[nSLUG] Jigdo File

Ben Armstrong synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
Wed Mar 5 19:13:45 AST 2003

On Wed, Mar 05, 2003 at 05:36:10PM -0400, Donald Teed wrote:
> My point is that my idea of what a version number is below 1.0
> isn't something that is a privately held concept.

I'm the one who said you have a privately held concept.  Let me qualify
that.  You assert that for the free software community version numbers below
1.0 mean "not good enough to release".  That assertion is false.  Thus
qualified, I stand by my statement that this is a privately held concept. 
Don't expect established norms of the commercial software world to translate
directly into the free software world.  I'll venture to say that I do
believe there are general principles of software development that hold
whether you develop for a commercial market or do volunteer-run free
software development (e.g. "the mythical man month" by Fred Brooks -- adding
more software developers to a project does not hasten the completion of the
project) but this "version 1.0 is the first release considered fit for the
public" concept only holds in the commercial software world.

> If the software offered is only going to be useful, and never
> dependable, I will move onto something else.  Those are the 
> demands placed on the situation by business.  If Debian can't
> handle it, we can always try Aurora, BSD, etc.  So far it
> is more than merely useful, so I hope that remains.

Huh?  What is "useful but not dependable"?  If it's not dependable, it's not
useful.  I believe what Ryan said is "software can still be useful if it has
bugs".  "Has bugs" is not equivalent to "is not dependable".  You learn
where the software has limitations, and work within the constraints of those
limitations.  If you cannot do that (and cannot fix the bugs yourself) then
yes, you do move on to something else.  I have often found that a piece of 
free software I expected would do something for me couldn't do what I 
wanted, and had to choose something else.  I expect this is true of 
commercial software as well, for those who use it.

> > > If Debian developers are concerned with adoption in business
> > > contexts, these points should matter to people like you.
> > 
> > I don't think this is a primary concern for most of us.  Our social
> > contract says that we are just trying to make the best operating system,
> > for our users, as we can.  And we each do that in our own way.
> Too bad if it really is that narrow in scope.

Huh?  That's a pretty broad scope if you ask me.  Isn't "making the best 
operating system, for our users, as we can" something that has potential to 
serve quite a lot of people, including those whose businesses require that 
their software be dependable?

> Perhaps Debian
> is more of a hobbyist system.

You don't get it, do you?  You are a Debian user.  Our social contract asks
that we make the best operating system for you as we can.  And we have each
do that in our own way.  This doesn't mean your particular needs don't
matter to us, or we won't try to meet them.  But we do each choose to work
on the corner of Debian that concerns us because it is what we believe in
and enjoy doing.  If you're asking a Debian developer about a problem and he 
says "I don't know about that, but here are a couple of lists you can try" 
or "have you tried filing a bug report" and you answer "I'm sorry, it should 
'just work' and I don't have the time for mailing lists and bug reports" 
then I'm afraid we're at an impasse.  

The end result is, I strongly believe, a system that rivals commercial
operating systems for those who take the time to learn how to communicate
effectively with developers about their problems and work with them towards
a solution.  Just as you would get nowhere with commercial software if you
didn't know how to communicate during a technical support call, so you will
also get nowhere with free software if you don't know how to make use of
mailing lists and bug reports.

> Or perhaps it is completely political
> like drinking fair trade coffee.

No, it is much more pragmatic.  I know lots of Debian users whose concern 
with the political side of the free software movement is secondary to "it 
works for me the way I want it to".

> In this case it might be more
> important to people to be able to say they have it, than to
> actually deploy it to do work.  I don't know - that is just
> speculation on my part given that I seem to be politically
> incorrect in saying anything in Debian isn't great (which
> I have done regarding Redhat without getting into a long discussion).

You're engaged in a flamewar with people who care about Debian and who are
challenging you on positions you hold to which they disagree with.  Don't
make this into a "political correctness" thing.  It is merely a heated
debate involving differences of opinion.  (I can just hear the cries of
"help, we're being repressed!")

I won't say anything about your Redhat jab because I'm afraid I'd say 
something really unkind, and I don't want an otherwise intelligent 
conversation to degenerate into that.

> Anyway Debian on sparc is working well for me right now and
> I'm learning how to configure things, control services and such.

I'm genuinely pleased to hear that.

> Sure, but there is no network in some places.  I can reuse one set of
> CDs on several machines.  And in this case, I nearly needed
> the full media as my only install option.

That's too bad.  I hope you can work it out with the debian-sparc and/or
debian-cd people.

> > Perhaps it was the choice of servers that caused the originally failure.
> Ya, I guess I screwed up, thinking that mirror would work.

I'm sorry, yes, you have a right to expect that mirrors work.  But when you
have problems with a mirror, simply report the problem and hope someone
fixes it speedily for you.  There is "Mirrors" page on our web site that
links to status pages and that page lists "mirrors at debian.org" as the
appropriate address to contact if you have questions.  Or choose another
mirror.  Don't assume that quality problems with mirrors won't be dealt with
just because mirroring is voluntary.  If sufficient reports of problems with
a particular mirror are lodged and are not dealt with to Debian's
satisfaction, the mirror may very well be dropped and replaced with a
better-maintained mirror.

(And then there is also such a thing as connectivity issues with a mirror 
that are beyond the control of the mirror maintainer.  Without looking at it 
in detail I can't say for sure what you're up against, here.)

 ,-.  nSLUG    http://www.nslug.ns.ca   synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
 \`'  Debian   http://www.debian.org    synrg at debian.org
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