Conflicting goals create tension in communities

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

Matthew Garrett expressed frustration with Debian recently, in a blog post that’s become rather famous.

I’m of the opinion that Ubuntu could not exist without Debian. So it’s absolutely my intention to see that Ubuntu is a constructive part of the broader Debian landscape. It’s vital that Ubuntu help to sustain and grow Debian, because it’s the breadth and strength of Debian which make up the “shoulders of greatness” on which we in the Ubuntu community stand when we reach for the stars. That doesn’t mean I’m naive enough to think this relationship will ever be an easy one, but I would hope that the discussion doesn’t turn into one of “Ubuntu versus Debian”. Because it isn’t the case that one of them will succeed and the other fail. You could only perceive that as an outcome if you assumed that the two have exactly the same goals.

And that’s where I think a lot of tension is created: it’s hard to know what Debian’s goals are. Those goals are technically articulated in some founding documents but I don’t believe the specific, detailed nature of those goals is actually matched by the personal goals of many members of the community, or users. Debian, in many senses, is at that dangerous stage where it’s a victim of its own success. Its infrastructure and developer recruitment model are for many people what define Debian, and they have been so successful that a community has been created of people who, drawn together by the same things, nonetheless have subtly different personal agendas and goals.

Those differences are a cause of tremendous stress.

When a flamewar erupts, the notional topic of the flameage is often less relevant than the underlying tension between people’s true goals. It’s hard to come to agreement on how to address a specific issue, if there’s no agreement on the very high-level goals that everyone is working towards. Arguments go on forever because one person REALLY wants to see Debian get even more stable on the server, and another person wants to see it get even more cutting edge on the desktop. One person wants more translation of stable versions of applications, another wants newer versions which are by definition not as well translated. One person wants fewer architectures, another wants the full power of Debian on a small embedded architecture.

And all of them have every right to BE RIGHT. All of them, ARE right.

The problem comes if anybody believes that one institution, one product, one single leadership team can synthesise all of that into something which is optimal for EVERYBODY. It’s just not possible to deliver one thing which is optimal for two sets of conflicting requirements, let alone those of a thousand or so of the smartest, most passionate, and lets face it most eclectic of the world’s free software developers. Debian has almost unlimited capacity for some things, by virtue of its openness and democratic governance. That is a wonderful thing. At a time when we all must play to our strengths, many organisations out there would love to have a strength as potent as that. But openness and democracy come at a price if you have narrow goals. No one person or institution can bend that democratic forum to its own specific goals, whether they be desktop, server, embedded, global, local or whatever. Debian, like any institution or product, cannot be all things to all people. It can also not be perfect for one group at the expense of another.

To me, this is the real joy of Debian – it can provide a forum for almost every part of the free software world to come together to hammer out differences and find common ground to the extent that common ground exists. It’s a level playing field – independent of company agendas or technical historical baggage. Debian is the Tibetan Plateau of the free software landscape – elevated through the grinding efforts of conflicting passions to the point of forcing those who visit to get along in a somewhat rarified atmosphere. It can be difficult to breathe up there, sometimes :-). It’s a bit like the Linux kernel itself: show up, with code, and take your place at the table. And the results are spectacular – Debian as a community creates what I believe is one of the great digital artistic works of the era, and frankly comes as close as I can think possible to actually delivering something that does meet all those conflicting agendas and goals.

Consider Sid. Yes, it breaks your toys now and then, but by and large it represents an extraordinary achievement – pretty much the latest releases of the upstream communities, packaged and categorised. Nothing else, from Ubuntu or Red Hat or Novell (or Microsoft) comes anywhere close. Debian Developers are at their happiest running and working on Sid – a recent survey found that something like 76% of Debian users run Sid, while only something like 6% of Ubuntu users run the equivalent beta code. And remember, Ubuntu only has an Edgy or an Edgy+1 because of Sid. When I look at the ebb and flow of discussions on the Debian mailing lists, I see that Sid is in fact where the very best of Debian comes forth. It’s forward looking, it’s focused on the next generation, it requires exceptional skill and up to date technical knowledge to participate, and it’s not subject to the same political tradeoffs that are inevitable when dealing with releases, architectures, dates, deliverables, translation, documentation and so on. There are very few flamewars about Sid.

If Debian were a business, now would be the time for a careful review of strengths and weaknesses, and perhaps for a plan to focus the resources of the organisation on the things it does best. There’s nothing wrong with cutting goals. Jane, the COO at Canonical, keeps me on the straight and narrow with a fairly regular pruning of Canonical’s focus points too :-). Every conflicting goal sucks resources from the overall cohesiveness and strength of the group. If there is no consensus in the community, and the leadership don’t think they can get consensus, then it might be better to cut out those conflicting goals altogether. To my mind, the two things that Debian developers absolutely agree on are first, the uncompromising emphasis on free software, and second, the joy of Sid. If I was to try to resolve the bickering and frustration that I see evident in the community, that’s where I would direct the focus of my efforts. Of course, that’s a tough approach, and leaves many other goals for other people and other communities. But it’s where I think Debian, and DD’s, would be most productive and ultimately happiest. There are many things that Debian does brilliantly – celebrate that, focus on it, and trust that others will fill in the gaps.

By contrast with Debian’s Plateau, Ubuntu is a cluster of peaks. By narrowing the focus and allowing the KDE, Gnome and server communities to leverage the base of Debian without treading on one another’s toes, we can create a K2, and a Kangchenjunga and a Lhotse. Ubuntu’s peaks depend on the plateau for their initial start, and their strong base. Ubuntu needs to be humble about its achievements, because much of its elevation comes from Debian. At the same time, Ubuntu can be proud of the way it has lifted beyond the plateau, drawing together people with specific goals to raise the bar and deliver specific releases that meet ambitious, but narrow, goals.

Many people have asked why I decided to build Ubuntu alongside, or on top of, Debian, rather than trying to get Debian to turn into a peak in its own right. The reason is simple – I believe that Debian’s breadth is too precious to compromise just because one person with resources cares a lot about a few specific use cases. We should not narrow the scope of Debian. The breadth of Debian, its diversity of packages and architectures, together with the social equality of all DD’s, is its greatest asset.

So, what’s to be done about the current furore?

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. And most of all, I hope that Debian will start to appreciate its strengths even more, and to play to them, rather than dividing itself along the lines of its weaknesses. Debian/rules, remember?

77 comments:

  1. Mark Shuttleworth - Conflicting goals create tension in communities « Alberto Milone’s Blog says: (permalink)
    September 9th, 2006 at 9:53 am

    [...] “I’m of the opinion that Ubuntu could not exist without Debian. So it’s absolutely my intention to see that Ubuntu is a constructive part of the broader Debian landscape. It’s vital that Ubuntu help to sustain and grow Debian, because it’s the breadth and strength of Debian which make up the “shoulders of greatness” on which we in the Ubuntu community stand when we reach for the stars. That doesn’t mean I’m naive enough to think this relationship will ever be an easy one, but I would hope that the discussion doesn’t turn into one of “Ubuntu versus Debian”. Because it isn’t the case that one of them will succeed and the other fail. You could only perceive that as an outcome if you assumed that the two have exactly the same goals.” read more [...]

