Even though Adrian von Bidder
suggests that I'm starting a bit early with the DPL campaigning, I thought I could add a few more thoughts to the blagosphere
Adrian suggested to make the discussion of our of "vision of Debian" a regular event on debconf - I think it's a nice idea, but that doesn't mean we should keep silent about that topic the rest of the year. I think one of the problems we see in Debian is that we are missing an aim to strive for. We are currently just moving from release to release, while more and more developers have actually lost interest in stable releases. The impression that a common ground like Debian 4.0 is irrelevant seems to prevail, because the people most vocal in our user base usually want to see the newest and shiniest software on their desktop. We have been spending more and more effort to cater to their wishes and have ignored the fact that a majority of Debian-based installations are not run by such people, but by system administrators who do mass roll-outs and neither want nor need the newest X.org with more *bling*.
Ubuntu, the biggest Debian-based distribution, has found its users by packing up new software behind a nice installer, adding some branding elements and then shipping it. Stability is an issue for Ubuntu, but they don't spend as much time as we do on eliminating the last seemingly important bug in some esoteric software package before actually releasing. That observation is the ground for one of my ideas: Our current metric to determine how far testing is away from a release is counting the number of rc bugs - it doesn't matter if the rc bug is X.org crashing for all people or if it is a policy violation in a package with 12 users. Perhaps we should start thinking about a new metric, keeping in mind that for a majority of users, some bugs matter a lot and some matter not at all. With the release of etch, the number of installations of popcon has risen a lot, so for the first time, we have actual usage data that could help us with such a metric. There are a few problems with that approach, though:
- Popcon data is inherently wrong, because single computer installations tend to have popcon, while large installations (like the one in Extremadura) don't.
- A majority of popcon users uses the last stable release, not the one currently in development.
- 3 bugs in packages seldomly used can be more annoying for our users than one central bug - you might be able to find a work around somewhere for something that happens to a lot of people, but a bug only hitting a few users will stay unfixed for a long time.
I don't have more time right now, so the rest of my ideas will follow in the next few days, so stay tuned or add me to your killfile.
In my first post about my current problems with Debian, I noticed that there doesn't seem to be a common vision of Debian's future. My last post was about Debian's current state of moving from stable release to stable release without actual aims. Today
Tracked: Nov 04, 21:22