[nSLUG] Jigdo File

Ben Armstrong synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
Wed Mar 5 21:19:24 AST 2003


On Wed, Mar 05, 2003 at 08:42:46PM -0400, Donald Teed wrote:
> Just gonna clarify this one thing.
> 
> Useful software is a build that is not complete in features,
> has bugs, but you can learn to live with the limitations because
> you are the user.  No problem.  I've done work with beta software
> that has served me well like this.  

OK.

> The problem is when you are talking about server software.  It can
> be useful, but now it also has to be dependable or it just doesn't
> stay up under the deluge of user activity, hackers, poorly formed
> message headers from weird client software, etc.  The software
> has to serve thousands of users.  They have a contract too, and
> that is the one I pursue before the "social contract".  If it was
> the other way around, I think my co-workers would wonder what the
> heck I spend my day doing.

Have you *read* the social contract?  I'll include the URL here in case you 
haven't:

http://www.debian.org/social_contract

I encourage you to read the whole thing.

Your emphasis in this note implies that our social contract is in opposition
to producing good, solid server software, instead of upholding the user's
need to have these things.  I don't see where you're reading that.

Each point has something to say about ensuring quality and meeting the
user's needs.  Here are software-quality-related excerpts from each of the
five points:

"1. Debian Will Remain 100% Free Software
   ... We will support our users who develop and run non-free
   software on Debian ..."

Point 1 is the only one with a principally political slant.  But in the
midst of explaining that our focus is free software, we make allowance for
and pledge support for users who happen to develop and run non-free software
on Debian.  That is to say, if running developing/running non-free software
gives you the best results, even though its not our focus, go for it, we'll
still support you.

"2. We Will Give Back to the Free Software Community
   ... We will make the best system we can, so that free software
   will be widely distributed and used. We will feed back bug-fixes,
   improvements, user requests, etc. to the "upstream" authors of
   software included in our system."

Here, we're letting you know we're doing our best, and we're busy conveying 
back your needs to the upstream authors to make sure the software is as 
solid as possible.

"3. We Won't Hide Problems
   We will keep our entire bug-report database open for public view
   at all times. Reports that users file on-line will immediately
   become visible to others."

So if there's some potentially embarrassing flaw in Debian, we're not going 
to conceal it from you, hoping you won't notice.  By keeping everything 
visible, we ensure as many users and developers are aware of problems as 
possible so we all benefit (saving time you might otherwise waste if the 
problem weren't recorded publically, and attracting attention to the 
problems so they will get fixed faster).

"4. Our Priorities are Our Users and Free Software
   We will be guided by the needs of our users and the free-software
   community. We will place their interests first in our priorities.
   We will support the needs of our users for operation in many
   different kinds of computing environment. ...  To support these
   goals, we will provide an integrated system of high-quality, 100%
   free software ..."

What could be clearer than this?  We care about your interests -- your needs
in business, at home, or wherever you use our software -- and the quality of
the software you use, and we make it our priority to look after these
things.

"5. Programs That Don't Meet Our Free-Software Standards
   ... although non-free software isn't a part of Debian, we support
   its use, and we provide infrastructure (such as our bug-tracking
   system and mailing lists) for non-free software packages."

Beyond the initial pledge in point one that even if you use non-free 
software you'll be supported, we also back this up with infrastructure for 
non-free software packages that aren't distributed on our official CDs but 
are available in the "non-free" section of our archives.

I defy you to find in this social contract anything which indicates that we
would sacrifice ensuring the "server software" that we ship is as solid as
we could make it for the sake of some pie-in-the-sky political idealism.

Ben
--
 ,-.  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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