  2. nick says: (permalink)
    September 9th, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    You don’t get it, do you? Ubuntu’s success is a result of both Debian’s shortcomings and appalling lack of progress. Ubuntu was exactly what was needed to give Debian a sorely needed kick in the ass.

    It’s probably too late anyway. Like anything else things change and evolve. Debian is dying. Long live Ubuntu!

  3. Mark Shuttleworth talks about the strengths of Debain and Ubuntu » News around the World says: (permalink)
    September 9th, 2006 at 7:47 pm

    [...] In his, recent blog post, Mark Shuttleworth talks about what makes Debian so strong, why there is so much conflict about it and where his sees its chances. Of oucrse, he also relates it to Ubuntu. “I’m of the opinion that Ubuntu could not exist without Debian.”read more | digg story [...]

  4. Brent C says: (permalink)
    September 9th, 2006 at 9:11 pm

    Ubuntu as a community is lucky in that it has the funding and organization of a corporate-backed distro (like SUSE and Fedora) but without the explicit need to be profitable to Canonical in the immediate short run. Nobody at Canonical has to argue to you Mark why Ubuntu is important to fund and maintain, whereas Novell and Red Hat, being publicly traded companies, need to justify the existence of SUSE and Fedora to both it’s shareholders and to those who hold the high offices. We are extremely lucky that both SUSE and Fedora have stayed their ground for now with such intelligent and caring people currently in charge.

    The point is, Ubuntu has all the professionalism and ease of use of corporate distros, without all the explicit corporateyness. It’s probably safe to say that the development of Ubuntu is a rare boon to Linux in that it was the first distro to specifically narrow it’s target to home users in such a massively well-organized and strategic way. The implications this has in promoting the original tenets of Debian are nontrivial.

    You’ve done exactly what many of us in the free software community would be doing if we had the kind of good fortune needed to complete such an expensive and worthy task. To me, free software is based on the concept of giving and taking, and in light of the general (perceived) mood lately about the relationship between Ubuntu and Debian, this kind of response is a well acknowledgment of the nature of this giving and taking. Kudos to you Mark and all you’ve done, and for the fact that you still remains humble to the origins of the distro that I believe is changing the world.

  5. Dion Dennis says: (permalink)
    September 9th, 2006 at 9:59 pm

    Shuttleworth’s framing of the issues is deft and respectful, as addressed to the Debian community. I hope the community can accept the positive tone and substance of the post.

    I’d like to add a framing of my own: Both Debian and Ubuntu are important players, nodes in a larger network, in a current socio-political and cultural struggle. We are in the midst of a contested and very complex social movement, one that will probably last several decades. Taken as a totality, it can be described as “the politics of Digital Prohibition.” With troublesome court cases and legislation threatening to “lock down” further development of FOSS, in the U.S. (and by extension, through the WTO, globally), it’s time to map and engage in coalition-building, with groups familiar and unfamiliar, to resist the potentially destructive cultural, economic and political effects of the lockdown and freezing of art, culture and technology.

    As the latest iteration in the family of American Prohibition movements, the supports for “Digital Prohibition” are supplied by a coalition of interests – political, demographic, economic and moral. Put another way, the current move toward “Digital Prohibition” (with its stated goal of the criminalization of what are currently widely tolerated, if not always legal, practices) is constituted via the intersection of various agendas and interests, fused by both intention and contingency. Of course, at the heart of those agendas is a common interest in the social, economic and political control of the right to access, produce and reproduce digital content and expression, through the creation of new classes of strictly defined and policed intellectual property rights. Some groups desire moral controls, others focus on capital extraction, and still others focus on security or overt political control of expression. The aggressive implementation of any of these agendas, via restrictive regulation of digital products, will limit practices of freedom.

    Both Ubuntu and Debian are players in the current high-stakes context, albeit with different strategies. As I begun to contemplate the possibility of mapping the social dynamics of “Digital Prohibition” (in a manner suggested by the studies of earlier Prohibition movement), it’s more than apparent to me that these very significant networks, Ubuntu and Debian, can not afford to be consumed by internecine issues. For it will weaken the common resolve, and the political effectiveness, of both, that will be sorely needed in the difficult years still ahead.

  6. koke says: (permalink)
    September 9th, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    Just a crazy saturday-night idea… what about a ‘debuntu’ conference in, let’s say Switzerland (because of its old reputation as a neutral country).

    I think most ubuntu developers have nothing against debian. And most DDs have nothing against Ubuntu’s, and those who seem to hate Ubuntu might do this because lack of communication.

    Maybe publishing patches is not enough. Maybe bazaar repositories are not so cool for DDs. Maybe it’s time to poor water into the flame and grab some beers to talk all together. It’s a win-win situation.

  7. arlingtonva says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 12:28 am

    I would never have apt-get(got) anything from Debian if it were not for Ubuntu. I love Ubuntu. Thank you Mark!

  8. NOOSS Weblog » Shuttleworth on Debian says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 1:42 am

    [...] In his official blog, Shuttleworth’s comments on the tension within the Debian community can be extended to the open source community in general. His post is mostly political – a response to Matthew Garrett’s Live Journal post last week announcing his resignation from Debian as project leader. The posts are an interesting read, giving insight into the workings of an important and enormous open source project. [...]

  9. Off you go… into the purple yonder! » Debian and Ubuntu says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 1:57 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth has an insightful post about the relation between Debian and Ubuntu on his blog. It’s quite refreshing to see such a positive take on the sometimes difficult relationship between my two favourite distributions. Worth reading. [...]

  10. nixuser says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 2:42 am

    Re: Nick

    “You don’t get it, do you? Ubuntu’s success is a result of both Debian’s shortcomings and appalling lack of progress. Ubuntu was exactly what was needed to give Debian a sorely needed kick in the ass.

    It’s probably too late anyway. Like anything else things change and evolve. Debian is dying. Long live Ubuntu! ”

    I guess you don’t get it. Without Debian; Canonical wouldn’t have a base. No base = no Ubuntu. The folks at Debian may have gotten a kick in the ass; my question is when do you get your kick?

  11. Savadeep Speaks! » A most interesting consideration of Debian and Ubuntu. says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 3:10 am

    [...] It was of today that I was a reader of this most interesting article about Debian and Ubuntu Linuxes by Mark Shuttleworth. Myself, I am but a most proud user of Kubuntu Linux, which is but a version of Ubuntu Linux that has a highly integrated KDE desktop enivronment. Ubuntu, for those of my readers not in the know, is a most useful and vastly popular distribution of Linux built on the most solid foundation of Debian. [...]

  12. Zooperman says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 4:46 am

    I believe the most important idea and reality to take away from Mark’s analysis is that Debian and Ubuntu are not really competing entities at all.

