | (#23240816)

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?

Re:OMG Debian's dying!1!! (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23261020)

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 experience.

Incidentally, this particular geek doesn't block ads.

Re:OMG Debian's dying!1!! (1)

kriebz (258828) | more than 6 years ago | (#23279954)

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.

Re:OMG Debian's dying!1!! (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23281354)

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 years. A Debian bug was filed about this six years ago.

Re:OMG Debian's dying!1!! (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23245368)

Quite somebody check netcraft! is it true?

Ubuntu Debian; Symbiotic relationship (1)

TBBScorpion (876568) | more than 6 years ago | (#23240604)

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 Debian's hard work and exploit it as their own distribution. They contribute back much of their work to Debian (if the Debian developers like the changes). With Debian, Ubuntu wouldn't survive. Ubuntu's funding and hard work ends up helping Debian.

So about saying "Debian will hit a brick wall"... I would ask the question, did you close your mind and hit a brick wall?

Our perception of a situation is based on our experiences and our knowledge of the situation. If we are missing information, our perception about the situation may be off. Like the fact I haven't read the actual article this is about... I'm probably missing something.

Re:Ubuntu Debian; Symbiotic relationship (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 6 years ago | (#23241514)

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.

Re:Ubuntu Debian; Symbiotic relationship (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23241782)

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?

Re:Ubuntu Debian; Symbiotic relationship (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 6 years ago | (#23246274)

Same reason I run sid in the first place.

Re:Ubuntu Debian; Symbiotic relationship (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247504)

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.

Debian not dying. (1)

ruinevil (852677) | more than 6 years ago | (#23240928)

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.

Interviewer keeps trying to get at something. (2, Insightful)

kwabbles (259554) | more than 6 years ago | (#23241368)

"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 distribution other than maybe Slack that I'm more comfortable with putting into production and knowing it will run day in, day out until the plug is finally pulled.

FUD

Besides - what's Shuttleworth going to run his stuff on if Deb goes down the tubes? Fedora? LOL

Not a problem (1)

Doug Neal (195160) | more than 6 years ago | (#23241588)

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 decision, whether or not everyone is happy with it. Unfortunately, when everyone is working for you for free, it's not smart to piss too many of them off too often.

That said, Debian is still my weapon of choice for stable, reliable servers. Unless you have very specific needs that can only be catered for by other OSes, you can't beat it.

Re:Not a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23242632)

the move from Sarge to Etch took as long as it did
Try the move from Woody (3.0) to Sarge (3.1). That was measured in geologic time, and was one of the big reasons that our department moved to Gentoo instead of Debian, even though Ian Murdock is one of our alums.
(Another reason was the bureaucratic in-fighting, but Gentoo has caught up to them in that regard. *sigh*)

Topsy turvy (1)

gumpish (682245) | more than 6 years ago | (#23247072)

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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