    Debian is like an open-ended largely undirected theoretical research group (think Bell Labs or SkunkWorks) … research for the sake of research, not necessarily with a tight focus on a deliverable for a specific customer, need, or usage.

    Ubuntu, on the other hand, is like a product development or solutions developer group that takes the products of the efforts of the research group and hones, polishes, packages, and targets them for a tightly defined specific customer or need.

    Each group requires different structures and styles of leadership to keep the developers happy and to bring forth successful results. One is impoverished without the other. Let’s celebrate both Debian and Ubuntu and work hard to ensure that both continue to thrive! =)

  13. Mark Shuttleworth talks about the strengths of Debain and Ubuntu « johnboy’s gnu/linux planet says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 5:19 am

    [...] read more | digg story Explore posts in the same categories: linux [...]

  14. Richard Hutchison says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 6:25 am

    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).

  15. adju.st says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 8:18 am

    Shuttleworth on Debian…

    A great post by Mark Shuttleworth, on how he thinks of Debian and it’s relationship with Ubuntu. I wish I was as coherent a writer – he manages to stretch the “altitude” analogy so far it nearly snaps, but not……

  16. simone brunozzi says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 9:37 am

    Dear Mr. Shuttleworth,
    I quite agree with your point of view: many people tend to forget the VITAL role of Debian within the whole Linux/Open Source/GNU communities and softwares.
    I’m happy to see that you still continue to RESPECT that role (despite Ubuntu’s success, and despite your big pocket). It’s a rare quality in a man, please keep it as long as you can.
    One thing that you are not mentioning is: why don’t Ubuntu and Debian MERGE? Merge the thousand superskilled Debian Developers, and Ubuntu’s strong community and business model, and you’ll have Linux “Über Alles”. Over Red Hat/Fedora/SuSE/OpenSuSE/LinSpire/FreeSpire, and over M$ and Apple.
    I’d like to know your thoughts about that. :-)
    Cheers,

  17. Damon H. says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 9:43 am

    Is this how business quietly takes over? Being the voice of reason pointing the way toward solution oriented language finding opportunity in challenges and coplimentary metaphors to blow smoke up the ass of hairsplitting unproductive children? The unruly, garish, cocphanistic process of great ideas trying to break out if their silos while developers in tiny flats and cubicle behives blow off steam in chat rooms and look for enough peer support to write that next piece of awesome code don’t work good enough anymore? Just cause one guy foregoes some very uneeded profit to help acomplish a beautiful idea everybody gets a crush on him and treats his blog like an invitation to daddy’s study? Thanx Mark. I love and suppoort what you are doing with Ubuntu. I love your passion, intelligence, and the spirit and sincerity of your post, i just don’t believe the community needs a project manager, no mater how succesful and experienced he/she is.

  18. Timeblog.net » Story Plug says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 9:47 am

    [...] — Second Link: Mark Shuttleworth talks about Debian and Ubuntu. What are their strengths, what makes them go and why is there so much dispute in the community. [...]

  19. Doener says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 10:09 am

    I can’t understand the Debian folk wining about Ubuntu. Debian’s development model was ropy and all the time too far away from the needs of “User average Joe”. Ubuntu took the work of Debian – as it’s clearly intended by the GPL and other Free Software licenses – and made a distribution that was designed for the mainstream. Now some Debian poeple are surprised that thinking about newbies, simplicity and the mainstream actually leads to success in the mainstream and in many cases even pro users profit from it. Everybody is happy, if the hardware just runs.

    Sorry for my bad english …

  20. Debian vs Ubuntu: Habla el comandante — Criando Cuervos says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 11:05 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth ha publicado un post en su blog donde da un repaso a porque existen “tensiones entre las dos comunidades”. No se muerde la lengua el fundador de Canonical y arremete contra Debian sutilmente mientras explica la actual situación de la distribucion, en la que el modelo de desarrollo se ha convertido en excesivamente personalista. [...]

  21. ZebCarnell says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 11:55 am

    I respect you Mark for at least clarifying this much. But instead of all this talk about Debian and Ubuntu and people quiting this and that, I believe people should start more dicussions and putting more time into getting people aware of the other projects out there trying to unite the hole of GNU/Linux, Not all this “unite all deb based OS’s” that seems to be and has for a long time floated around. That seems a little too one sided for my opinion though Im guessing with all of these distros with corporate backing are all trying to stay ahead of the compitetion and only are out to meet their own ends and those of projects they rely upon. Its never going to happen unless people like yourself and other companies and heads decide to pull their fingers out and actually start trying to change the world of software.
    There are not so many people I respect in different communities and all those I do respect are for totally different reasons. I wont name these people but I believe that if all of these people got together and actually came to aggreements and to just talk, the world could be changed, if not over night but at least make people who follow different sides of the FOSS community start to work together with at least agree that they share some common goals.

  22. Jonathan Carter says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    I’ve seen this (conflicting goals creating tension) in communities before, but never really put a name on it. I think reading this post would help sorting out tensions that we’ve had in some local communities before, if they ever pop up again.

    I agree about mdz, man he’s funny, and incredibly intelligent. If I could be more like any person in the world, from a technical perspective, it would be him. His logical and analytical skills are also impressively quick and accurate. It must be great to have so much money to hire such great people :)

    Some day I hope to get there too ;)

  23. Paul Beardsell says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 1:45 pm

    There is some ill feeling in the Debian community that Ubuntu has come along, built on the Debian foundations, and created such a fantastic distribution, “stealing” some of Debian’s thunder. I’ve heard and read Mark Shuttleworth before crediting Debian, as is its due. And I am pleased to see on the Ubuntu server web page a prominent and early Debian credit. But there is no such credit on the Ubuntu desktop web page (and most Ubuntu users, if they are like me, stopped using Debian (directly) and now use it (indirectly) via Ubuntu because of Ubuntu’s desktop) and there is no Debian credit on the Ubuntu packaging. I think the Ubuntu CD and CD envelope and the Ubuntu boot display shoud all say somewhere “Warm thanks and appreciation to the Debian project http://debian.org/ and all the Debian Developers and Debian users who have made Ubuntu possible.” That would go a long way to diffusing some resentment. Note I take nothing away from Mark Shuttleworth and the Ubuntu developers – great job! Thanks for a wonderful o/s!

  24. Joris Lambrecht says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    I’m glad Mark Shuttleworth took the time to write this down.

    As for many years i’ve been either on parallell courses or in the middle of userland with Debian.

    The mentality of the developers seems untamed but the userbase is now very different, less cooperative to say the least. The whole community needs a shake and here it is. Thanks. Still, you’re trying not to be arrogant but in fact, you are Mark, just a bit.

    For example, what about upstream-repositories for Debianites to plunder ? What about Gnome for example, a notorious late commer in Debian (2.8 in testing) This won’t go well with many Developpers though, at least this is an impression i’ve grown acustomed to. Debian in itself has proven to be, though slow in progress, a true community with a spine. From your point of view what probably bothers you is their lack of bend-over-a-bit-for-the-customer approach. Thanks to this attitude Debian’s packages are, once in stable, rock-and-rock solid and show no sudden issues. As does happen with other cycles.

    Ubuntu/Canonical/You should be aware that what is probably the greatest issue is the breaking of a filosophy rather then using Debian as a base for your interesting distribution called Ubuntu. Fixed cycles have allways caused problems and will continue to do so, unless the whole process is tuned to be cyclic. Wich is very though to realise, but once you succeed, there you go, smooth sailing without much fuss.

    But isn’t that just theory i asked myself before. I do wonder how many slip-ups Ubuntu can endure in a corporate environment, wich is exactly what the it’s-ready-when-it’s-ready approach is able to keep up with. Corporate requirements. Also, it’s meta-OS state is a very big plus, an aspect ubuntu not even touches.

    Personally i’d vote against merger, but for migratory tools, scripts so daring users can get that nifty latest (examplary) gnome onto debian, then again what debianite wouldn’t want to run Garnome to get that latest version ?

    Argueing, the motives for both distro’s are not on par, and i do tend to believe the quality of both is not in sync either.

    As arrogant this may seem to do so, i do believe there exist valuable approaches to a workable solution in modularisation but this is not likely to happen as the packagepool is massive to say the least.

    To try and make (tiny) waves on this thing called the internet is another great feel that first came to me on Debian newsgroups. I hope this spark will remain untamed, as i read your post i became pleased this same spark can also catch on with a very wealthy person.

  25. QuinnStorm says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 2:10 pm

    I just wanted to comment, I agree completely with the analysis posted here, and I feel that both projects are very important. As an Ubuntu user, and former Debian user, I see the great importance of the Debian project, and hope it continues forever, and believe that in some form it probably will, having reached critical mass. It is an embodiment of a lot of the important philosophies of OSS. It is far stronger than any of the other community distros, and really provides a very coherent base on which to build peaks, as you called them. In doing my own small project, I’ve, without even really thinking about it, encouraged a sort of plateau-and-peaks system, encouraging users to submit ideas, post them to share, etc., while also trying to pick out the best ideas and polish them for release. I know it’s one small project, but it’s further proof that this model really works. With something as big as debian though, the model can’t really be managed by one person, there are just too many goals to handle, thus the need for both debian and ubuntu.

  26. KiTaSuMbA says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    I find Mark Shuttleworth’s points surprisingly well balanced and impartial to this latest issue. I’m also surprised to see so many people, both in these comments and elsewhere, promoting a “one size fits all” idea of GNU/Linux.

    I’ve been a linux user since ’98 and the last 5 years on gentoo and pretty fanatical about it. But when a friend comes along and asks if he should try linux and doesn’t “want to spend a life learning techie stuff”, do I suggest gentoo just because I’m in love with it? Hell no! I offer a set of choices like (k)ubuntu, SuSE etc. and discuss pros and cons of every choice (eg. if you go with kubuntu, I’m very familiar with KDE and I could help you more but if you want a totally “un-windowish” experience GNOME might be more fun).

    Ubuntu has reached excellence on a very specific target: desktop OS for the “unwashed masses”. Does that mean I should use ubuntu for my home’s LAN gateway? I doubt it… While, like all other GNU/linux systems, it could be customized and tailored to fit that specific role there are presently many more suitable ready-made and/or minimalistic solutions. Debian serves as a prime matter for all kinds of solutions on all kinds of architectures. Consider all the deb-based distros around the net and the variety of roles they try to cover, from special-purpose liveCDs to embedded network appliances to enterprise desktops. Debian’s submission (or merger as simone suggested) to a specific subset of those would serve nobody at large. No sirs, Debian has to thrive as an indipendent prime platform, a kind of our own International Space Station. And I’ll go even further: debian should not be the _only_ prime matter provider. Many have parallelized the opensource community to an ecosystem. I tend to agree with that point of view and thus consider code diversity as essential to survival and success as biodiversity.

    What is important in this dispute, is for the higher-up debianheads to realize that a deb-based distro’s success and excellence should not be envied or competed against but rather welcomed as a child’s A grade at school back at home. For example, debian itself should never try to displace Ubuntu’s success on the desktop but rather take pride in it and reinforce it.

    On the other side, the deb-based distros should always keep in mind where they come from and offer back to Debian their support, both monetary when possible (either by donation or by employing debian devs) and, mainly, on technology and code. Up to this point, Mr. Shuttleworth is doing a fine job supporting and respecting Debian.

  27. Ben Hutchings says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 4:13 pm

    You write: “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…”

    I hope you are going to meet us half way. patches.ubuntu.com is useful, but it only provides monolithic patches without comments. As an author of original software I would expect distributors to send individual patches to me in personal mails explaining the changes. You have described Debian as Ubuntu’s upstream, so why don’t you instruct Ubuntu developers to treat Debian maintainers that way?

    Further, I’ve heard it claimed that Ubuntu’s paid developers are forbidden to work on feeding back to Debian on paid time. Please tell me this isn’t the case? (If it is, I’m appalled. Even when I’ve been working on proprietary software my employers have allowed and even encouraged sending back patches on free software libraries we used and improved.)

  28. Joris Lambrecht says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 4:52 pm

    To further add, the article on the url below is probably worthwhile a read and illustrative for many community’s.

    http://kerneltrap.org/node/7061

    NetBSD: Founder Fears End Of Project
    Posted by Amit Shah on Thursday, August 31, 2006 – 02:34
    NetBSD news

    One of the NetBSD founders, Charles Hannum, has sent an email to the netbsd-users list enumerating the problems with NetBSD. He mentions NetBSD is lagging behind other OSes in many aspects. However, he notes that the major problem with NetBSD is the NetBSD Foundation, which now controls the NetBSD project, interfering with the development. He says:

    “At this point most readers are probably wondering whether I’m just writing a eulogy for the NetBSD project. In some ways, I am — it’s clear that the project, as it currently exists, has no future. It will continue to fall further behind, and to become even less relevant. This is a sad conclusion to a project that had such bright prospects when it started.”

    He lists things which they did right and things which were wrong. He compares their approach to other OSes, including Linux, whose popularity has risen by a huge amount since.

    The NetBSD project’s USP has been that it’s a highly portable system, once boasting of the maximum number of supported architectures. Linux, however, has surpassed that number.

    Although he presents a very bleak picture, he also mentions that good work is being done and many corrective measures would be needed to keep the project alive. He says:

    “I must repeat a point I’ve made earlier. The current “management” of the project is not going to either fix the project’s problems, or lead the project to solutions. They are going to maintain the status quo, and nothing else. If the project is to rise from its charred stump, this “management” must be disbanded and replaced wholesale. Anything less is a non-solution.

    To some of you, I would like to apologize. There *are* NetBSD developers doing good work even now.”

  29. Dave says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    I’ve been messing with this thing called linux for a few years now. Yes, there are many older dogs at the party, but I’ve been in the game for a reasonable while.

    I started with Debian. Scratch that. I started with a mungy mess called Red Hat. I hated it. I tried Corel Linux, built on Debian. It sucked. I moved to Debian because I had a few friends using it, and it looked great. It lived up to the expectations I had of it. And even in the days when I had little to no internet connection available, we managed to get Sid-ified through cd’s built up from friendly people with fat pipes. My point is that I’m a Debian boy, and I most likely always will be.

    And that, for me, is one of the greatest reasons why I’m using (and loving) Ubuntu, on the desktop, on the laptop (and hopefully, one day real soon now, on a server at work). Because all the crispy goodness of Debian is there, in a distribution that is local to my home country, which has taken all the goodness that is Debian, and gone even further. You see, I loved (and always will love) the fact that if a package is in Debian Stable, it’s stable. For sure. And good. And I know it’s been hammered. In fact, if I see it in Debian Stable, then my inner rating for it skyrockets. There’s something to be said about having that kind of confidence in a distribution. But on the other hand, the latest and greatest was always rocking up in Mandrake (oops, sorry, Mand*riva* now), or other such distros. Not that I have issure with them — I guess I was always just a little jealous of the fancy screenshots.

    In steps Ubuntu, building on the platform that I have trusted for the better part of a decade, but giving me the new stuff, the great stuff, and making me realise that I can once again rely on the goodness of dpkg to make sure that when I upgrade a package, unlike when I do it from source, I don’t have to try and fix misnomers that occur because of dregs left behind. In short, I get the stability (read: not-brokenness; don’t read: package-never-changes) of Debian, with a new edge on it, and some really great tools that I can show to totally unschooled people who want to be users of this Linux thing they have heard of, bu who are just too afraid.

    As a programmer, I value the tools that the Ubuntu guys have worked on, as well as the obvious amounts of polish that show in the distribution. I will never drop my first love, but I have to say that Ubuntu will be the flavour of Debian that I tout to newbies, intermediataries, and people looking for a great server platform.

    Last but not least, let me say that I have a lot of respect for a guy who can make a buttload of cash, and still plough that back into something that is essentially free. Long live Ubuntu, and great health to Mark. Long live my old friend Debian as well!

  30. RalfSchülke says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    Hi,
    well Debian is a greade base and Ubuntu is a nice Distribution, but i miss ex. a Multimedia think ( codecs, decoder etc.) why not infestigate in this? The other bad think in a ubuntu world is K x u ande cp. version. why ? All in all in the linux world give to mutch Distributions to make the same, this is a killer for software futures and innovations. I go for 3j outside the linux worls , back to BeOS world and here came a new area to Operation Sytems and it is open source (not GPL), http://www.haiku-os.org , i think here a change to prefer a fast and clear OS, mybe it is better to thnik differnt and look outside from his self.
    THX
    Ralf Schülke

  31. jose hevia says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 7:55 pm

    Hello, Mark. First I have to say that I love Ubuntu, I’m a student and used Debian until I discovered Ubuntu.
    Debian was great as a developer-creator-programer but was so bad as a user(nightmare to install, to configure, to have a working place). I have to say thank you.
    We are in a digital revolution, and I feel right now the same thing I used google for the first time some time ago(when nobody used it), something as good can’t last forever.
    A lot of people would love to contribute economically, but you know what?, it’s difficult. Very little people uses credit cards but a lot of people buy music tones with the movile phone because it is so easy(and more difficult to cheat).

  32. sardaukar says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    Debian and Ubuntu are on very edgy ground. On one side, key Debian developers join Ubuntu – on the other, developers at DebConf wear tshirts saying “Fuck Ubuntu”…

    I just hope both sides lighten up.

  33. trakz says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 9:36 pm

    Look folks. This everyone needs to chill. Mark’s point is well taken. Debian and Ubuntu are pitched at very different audiences.

    If you want to become a technical god, and invest your extraordinary skills to become an elite haxor: choose debian, and work within that community.

    If you just want to use linux as a desktop, don’t really care about the technical challenges and are focused in other areas (i.e. not computer science related) choose ubuntu.

    ’nuff said.

  34. Chris Ward says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 10:29 pm

    I watch AIX, and I watch Linux.

    AIX, the ‘closed-source POSIX-compliant operating system’, gives you relatively low warranty cost (if you want a commercial warranty). Linux, the ‘open-source POSIX-compliant operating system’, gives you a higher warranty cost (if you want a commercial warranty from someone like IBM, on the same terms that IBM would sign an AIX warranty contract).

    However, Linux gives you your ‘freedom to tinker’; you can get it to work on x86 CPUs, for example. And if you have no need for a commercial warranty, then Linux is just fine; probably more suitable, in fact.

  35. Nate says: (permalink)
    September 10th, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    Speaking for myself, Ubuntu is the first Debian distribution I’ve successfully used on my home PC, and it was the distribution that finally lured me away from RPM and to apt-get. I can’t see how the existence of Ubuntu can be anything but positive for Debian. Of course I’m blissfully unaware of Debian internal politics. I suppose I’d prefer it if there were just one distribution, a merged Debian/Ubuntu, but in the meantime, the more people who use Ubuntu on the desktop, the more people there are who would consider using Debian on the server, surely.

  36. Matthew Lange says: (permalink)
    September 11th, 2006 at 4:49 am

    The Ubuntu project needs Debian, and vice versa. It’s almost a symbionic relationship. Just because it isn’t one in the same doesn’t make it any less Open Source. Anything the Ubuntu project does can (and may) be merged right back into Debian.

    In a perfect world, where the Mission and Vision statements, written and unwritten are the same, then there would be one entity. So long as there is any force pulling in any degree off from the path, there will be two. By performing the same work over and over, all we do is waste time, and we don’t ever get ahead of the technology.

    By supporting each other in code and in deed, even if the two groups don’t see eye to eye on something, we can both (all) end up better off.

  37. Technofreak says: (permalink)
    September 11th, 2006 at 5:41 am

    Well said Mark, am proud to be a Ubuntero. This has been one issue I have been hearing and wondering why my leader hasn’t made a statement. Here came it at last and it was more than what i thought was necessary. The ‘Debian Vs Ubuntu’ idea should come to an end and ‘Debian, Ubuntu and all deb OSs’ should begin. How can the mother and the daughter throw stone on one another ? How can mother envy her own daughter getting a recognition and fame ? Will the daughter go without paying due respect to the mother from whom she originated. As a part of Ubuntu community, as our leader proposed, we all *respect* Debaian as much as we love Ubuntu. We very well undertsand that without Debian we wouldn’t be here, what we are today.

    What we are trying to do is, use the skills that the mother thought to us and add our own efforts and make a better output from it. In this way, we are not placing orusleves as competitors for Debian, but rather one of the faces of the Debian-lead OSS community, which has a focus on bringing GNU/Linux into desktops and make even a non-computer-literate use GNU/Linux without any fuss. This way, we are actually making the credits and greatness of Debian reach the desktop base, while the mother Debian keeps concentrating at the more greater goals, offering a stable platform for us. Its like feed me once a day, i will work and feed 100 people.

    Again am thankful to Mark for making it clear and known to everybody, what every Ubuntero thinks of Ubtuntu and Debian. Its not just Mark’s thoughts, but it represents the whole Ubuntu community. Hope the few Debians, who had been envying Ubuntu a bit on its success with desktops, understand Ubunteros and come forward to work parallely with one another and all deb OSes out there, to really bring Linux in to the lives oh Humanhood. Lets work together, but independently as well as coherently, to make what we call as ‘bug #1′ to get solved. We have a great community. We shouldn’t lose it at anytime, as it will affect out still higher cause for which we had been striving all these days.

    What I propose is, under the chair of Debian, all other children like Ubuntu, Knoppix and all deb OSes sit together one day, and chalk out how they are going to make Linux reach the masses. As ubuntu has made it clear, it will continue to work to bring GNU/Linux to desktops, each deb OS should concentrate on a single user base and make it a success, which will thereby make Debian reach all the faces where Linux can be used. That is, indirectly the mother Debian through its children, will satisfy all falvors of customers, let it be desktops, servers, academics, corporate, embedded, etc etc. Hope this happens soon :)

  38. Xan says: (permalink)
    September 11th, 2006 at 10:27 am

    Another “problem” of debian is that developers don’t care and in some times flame the new propositions from users. For example, try to write to mailing list and propose that debian should change the web site design and follow the answers. What percentage are flames? What percentage discusses about your reasons for change it? 90% to 1%? Be polite please

    In ubuntu, it does not happens. Always the answers to post are correct and discussions always try to give the possitive part of each post. This is why I added to ubuntu community rather than debian community.

    Thanks,
    Xan.

  39. 本日書籤 « penk - Keep on rockin’ in the free world says: (permalink)
    September 11th, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    [...] http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/56 [...]

  40. David Gerard says: (permalink)
    September 11th, 2006 at 1:42 pm

    The biggest difference between the two is their attitude to newbies.

    Newbie: “This bit is confusing and I can’t work out how to get it to work.”
    Debian: “RTFM.”
    Ubuntu: “We’d better fix that then.”

    Those Debian people who are upset at Ubuntu’s popularity may benefit from contemplating the above.

    Computers are still stupid and hard to use. Ubuntu is expressly aimed at people who aren’t geeks and don’t want to be geeks. This makes ALL the difference. I happily recommend it to people who aren’t geeks and don’t want to be geeks but are sick of Windows being flaky garbage. I would NEVER recommend Debian unless I was personally signing up to support their system.

    Heck, I don’t even like Linux; I want to be running FreeBSD. Dealing with the Linux kernel makes my head hurt. But Debian and then Ubuntu have built a system on top of it that’s so nice I can almost forget there’s L*n*x at the bottom.

  41. Max Inflixion says: (permalink)
    September 11th, 2006 at 3:40 pm

    As a user who has toyed with Linux for a couple of years now, I wanted to give my two cents regarding an above post about the Debian community not needing a Project Manager.

    I am of the opinion that the ENTIRE Linux community is in need of a defined leader at this time.

    At a time when there are so many flavors of Linux available and so many new users testing the waters every day, the experience of these users MUST be a positive one. If the initial experience continues to be one of confusion (let’s face it, most people’s first foray into Linux ends abruptly), saturation in the market will stagnate.

    Ubuntu seems to be the BEST distribution when it comes to making the first experience idiot proof. Yes, the colors may be a little funky, but IT WORKS. Toss in an hour with Automatix or EasyUbuntu, and IT REALLY WORKS!

    I see this as a (perhaps THE) key to the Linux Movement gaining acceptance and market share.

    No particular community or distro needs to be hijacked by an ambitious Project Manager. The community as a whole needs to rally around some commonality though, and at this time, Ubuntu seems to be the best candidate for a jumping off point.

  42. de mares, portos e portas » links for 2006-09-11 says: (permalink)
    September 11th, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Conflicting goals create tension in communities (tags: ubuntu shuttleworth debian) [...]

  43. bolobot says: (permalink)
    September 11th, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    When Ubuntu first came out, I considered it debian with training wheels and scoffed. But, little by little I started seeing a lot of people who would have never gone beyond windows getting introduced to linux through ubuntu. Which is fantastic for the whole community, whether debian, slax, red hat or otherwise. The people with the “Fuck Ubuntu” shirts are the ones that don’t get it. Or, maybe the are being uber-ironic leet. Who knows… I don’t, I completely lack a sense of the ironic ;-)

    I still use debian for my server and my dual boot desktop and all the servers at work (except the ones where the hosting company only allows centos) but, hey, I broke down and installed kubuntu on a partition on my laptop. Why? Because, when it comes right down to it, for a lot of hardware issues, “it just works” (TM). When I switched from xfree to xorg – it was the kubuntu config file that got me pointed in the right direction. When my sound card wasn’t working when I upgraded to the 2.6.17 kernel – kubuntu once again gave me a clue to the problem… and the usb voip phone… etc. All, issues that I would never encounter on the web servers at work but are essential for a good everyday desktop experience. Beyond that, I’m finding that googling a lot of the desktop problems bring me to the ubuntu wiki.

    I still wouldn’t use ubuntu for a server (although I know people who do) but I do recognize the value of it. Oh, and when I need a live cd I’ll reach for knoppix or backtrack…

    But, when it comes to, “What linux distro would I give my mother to use?” Well, you figure it out :-)

  44. its about time» Blog Archive » links for 2006-09-10 says: (permalink)
    September 11th, 2006 at 9:04 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Conflicting goals create tension in communities (tags: ubuntu opensource community linux debian) [...]

  45. Ubuntu could not exist without Debian « المعرفة للجميع says: (permalink)
    September 11th, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    [...] http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/56 [...]

  46. DAR says: (permalink)
    September 12th, 2006 at 12:57 am

    >Consider Sid. Yes, it breaks your toys now and then, but by and large it represents an extraordinary achievement – pretty much the latest releases of the upstream communities, packaged and categorised. Nothing else, from Ubuntu or Red Hat or Novell (or Microsoft) comes anywhere close.

    Ummm …. except maybe Arch Linux! :-)

  47. Joe Almeida says: (permalink)
    September 12th, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    I use neither Ubuntu nor Debian, but I have been a fan of Debian variants such as Knoppix. Mr. Shuttleworth is right when he says that it is necessary to prune projects to regain focus. With Ubuntu making it easier for newbies to run a Debian based distro, Debian itself can focus on the pure technical aspects of the system, and let Ubuntu worry about how it looks to the newbie. Lets remember something, Ubuntu may have enticed some developers away from Debian, but it was Ubuntu’s care for the newbie that created the huge following that it has. Debian had years to do that, but it never succeeded because it did not care about the newbie. Ubuntu does, thus it attracts all sorts of people to it. The popularity of Ubuntu was never available to Debian because of its lack of focus to the newbie. This all reminds me of the compalints that used book stores had of a Chapters, and that Chapters took away business from the used book stores. That’s not the case. The used books stores never thought of the end customer by doing a good job in organizing their collections, creating searchable catalogues, and giving space to readers in their venues. It turns out that Chapters found a large book reader market that was willing to buy new books, but wanted a smart way to shop – the used book stores never picked up on that – and that market was never available to them to draw upon. Debian and Ubuntu can work hand in hand. Debian needs to focus and let others pick up the slack.

  48. Todd Costa says: (permalink)
    September 12th, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    As a Debian fan and end user since 1998. I too, have come to a confidence level of Debian Stable being the one I recommend at the end of the day. I have been pushing out Ubuntu to a number of friends lately for a desktop solution that just works. I am glad for Debian based solutions like Ubuntu and Knoppix. It shows to me alot of creativity and vision for computer usage at its best along with the spirit of sharing solutions. Mr. Shuttleworth’s goals and vision along with Canonical’s drive are doing nice things with the Debian Base system for those who want choice.
    I think Linux as a technology has gotten more press time because of Ubuntu. Because curiousity makes folks dig in and find out what’s going on because of all the talk.

    Getting to a point I was thinking about. I am wondering if the debian/ubuntu said conflict is from that basic desire of being valued. I read and saw something from Ben H earlier in this blog that made me think further.

    If the Ubuntu project is not pushing back changes to the debian maintainers or are not clearly documenting changes up to the Debian Project. This is a problem. In other words both sides are not properly collaborating and this would be a huge source of frustration at a personal level for thoses who participate among the projects. Eventually, it becomes an “us versus them”. Egos get hurt, feelings are elavated and tension rises everywhere. The next thing we know is that both projects go their seperate ways. Boy, I would hate to see that happen.

    Clearly as humans we all fail to communicate effectively regardless the medium. So I ask, Could this be a source of stress? My gut says, Absolutely.

    Surely, something is wrong if people are complaining. Something is a miss. Some basic need is not being met at the lowest level. If red-tape is involved than policies and procedures need to be look at seriously. Again something has changed and its not working for the projects. Common sense can go a long ways, as well as a good pat on the back. Simple acknowledgement is worth its weight in gold.

    But if the DD and maintainers are being resistant. This again is a problem too. And that is even more complex for me to get into. My first question would be though. Is there resentment with DD?

    But today, I can say that I appreciate the efforts of Mark S. and his willingness to spend his own resources in support of the free software movement. Hopefully, this can be worked out. Good Luck and thanks for the point of view.

  49. David MacIntosh says: (permalink)
    September 14th, 2006 at 10:39 am

    It’s smart to frame Ubuntu as the little high-reacher on the shoulder of a giant. It is true in every dispassionate sense and it is the general perception that will serve Ubuntu and Debian well as sovereigns in a mutually beneficial partnership. There is no need for chest thumping on either side; the successes of both are self-evident. Debian is a undeniable powerhouse — an evolving foundation upon which others can set root and attempt to service niche concerns. Ubuntu is responsive, accessible, and uniquely attractive. Debian would be hard pressed not to jeopardize the breadth and substantiality of its evolution if it attempted to service every transitive concern serviced by Ubuntu. Ubuntu’s organizational model and framework of existence are best suited to serve its needs; Debian’s vastly different architecture is best suited to serve its own. I see no issue here… only great promise.

  50. SOB: Scion Of Backronymics » Debian and Ubuntu founders: So what do THEY think? says: (permalink)
    September 15th, 2006 at 8:50 am

    [...] Ubuntu project founder Mark Shuttleworth has some things to say about the relationship between Ubuntu and Debian. In contrast with some of the less friendly statements made by enthusiasts on both sides of the Ubuntu/Debian divide, Shuttleworth expresses admiration for the Debian project, everything that it has accomplished, and the strong foundation it provides for Ubuntu. He also characterizes Ubuntu not as a competitor, but as a complement to Debian that targets OS market niches Debian does not — that it cannot, really, if it will continue to provide the strong OS foundation that it already does. [...]

  51. Christopher Steffen says: (permalink)
    September 18th, 2006 at 3:36 pm

    It’s been stated again and again here, and I believe this is the most valid point:

    Debian is the Sire, and all of its derivatives (Ubuntu, Linspire, Knoppix, Mepis) are the progeny.

    There are bound to be fights, as in any family. But the one thing that should never change is respect and unity.

    Debian should be proud and promote its progeny. “Debian is for the techno-elite. But if you’re new, try Ubuntu!”

    Meanwhile, Debian’s progeny should support their Sire. “Hey, guys, remember that bug you kept having in Gnome with Debian? Well, we’ve fixed it here in Ubuntu. Here’s how, and here’s the source files you’ll need, along with changes and details. Enjoy!”

    Cooperation and unity doesn’t mean mergers. Debian and Ubuntu can help each other out, cooperatively, without losing their individual dreams and goals.

    I’ve never understood why the world must be so devided on things like this. I’ve been a proud Debian user for about a year now: I use Debian on my server and Ubuntu on my desktop. And I’ve been flirting with Mepis and other derivatives on my laptop.

    A little friendly flaming – so long as it stays friendly – is understandable. But just remember, Linux is supposed to be fun!

  52. Michael Ahumibe says: (permalink)
    September 23rd, 2006 at 9:47 pm

    Ubuntu is good, and since it’s based on Debian then that must mean Debian is great. Please can both teams sort out their differences and remember that we’re both part of the Linux community.

  53. What’s wrong with long Debian release cycles? « Limulus says: (permalink)
    September 27th, 2006 at 10:50 am

    [...] Debian, the spring from which over a hundred Linux distributions flow, is well known for its slow release cycle. Hoping to speed it up, there’s a project called Dunc-tank which hopes to pay developers to work on Debian full time. This has however created friction within Debian, with calls for the removal of its leader. So I ask: why are long release cycles a bad thing? Why try to compete with Ubuntu, etc. rather than outsourcing to those distros the laborious task of creating frequent releases? Wouldn’t it be better to concentrate on a different goal, such as making sure the developers are enjoying working on Debian and not resentful of its offspring?  Its not like Mark doesn’t love you ;) [...]

  54. someone says: (permalink)
    September 30th, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    I am sorry if this isn’t the right place to ask or comment, but I just wonder what Ubuntu is going to do about the Mozilla Firefox & Debian issue. I would like to read Mark’s opinion about it, as soon as possible.

    Thanks!.

    Regards.

  55. John says: (permalink)
    October 6th, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    “I just wonder what Ubuntu is going to do about the Mozilla Firefox & Debian issue”

    Perhaps we should first put a stop to Mozilla or any FOSS project from visiting with Microsoft and/or allowing former employees of Microsoft to work in FOSS projects.

    Remember, when a FOSS person goes to M$ people say “oh well maybe he will change it for the better” don’t rule out a former corporate person coming into a FOSS project with an agenda, paid or not. Conspiracy theory? The world is full of conspiracies because that’s what people do, they conspire.

  56. Lunix Dude says: (permalink)
    October 9th, 2006 at 2:05 am

    I don’t perceive the Debian vs. Ubuntu issue as some form of competition. To me, it’s actually more of a progressive evolution. I won’t be surprised if a mass migration towards Ubuntu will happen in the near future.

    Rock on, Ubuntu!

  57. Ubuntu necesita a Debian at Gustavo’s WebBlog says: (permalink)
    October 19th, 2006 at 11:24 am

    [...] Ubuntu necesita a Debian Published October 14th, 2006 Mark Shuttleworth, creador de Ubuntu, ha expresado en su blog (Ubuntu could not exist without Debian) que no veia vivir a Ubuntu sin Debian, y que es necesario que esta ultima devenga una parte del paisaje Debian. [...]

  58. PThree.org » Blog Archives » Disappointed in Debian says: (permalink)
    November 3rd, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth has expressed his concern towards this issue. First and foremost, he recognizes that Ubuntu could not exist without Debian. Then talks about what Ubuntu needs to do to give back the Debian community, and make it great. Mark then discusses the tension and stress between the two communities, and tries to find reason as to why they exist. It’s a great read. [...]

  59. where do i sign? « Digital Tibetan Arts and Sciences says: (permalink)
    December 15th, 2006 at 2:24 am

    [...] Personally, I find Ubuntu to be very exciting. First, it arose from Debian– one version of linux known for it’s dexerity and strong community. Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu (and the world’s second ever space-tourist) incidentally has called debian the “Tibetan plateau” of linux distributors, rising above all others because it was forged through many years of grinding and smoothing out of tensions. (Debian itself was started by a couple –Debra and Ian,  hence the name Debian). Bhutan’s efforts to create a Dzongkha platform are based on debian and there’s a project to translate Ubuntu itself into Dzongkha– (most of the work is already done). [...]

  60. Blog técnico do Malebria » Blog Archive » Ubuntu e Debian says: (permalink)
    December 15th, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    [...] Duas pessoas em dois dias consecutivos vieram me falar sobre Ubuntu, sabendo que eu gosto muito do Debian, e me pedindo opiniões sobre o assunto. Isso gerou uma vontade de procurar mais sobre o assunto, e achei um texto muito bom, para mim definitivo, do fundador do Ubuntu. [...]

  61. Og så alligevel… » Blog Archive » Debian as the research library of Free Software says: (permalink)
    February 5th, 2007 at 11:28 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth describes this relationship as Debian as “the Tibetan Plateau of the free software landscape” upon which Ubuntu is built: By contrast with Debian’s Plateau, Ubuntu is a cluster of peaks. By narrowing the focus and allowing the KDE, Gnome and server communities to leverage the base of Debian without treading on one another’s toes, we can create a K2, and a Kangchenjunga and a Lhotse. Ubuntu’s peaks depend on the plateau for their initial start, and their strong base. Ubuntu needs to be humble about its achievements, because much of its elevation comes from Debian. […] Many people have asked why I decided to build Ubuntu alongside, or on top of, Debian, rather than trying to get Debian to turn into a peak in its own right. The reason is simple – I believe that Debian’s breadth is too precious to compromise just because one person with resources cares a lot about a few specific use cases. We should not narrow the scope of Debian. [...]

  62. Ubuntu | Andreas Lloyd: Debian as the research library of Free Software says: (permalink)
    February 6th, 2007 at 4:19 am

    [...] Mark Shuttleworth describes this relationship as Debian as “the Tibetan Plateau of the free software landscape” upon which Ubuntu is built: By contrast with Debian’s Plateau, Ubuntu is a cluster of peaks. By narrowing the focus and allowing the KDE, Gnome and server communities to leverage the base of Debian without treading on one another’s toes, we can create a K2, and a Kangchenjunga and a Lhotse. Ubuntu’s peaks depend on the plateau for their initial start, and their strong base. Ubuntu needs to be humble about its achievements, because much of its elevation comes from Debian. […] Many people have asked why I decided to build Ubuntu alongside, or on top of, Debian, rather than trying to get Debian to turn into a peak in its own right. The reason is simple – I believe that Debian’s breadth is too precious to compromise just because one person with resources cares a lot about a few specific use cases. We should not narrow the scope of Debian. [...]

  63. Jürgen says: (permalink)
    March 16th, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    Mark, i think so too. Ubuntu could not exist without Debian. Great informations. Thanks! Jürgen from Germany

  64. Dani Revi Ubuntu says: (permalink)
    September 24th, 2007 at 10:18 am

    A great post by Mark Shuttleworth, on how he thinks of Debian and it’s relationship with Ubuntu….

  65. Debian User says: (permalink)
    January 28th, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Hi, i know i’m a bit li}ate but reading what you said made me get angry with you (not with ubuntu wich i respect), because you are like some users that are saying that Debian will die in Ubuntu hands because it poors focus to desktop user, well, let me say something to you, i’m a desktop user, i have debian since 2004 and (for your total surprise) i have fourteen years, yeah, fourteen, i started (like ones) with ubuntu (of course) because he’s easy configuration but then i moved to openSUSE and then to mandriva then Gentoo , Guadalinex, and others. Then, i installed Debian and it become my favorite. And don’t think that be my age i can’t understand you or i can’t understand the informatic field, because you are wrong if you think that, i’m starting to program and i expect to be part of the debian community in one or two years. But let’s go back to the theme, users like you angry me because i use debian and i know what it is, and i think that you lie when you say “debian can’t do all” why not?? MacOSX do ALL and you can’t say that this is false, MACOSX do Everything and it’s true so, why debian can’t do all?? debian is developed by a very big community that loves free software and believe in it, you know what i mean with big community?? I mean that debian and it packages are developed by hundreds of hundreds of hundreds of people, Mac don’t have a comunnity so big, really?? Then, why debian can’t be the supreme master of all?? Because the ubuntu fans like you thinks that with 4 clicks you can do all but it isn’t true, you can do it the first time but when a GDM falls in ubuntu or another thing falls, you have to suffer more because 1. you don’t have a OS now 2. You have to reconfigure it again 3. If you had configured it in first place, you’ll know how to fix it. that’s the simply true, i don’t hate ubuntu , i don’t, i only get angry with users like yu, that try to kill in a way too dirty debiabn, like i say, i respect ubuntu, it is very good and all but i prefer debian and how i say, i only get ANGRY WITH USERS THAT SAY BS oof debian. If you want to talk about debian/ubuntu you can mail me at carlos.gottberg@gmail.com but please, don’t put dirty words on your mail because i’ll not do that.

  66. Debian User says: (permalink)
    January 29th, 2008 at 12:11 am

    Sorry for write twice but i didn’t find a edit button, i only want to add that i’m using Debian Etch and i’m writing you with the elinks -lite text browser which i recommend to you all. I want to add that if you send me a mail, can you tell me more text based applications? i like the very ,much!

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